South Africa vs New Zealand: 3rd Test, 5 Talking Points
Rain played spoilsport in New Zealand's attempt to level the series on day 5 of the final Test having had the visitors on the mat at 80/5 at stumps on Day 4. Not a single ball was bowled in Seddon Park on Day 5 as the visitors won the series 1-0 with two Tests drawn.
South Africa have so often dug themselves out of even more difficult situations that a New Zealand win wasn't certain even if the game had proceeded. Quinton de Kock has been the architect of most of those comebacks in recent times and he was unbeaten at the crease when the day ended yesterday.
New Zealand will, however, take a lot of positives from the series and this match in particular. They competed extremely well in the final Test in spite of the absence of Ross Taylor, Trent Boult and Tim Southee, three players considered vital to Black Caps' Test squad. But a Test win against South Africa remains a distant memory, the last one coming 13 long years back.
"They dominated this Test match and deserved to have a crack at us today. It's a real fair assessment to say we've been saved by the rain," Proteas skipper, Faf du Plessis commented in the following press conference.
Brief Scores: South Africa 314/10 (de Kock 90, du Plessis 53, Henry 4/93) and 80/5 (Amla 19, Patel 2/22) drew with New Zealand 489/10 (Williamson 176, Raval 88, Morkel 4/100)
Here are the talking points from the third and final Test at Hamilton.
#5 Kane Williamson asserts himself as skipper
There was no doubting the ability of Kane Williamson, the batsman. The Black Caps skipper is rightly spoken about in the same wavelength as Steven Smith, Joe Root and Virat Kohli. He has shown a penchant for scoring big and taking his opportunities but Williamson, the skipper, was still in his infancy stage before the series.
When clubbed against Faf du Plessis (anointed even later than Williamson), carrying a terrific series win in Australia on his back, Williamson was still new, raw and untested. He had come a cropper in tough conditions in India but so have most captains in that land. South Africa was his real Test.
While New Zealand performed below their abilities in the first two Tests, in the final Test, without some key players, Williamson led his troops admirably and arguably played the best innings of New Zealand's home summer. It was unfortunate that he did not get a chance to bowl at South Africa on the final day.