Williamson, Taylor hit tons in draw Test, New Zealand win England series 1-0

New Zealand, England, England tour of New Zealand, Black Caps, All Blacks, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, test cricket
New Zealand's Ross Taylor celebrates after scoring a century during play on the final day of the second cricket test between England and New Zealand at Seddon Park in Hamilton. Photo: PTI

Centuries poured from New Zealand’s Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor in the rain-hit second Test against England to ensure a match draw and a 1-0 series win in Hamilton on Tuesday (December 3).

The weather worked well in favour of the Black Caps as soon after lunch on the fifth day, having taken advantage of some sloppy fielding, the hosts were 241 for two in their second innings, 140 ahead with Taylor on 105 and Williamson on 104.

With the rain gods denying the visitors a second innings to bat, it ensured the Black Caps a series victory after their innings sweep in the first Test. This win improved their record to eight wins, a draw and one loss (to South Africa) in their past 10 series.

Williamson brought up his 21st Test century with a four off Joe Root in the third over after lunch, while Taylor reached century number 19 with a flourish in Roots next over when he smacked four and two sixes in consecutive balls.

Two balls after Taylor had raised his bat and poked his tongue out in his signature celebration, the rain arrived to wash out England’s faint hope of forcing a result although that chance had already been damaged by dropped catches.

Also read: Root’s epic 226 gives England 101-run lead over New Zealand

New Zealand resumed the day at 96 for two with England hunting early wickets but their plans went off track when Ollie Pope and Joe Denly spilled simple chances from Williamson.

The New Zealand skipper was on 39 when wicketkeeper Pope put down a regulation offering off the gloves, much to bowler Ben Stokes annoyance, and on 62 Denly inexplicably dropped an even easier chance.

Williamson gently chipped a slower delivery from Jofra Archer straight to Denly at short midwicket and, as the bowler leapt in celebration and Williamson made an apologetic gesture to Taylor, the ball popped out of Denlys hands.

It drew instant comparisons on social media to the widely regarded worst dropped catch in Test history when England’s Mike Gatting put down a sitter off the gloves of India batsman Kiran More in 1993.

Also read: Despite Root, Burns tons England disappointed as New Zealand hit back

Williamson had another life when he should have been run out on 97 but Sam Currans shy at the stumps was so far off line that the batsmen picked up an extra run.

Even without the rain, Joe Root’s chances of pulling off victory seemed very remote as the England bowlers toiled with an ageing ball on an unresponsive wicket.

The one positive for the England captain was his return to form with a double century and man-of-the-match award after a year of averaging below 30 to give him confidence heading into a four-Test tour of South Africa.

New Zealand, meanwhile, head to Australia on Saturday for a three-Test series with the 1-0 win over England cementing their number two world ranking behind India.

(With inputs from agencies)