Fighting centuries from Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor ensured New Zealand secured a series win over England ahead of their blockbuster clash with Australia this summer.
Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor scored centuries before rain hammered home England’s misery in a washed-out second Test in Hamilton to hand New Zealand another series win.
Dark clouds and heavy afternoon rain forced an abandonment at 3.55pm local time and summed up the mood of the butter-fingered tourists, who will return home 1-0 losers following the innings defeat at Mount Maunganui.
New Zealand will carry confidence across the Tasman for a three-Test showdown against Australia starting in Perth next week, having made it six successive home series wins.
Unbeaten pair Williamson and Taylor enjoyed the chance for some batting practice on Tuesday, steering the hosts to 2-241 before the heavens opened just after lunch. Their overall lead was 140.
Just five overs were possible under floodlights after the lunch break but it was enough time for captain Williamson to advance from 96 to 104 and Taylor from 84 to 105, the latter racing to three figures via successive sixes off Joe Root. The tourists spurned three opportunities to dismiss Williamson after the hosts resumed at 2-96 on a lifeless pitch.
The most glaring came after the skipper had reached 62, when Joe Denly somehow spurned a catch which would rank among the worst spills in Test cricket. Williamson gently lobbed a shot to mid-wicket, where Denly’s blunder was so unexpected that paceman Jofra Archer already began to celebrate. Archer’s disbelieving reaction brought laughter from the small crowd, summing up a disheartening series for the paceman.
The unbroken partnership of 213 was a New Zealand record for the third wicket against England, allowing Williamson to log his 21st Test ton and Taylor his 19th.
Both resumed on Tuesday morning in their 30s and while Williamson looked uncomfortable against an early short-pitched barrage from Ben Stokes, Taylor was untroubled as he marched past 7000 runs and became the first player to score 1000 runs in Tests at Seddon Park.
Five players reached triple figures on a gentle pitch packing nothing like the life the Kiwis can expect in Perth.
England skipper Root was the game’s standout performer with 226. It is another series notch in New Zealand’s belt, the world’s second-ranked Test side having secured victory eight times from their past 10 series, with one drawn and one lost.