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Honours even after Williamson’s hundred

New Zealand's captain Kane Williamson bats during day two of the 1st International cricket Test match between New Zealand and South Africa at the University Oval in Dunedin on March 9, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Marty MELVILLE

Dunedin: For a third day in a row it was difficult to split the two teams, but the final session in Dunedin provided one of the more action-packed periods of the Test – for a variety of reasons. A limping Ross Taylor helped New Zealand extend a narrow lead; Neil Wagner clubbed boundaries; Stephen Cook fell for a duck when he appeared not to hit the ball; and a fire alarm stopped play, leading to the ground being evacuated. Midway through the seventh over of South Africa’s second innings the alarm in the main stand at University Oval sounded. Play halted, teams and officials strode into the middle of the pitch, the fire crews arrived and supporters were asked to leave. A few minutes later the all-clear was given, but fading light meant New Zealand could not bowl their quicks.
Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla negotiated the spinners, pushing South Africa back into the lead until bad light finally ended play with 10 overs remaining.
The upshot was that the match remained evenly poised, although an iffy forecast for Sunday did not bode well for either to force a result unless New Zealand make swift inroads on the fourth morning. There has been some compelling cricket, but overall the match has progressed at a lethargic pace so far.
New Zealand’s promising position was engineered by Kane Williamson’s 16th Test century, a wonderful display of batsmanship, and a gritty fifty from BJ Watling. Their approach was cautious until Wagner started swinging, but it was understandable given Taylor’s calf injury which basically left them without a key batsman. Agencies

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