Blackcaps vs South Africa: Kane Williamson, Rachin Ravindra put New Zealand in driving seat after early Latham wicket

Blackcaps kingpin Kane Williamson has brought up his 32nd test century, guiding his team to their first series victory over South Africa at Hamilton's Seddon Park.

With rain threatening towards the end of the fourth day, Williamson sealed the result with a four off Tshepo Moreki to win the second test by seven wickets, after their 281-run win at Mt Maunganui last week.

Soon after the tea break, Williamson reached triple figures for the third time in this series, as he and Will Young chipped away at the South African lead. The milestone elevates him further on the all-time test century rankings, now level with Aussie icons Steve Waugh and Steve Smith.

Dane Piedt celebrates the wicket of Tom Latham.
Dane Piedt celebrates the wicket of Tom Latham. Photo credit: Getty Images

Momentum switched one way and then the other throughout the day, with the tourists removing opener Tom Latham during the morning session and first-test double-centurion Rachin Ravindra soon after lunch.

New Zealand resumed the morning session, requiring a further 227 runs to win their second consecutive test against the Proteas, after they were set a target of 267.

After nabbing struggling opener Devon Conway with the last ball on day three, South Africa threw the first punch of the morning, when in-form spinner Piedt dismissed Latham inside the first 30 minutes.   

An uncharacteristic mistake saw the opener spooning a slower delivery outside offstump straight to short cover to end his second innings at 30 runs.   

Latham's wicket brought rising star Ravindra to the crease, who together with Williamson, slowly steered proceedings back in New Zealand's direction before lunch.

Williamson handled most of the scoring, as Ravindra was glad to rotate the strike back to the ICC’s No.1-ranked test batter.

The pair almost threw away their growing partnership, when Williamson was nearly run out in the last over before lunch, but he just managed to slide home, before wicketkeeper Clyde Fortuin knocked the bails off the stumps.  

Ravindra and Williamson compiled a 54-run partnership to the break, bringing New Zealand to 107/2, but added only 10 runs after the resumption, before the youngster lobbed spinner Dane Piedt to Proteas captain Neil Brand for 20. 

Young joined Williamson at the crease and they toiled for 56 runs to tea, with Williamson 92 not out and Young on 11, and New Zealand poised at 173/3.

Young played a fine hand to support his teammate to the end, bringing up his seventh test fifty and finishing unbeaten on 60. The pair shared 152-run partnership to see the job through.

Fast-bowler Will O'Rourke was named Player of the Match, after taking nine wickets on debut, including 5/34 in the second innings.

Rachin Ravindra survives an appeal against South Africa.
Rachin Ravindra survives an appeal against South Africa. Photo credit: Photosport

"Very special," he said. "The boys really wanted this one, so it was nice to get over the line.

"You want a good performance, first and foremost, but to cap it off with a test win is really special.

"Luckily, I felt like I had pretty good rhythm throughout the test match, so it comes down to a bit of luck in the end."

Williamson's three centuries saw him named Player of the Series, as he looks forward to the upcoming tests against Australia.

"Coming into today on a wearing surface, we knew we had to get partnerships together," he reflected. "Credit to South Africa... certainly through the first couple of days, they outplayed us and put us under pressure.

"We had to fight hard to get out of that position and change the momentum." 

New Zealand now revert back to whiteball mode, with a three-match T20 series against the Aussies next week, before the first test begins on February 29.

South Africa 242 & 235

NZ 211 & 269/3 (Williamson 133no, Young 60no, Latham 30; Piedt 3/93)

NZ win by seven wickets, win series 2-0

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