Coming into the final Test in Hamilton, the three-match series was 1-0 in favour of South Africa. New Zealand had lost two of their bowling spearheads – Tim Southee and Trent Boult – to injury, and their batsmen weren’t performing. They wanted to end their home summer on a high, but didn’t know how to turn the tables against a strong South African side.
There was a lot of talk that a turner would await the visitors at Seddon Park, but that wasn’t to be. The two teams were presented with a green carpet – a heaven for an attack that comprised the likes of Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada. But, with some disciplined bowling and some gritty batting, the hosts managed to take a 175-run lead in the first innings, and reduced South Africa to 80 for 5 in the second, positioning themselves well for a series-levelling win on the final day.
However, not for the first time in the series, the last day of a Test was washed off due to rain, robbing the spectators of a chance of watching a promising day of cricket. After one and a half hours of rain running into match time, it left a lot for the groundsmen to do in terms of drying the field within the stipulated time. Early Lunch was taken and the match was eventually called off at 13:20 (local time).
The 1-0 series win ensures that South Africa will finish as the second-ranked Test side, behind India, by the April 1 cut-off date.
Brief Scores: South Africa 314 (Quinton De Kock 90, Faf du Plessis 53, Hashim Amla 50; Matt Henry 4-57, Colin De Grandhomme 3-104) & 80/5 (Hashim Amla 19; Jeetan Patel 2-22) drew with New Zealand 489 (Kane Williamson 170, Jeet Raval 88; Morne Morkel 4-100, Kagiso Rabada 4-122).