Williamson and Taylor score unbeaten centuries


Centuries from Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor ensured New Zealand drew the rain-hit second Test against England here on Tuesday, sealing a 1-0 series win.

The weather turned sour soon after lunch on the fifth day when New Zealand, having taken advantage of some sloppy fielding, was 241 for two in the second innings, 140 ahead with Taylor on 105 and Williamson on 104.

Improves record

With the weather denying England a second turn at bat, it ensured New Zealand’s series win after its innings victory in the first Test, and improved its record to eight wins, a draw and one loss (to South Africa) in the 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 Root’s next over when he smacked a four and two sixes off consecutive balls.

Dropped catches

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. New Zealand resumed at 96 for two with England hunting early wickets, but its 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, 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 Denly’s hands.

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

Bowlers toil

Even without the rain, 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 the 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.

Scoreboard

New Zealand — 1st innings: 375. 

England — 1st innings: 476. 

New Zealand — 2nd innings: T. Latham c Root b Woakes 18, J. Raval lbw b Curran 0, K. Williamson (not out) 104, R. Taylor (not out) 105; Extras (b-2, lb-3, w-3, nb-1, pen-5): 14; Total (for two wkts. in 75 overs): 241. 

Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-28. 

England bowling: Broad 9-0-28-0, Curran 16-2-56-1, Archer 12-1-27-0, Woakes 11-4-12-1, Stokes 14-1-58-0, Denly 9-1-27-0, Root 4-1-23-0. 

Man-of-the-Match: Joe Root.

Player-of-the-Series: Neil Wagner.

Match drawn. New Zealand wins series 1-0.

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