Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Cricket: Black Caps force draw

Kane Williamson on his way to his second test ton. Photo / Getty Images
Kane Williamson on his way to his second test ton. Photo / Getty Images

Kane Williamson scrapped his way to an unbeaten 102 as New Zealand held on to draw the third and final cricket test against South Africa at the Basin Reserve in Wellington today.

Williamson reached his second test century with a push in to the onside from the bowling of Marchant de Lange late on day five and it was a well-deserved milestone for a gritty knock.

It wasn't without controversy though as he appeared to have been caught while only on seven by Alviro Petersen at backward point but replays were inconclusive and Williamson stayed at the crease.

The 21-year-old was also dropped on 10 and 22 as South Africa wasted their chances to turn the knife when they appeared to be on top against New Zealand.

Doug Bracewell held up an end admirably during the final stages of the day and finished on 20 not out as New Zealand closed the test on 200-6.

Their score didn't matter though, it was the wickets column that was vital.

New Zealand only had nine of them to play with rather than the usual quota of 10 after captain Ross Taylor was unable to take any further part in the test due to a broken ulna in his left forearm suffered on day four.

As his side fought on to save the test, Taylor was under the surgeon's knife having his arm fixed.

Earlier in the day, the Kiwis were set 389 to win from 81 overs by South Africa after they declared their second innings at 189-3.

South Africa began the morning on 75-0 and some rapid scoring from AB de Villiers (68) and JP Duminy (33 not out) saw them add to their overnight total.

When de Villiers was caught by Williamson from the bowling of Bracewell, Smith called his men in and laid the gauntlet down
for New Zealand.

They responded slowly as Brendon McCullum and Daniel Flynn were sent back to the pavilion without troubling the scorers.

Martin Guptill and Williamson dug in and put on 31 for the third wicket, before Guptill became Morne Morkel's third victim when he was caught by Jacques Rudolph.

Dean Brownlie hung around for just over an hour for 15 runs but he was nobbled by a Morkel yorker and when Daniel Vettori suffered the same fate next ball the end appeared near for New Zealand.

But, for all that they have been out-classed during the test series, which they lost 1-0, they have shown their fair share of fight and wicketkeeper-batsman Kruger van Wyk exemplified that again today.

The pint-sized right-hander stuck with Williamson as he made 39 from 80 balls against the country of his birth before he became Morkel's sixth scalp; the big right-arm pace bowler plucked a sharp return catch from van Wyk and he finished with 6-23 from 16 overs.

Cue Bracewell though, who showed remarkable resolve given his previously dire record in test cricket, which included five ducks from his first 11 innings.

While they may not have been able to pull back a test victory to square the series, national coach John Wright would have been pleased to see his batsmen put up a strong fight on a fifth-day pitch against such a sharp South African seam attack.

- APNZ

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