The backswing was straight, the head still, the footwork precise, and the timing exquisite.
Confidence, not nerves, was on view on his Test debut as technique — he was so sure about his off-stump — tangoed with temperament.
The astonishing debut of the Johannesburg-born left-handed opener Devon Conway was a reminder of the South African presence in New Zealand cricket.
His first innings 200 on a fresh Lord’s pitch showed it was never too late, even at 29, to make a beginning; he moved to New Zealand in 2017.
In New Zealand, Conway had been prolific across formats in the season gone by. The rest is history.
If Conway is serene, the very physical Neil Wagner is a hustler, with his short-pitched bowling — he is not express but his lifters follow the batsmen. And the left-armer can get the ball to straighten from over-the-wicket.
The Pretoria-born Wagner impressed in South Africa at the junior level but he too, forced by circumstances, shifted to New Zealand.
And how this never-say-die paceman has risen in stature! He has a whopping 222 wickets in 52 Tests, mixing his short-pitched stuff with movement and reverse swing and disrupting the batsmen’s footwork.
At 35, he endures pain and injuries, gives it his all.
As feisty as Wagner, the Durban-born B-J. Watling left South Africa as a schoolboy for New Zealand. A tenacious top-order batsman, he developed into a competent wicket-keeper and with Brendon McCullum giving up ’keeping in Tests, grabbed the role with both hands.
The combative Watling cemented his place as a wicketkeeper and a middle-order batsman who relishes crisis situations.
As many as 3,789 runs at 37.89 in 74 Tests and 262 catches plus eight stumpings showcase this 35-year-old battler’s contribution to New Zealand cricket.
And the South Africans who turn out for New Zealand do not choke. Take the case of Johannesburg-born Grant Elliott whose sensational 84 not out took the Kiwis to a come-from-behind last gasp victory in the ICC ODI World Cup semifinal against South Africa in Auckland, 2015.
A hard-hitting batsman and a clever seamer, Elliott had his moments for New Zealand in the ODIs.
Heavy hitter Colin Munro, a South African by birth, has met with some success for New Zealand in white-ball cricket.
These South Africans have been busy in New Zealand.