Williamson, Maharaj sublime, alarm ridiculous

Times Media


TELFORD VICE at University Oval

KANE Williamson and Keshav Maharaj batted and bowled sublimely and a smoke alarm caused a ridiculous delay on the third day of the keenly contested first test between New Zealand and South Africa in Dunedin on Friday.

When low-lying cloud forced an early end to the day’s play, South Africa were 38/1 in their second innings – a lead of five runs.

New Zealand resumed on 177/3 in reply to South Africa’s first innings of 308, and were 33 ahead when they were dismissed for 341.

Williamson faced 27 balls before he added to his overnight score of 78 – testament to his discipline as well as that of Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada, who bowled immaculately in the first hour.

With BJ Watling, who scored 50, Williamson put on 84 for the sixth wicket.

Williamson went to his 16th test century before lunch and was caught behind off Rabada for 130 having spent more than six-and-a-half hours at the crease in which he faced 241 balls and hit 18 fours.

That saw Williamson join Ross Taylor as New Zealand’s second-highest scorer of test centuries. Each has made 16 tons, one fewer than Martin Crowe.

When New Zealand slipped to 324/9, Taylor resumed his innings – which was interrupted on Thursday when he retired hurt on eight with what has since been diagnosed as a torn calf.

His mobility limited, Taylor swung from the heels and hammered Morne Morkel for six in his unbeaten 15.

Neil Wagner hit five fours and two sixes in his 32.

None of New Zealand’s batsmen unsettled left-arm spinner Maharaj, who took 5/94, his first five-wicket haul in his fifth test.

South Africa’s second innings started shakily when Stephen Cook was given out caught behind to Trent Boult for a fourth-ball duck. Cook walked despite a lack of replay evidence that he had hit the ball.

In the seventh over an alarm began wailing from the main stand at the southern end of the ground, and soon a fire engine arrived.

Play was halted and the stand was emptied before officials ordered a full evacuation of the ground.

However, the crowd were still filing out when play was allowed to resume.

Officials said the alarm had been triggered by steam.

Play continued for another 11 overs before the umpires decided the light, which had been dulled by a thick band of cloud that could bring rain at the weekend, had deteriorated to unacceptable levels.

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