Sport

BLACKED OUT

Williamson and O’Rourke power Black Caps to historic series win over inexperienced Proteas

Williamson and O’Rourke power Black Caps to historic series win over inexperienced Proteas
New Zealand's Will Young (60*) (left) and Kane Williamson (133*) celebrate after winning the series during day four of the Second Test against the Proteas at Seddon Park. (Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

New Zealand 211 (Kane Williamson 43, Dane Piedt 5-89) and 269-3 (Williamson 133 not out, Will Young 60 not out, Piedt 3-93) beat South Africa 242 (Ruan de Swardt 64, Will O'Rourke 4-59) and 235 (David Bedingham 110, O'Rourke 5-34) by seven wickets.

South Africa had their moments in the second Test at Seddon Park in Hamilton, but New Zealand dominated sessions and unsurprisingly won by seven wickets inside four days.

The Black Caps’ victory in Hamilton — which gave them their firs- ever series win over South Africa — was constructed on the backs of Kane Williamson’s batting and debutant pace man Will O’Rourke bowling.

The 2-0 scoreline means New Zealand captured the inaugural Tangiwai Shield after winning the first Test in Mount Maunganui by 281 runs.

Williamson scored 176 runs in the match, including an unbeaten 133 in the second innings as New Zealand chased down the required 267 with ease. Williams shared an unbroken 152-run fourth-wicket partnership with Will Young, who added 60 not out.

The tall, aggressive O’Rourke returned the best-ever match figures of debut by a New Zealander, with nine for 93, which included five for 34 in the Proteas’ second innings.

Williamson, who now has 32 Test centuries in his career, amassed three centuries and 403 runs in four innings at an average 134.33 over the two matches. Unsurprisingly he was named Player of the Series.

Dane Piedt, Proteas

Off-spinner Dane Piedt took eight wickets in the second Test for South Africa during day four of the second Test. (Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Good for batting

For the Proteas, it was a disappointing fourth day after staying in the fight for the first three days thanks to some excellent bowling by off-spinner Dane Piedt and the batting of David Bedingham.

Piedt took five for 89 to help dismiss New Zealand for 211 in the first innings and added all three scalps in the Black Caps’ second dig.

Bedingham scored a maiden Test century, contributing 110 out of the Proteas’ 235 in their second innings to set New Zealand — a stiff target.

The Seddon Park pitch though, remained good for batting while providing some turn and a little seam movement.

In short, there was something for everyone, but South Africa simply didn’t have the combined firepower with bat and ball to win.

The first two sessions of the fourth day were slow, old-fashioned Test cricket, as the Proteas stopped New Zealand from scoring freely while picking up two wickets.

The home team started the day at 40 for one, still needing 227 to win. The Proteas had some hope that they could claim an unlikely victory.

Those hopes rose slightly in the sixth over on the morning when opener Tom Latham spooned a Piedt delivery to Zubayr Hamza at short cover. The Black Caps slipped to 53 for two. It needed another quick wicket to cause some panic in New Zealand ranks, but it never came.

Williamson and Rachin Ravindra shared a 64-run third-wicket stand before the latter played a poor shot off Piedt and was caught at short cover by Neil Brand. With the score at 117, the match was back on. New Zealand needed 150 and the Proteas seven wickets.

But Williamson’s ominous presence meant the home team were favourites as long as he was there. Young, sensing the importance of building one more, back-breaking partnership to crush the Proteas’ hopes, knuckled down with his skipper to ensure victory.

In the end, New Zealand achieved the record run chase at a canter thanks to Williamson’s class, composure and skill and Young’s excellent supporting role.

Kane Williamson, NZ vs Proteas

Star batter Kane Williamson on his way to his third century of the series in Hamilton. He was unbeaten on 133 as the Black Caps won by seven wickets. (Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Disappointed

“In the first two sessions, we were amazing, we stuck to our jobs with the plan to be patient and as disciplined as possible. They only scored 60 runs in each of those sessions.

“We knew Kane was the big wicket, probably the best player in the world, and unfortunately we couldn’t get him. Will Young also played a fantastic knock.

“Kane never leaves his bubble and he is able to just focus on the next ball. From what I’ve seen he really respects the game and never throws his wicket away. A lot of us can learn from that.”

It was a disappointing setback for the callow Proteas team that battled so gamely, but when they do their full analysis there will be shards of light in amongst the shadows.

The seamers only claimed four of New Zealand’s 14 wickets, while the Black Caps quicks took 14 of the Proteas’ wickets across the two innings.

Williamson of course, was a huge point of difference while only Bedingham for South Africa, batted with any consistency across the series.

The New Zealand Black Caps celebrate after winning the series 2-0 against South Africa to claim the inaugrual Tangiwai Shield at Seddon Park in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

There were a few batting collapses, especially after tea on day three of this Test, where South Africa lost six wickets for the addition of 32 runs. Had they managed 100 more runs, it might have been a different outcome.

But there were also good moments and some promising performances. How and what coach Shukri Conrad does from here will be interesting as he should be able to choose from a full-strength squad for the Proteas’ next Test series against the West Indies in August.

“It’s been an amazing experience and definitely something I want to be a part of in the future,” Brand said.

“A lot of us learnt that it is possible to play at this level. We did compete with a very good New Zealand side, so we deserve some credit for putting up a good fight.

“I’m very disappointed right now though because yesterday after tea we were in an amazing position to push the game forward. Unfortunately, we had a big batting collapse, which cost us. If we had batted until lunch today, things might have been different.” DM

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