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Williamson-Taylor

Williamson, Taylor make hundreds as New Zealand draw second Test, take series 1-0

NZ v Eng, 2nd Test, day five, report

Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor hit centuries on a rain-curtailed fifth day to put a series-levelling victory beyond England's reach in Hamilton.

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Resuming on Tuesday, 3 December, with New Zealand at 96/2, still trailing by five runs, England would have harboured some hopes of cleaning them up and setting up a chase, but Taylor and Williamson, overnight on 31 and 37 respectively, got to 105* and 104* before rain had the last word.

New Zealand thus took the series 1-0 – their fifth straight Test series win at home and seventh unbeaten in a row.Β 

New Zealand's experienced batting pair was solid initially and proceeded to play their strokes more regularly as the prospect of a drawn match and 1-0 series win looked likely. They were on top of the game for the most part, but England did have a few chances to try and force a result. The first one came with a Williamson nick down leg off Ben Stokes' bowling early in the day, but Ollie Pope was unable to pouch the catch.

Williamson reached his fifty in a flurry of boundaries, and was soon offered another life as Joe Denly put down a sitter at short mid-wicket as the batsman uppishly flicked one from Jofra Archer.

The sign of rain after lunch served as a cue for the batsmen to play more aggressively. Williamson was the first to get to his hundred, bringing up his 21 Test ton with a sweep off Joe Root.

Two overs later, Taylor, who had been disciplined throughout, exhibited a series of signature slog-sweeps off Root. He sent the first one for four and the next two for six to bring up his hundred only two balls before players were taken off for rain. Only moments earlier had he gone past 7000 Test runs, becoming only the second New Zealander after Stephen Fleming to get to that milestone.

The rain never abated, and at that point, it perhaps wouldn't have mattered to the result if it did, because the unbroken 213-run stand for the third wicket had put New Zealand 140 runs in front. England, having lost the first game, lost the series, but they will take positives from their performance in this Test, not least Root's fine double century, signalling the end of a lean patch.

Both teams will now prepare for their ICC World Test Championship series. New Zealand travel to Australia for three Tests, starting 12 December, while South Africa will host England for four Tests, starting 26 December.

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