New Zealand vs South Africa, 3rd Test – 5 Talking Points

Kane Williamson played a magnificent knock, South Africa had their back on the wall - five talking points of the game.

South Africa
South African batsman Hashim Amla celebrates his century in his hundredth test during the third cricket Test match between South Africa and Sri Lanka on January 12, 2017 at Wanderers Cricket Stadium in Johannesburg. / AFP / MARCO LONGARI (Photo credit should read MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)

New Zealand started the Hamilton Test match extremely well, taking it right to the opposition and making them battle every minute of the game. New Zealand lost the Wellington Test and eventually the series in just that one hour when a New Zealand batting collapse happened. But they were not going to give in just yet and they came back harder in the final Test.

Rain was the man of the match but there was some fantastic cricket played in the final Test match. All the days were rain affected but New Zealand were still fighting. Their captain led from the front and scored a record-breaking century. There were many good performances right from Kane’s fabulous innings and Morkel’s fantastic bowling to Tom Latham’s incredible catch.  Let us look at the five talking points of the third and the final Test between New Zealand and South Africa.

1. Fast bowlers do the job for the Kiwis

New Zealand were struck with a couple of blows even before the start of their season-saving Test match. Trent Boult and Tim Southee, two of their best fast bowlers were ruled out due to injury. A total of 49 overs went down the drain during the first day which meant trouble for Kiwis straight away. However, Matt Henry and Colin de Grandhomme did the job for them. Neil Wagner also chipped in with some wickets but it was mainly Matt Henry.

He was magnificent in the first innings when he got the dangerous Duminy and powerful Philander. Henry’s fabulous performance meant that South Africa had to stick with an average 314 in the first innings. Henry performed on a slow pitch that had little for the fast bowlers.

Neil Wagner’s sloppy first day’s display was covered as he snared three wickets at the far end of the Proteas innings. Colin de Grandhomme did the damage early one but was ineffective later in the innings.

2. Quinton de Kock – the unlikely savior

Quinton was not supposed to be fit for the third and the final Test but played anyway. He played a living-in-the-moment kind of an innings as he was detached from the all the things the pitch was doing. He smashed the best bowler of the New Zealand for 26 runs in 28 deliveries which left Williamson thinking.

De Kock Scored all-important 90 runs which helped them get to a certain 300 score which looked like many a mile away when he came to bat. His 90 run inning was brought up in just 117 deliveries which is incredible because his captain played the same amount of balls more or less and scored just 53 runs.

Quinton showed his character and his love for the country as he might now miss the IPL because of his decision to play in the third Test.

3. Tom Latham – the improviser

Latham who opens the innings for the Kiwis is a handy fielder in the close-in regions. He is sure on his feet, has a good eye for the red cherry which means he seldom drops catches. Apart from having all those attributes, Latham has one more which only some have- he can anticipate.

Latham was fielding at short leg and Mitchell Santner was brought into the attack by Kane. He was looking or wickets alright but du Plessis was set for a long inning. Having just brought up his fifty the South African captain was looking incredibly comfortable. Santner bowled a middle and leg stump line hit the good length and du Plessis just decided to lap sweep it fine for a couple.

Latham being good at everything just anticipated and moved towards the ball even before the batter had hit it. He was kind of waiting for the ball to come there when Faf du Plessis hit it. A one had grab meant the SA captain was walking back and the floodgates had opened.

4. Kane Williamson – the Record Breaker and history maker

Kane Williamson came out to bat after a solid start from Tom Latham and Jeet Raval. The ball was 30 odd overs old but was still talking to the batters. Kane just strolled in, took his guard and scored a century. He was in immaculate form and never lost his concentration. Scoring at a brisk strike rate of 61, Williamson scored a big chunk of New Zealand innings.

The massive partnerships with Jeet Raval and Mitchell Santner meant Kane going past his 150 and New Zealand taking a massive first innings lead. Williamson was batting like it was his last innings. New Zealand scored 489 in the first innings taking a 175 run lead which almost earned them a victory; almost.

He eventually scored 178 runs and became the fastest Kiwi to get past 5000 runs and equaled Martin Crowe’s tally of centuries. Some years down the line Kane Williamson might edge everyone to become the great Kane Williamson.

5. Unlucky New Zealand.

After playing so well over the rain-affected days and giving it their all, New Zealand lost the series because of the rain. In the end, it all came down to that collapse in Wellington where New Zealand were batted miserably.

They were given a second chance but that chance was taken away from them by the weather. They took a 175 run lead in the first innings. Kane Williamson the usual hero made a huge century. On the fourth day, New Zealand sent back half of the South African team back to pavilion with just 59 on the board.

It looked like the season will end on a high for the men in black but it didn’t. The rain decided to support the South Africans and came in pouring down on the fifth day. It looked at some point they may get a chance but the rain never stopped. This saw South Africa win the series and finish the season as the World number two team edging past the Australians.