appeal for leg before. Not given by umpire Rod Tucker. He was hanging back and the ball slides in to rap him on the pad. Seems like there was an inside edge on that. New Zealand don't have reviews
Right then. The spirits on the final day were not too high as it turned out to be a damp squib. But we got to witness some riveting Test cricket, and some fascinating passages of play in this series despite interruptions from the weather. That is the end of New Zealand's home summer and also Test cricket for a while. Pakistan and West Indies clash in three Tests, but teams around the world have more or less wound up their seasons and it is now that time of the year when T20 fever takes over. But how many great Tests have we got to see? It has been a truly memorable season of Test cricket and we hope you enjoyed our coverage of all the games. Nothing more from us today. We take your leave in the hope that you enjoyed our coverage of this match. We have certainly enjoyed bringing it to you. Until next time!
Johann Havenga: "Nice to see the rain assisting the Proteas for a change, but I would much rather have enjoyed the South African team battling the day out than watch rain drops fall. Rather boring way to watch Cricket here in SA at 02h22."
Nico Bougas: "Now we will never know if du Plessis and de Kock would have gone on to make that 200+ run partnership."
"Surprised. I did not expect to see so much rain, not today," says Faf du Plessis. "I was ready to come out and play my blockathon. New Zealand outplayed us in this game and deserved to win and they will count themselves unlucky. We played poorly, especially in such conditions - we gave them too many chances. We need to put a price on our wickets, but I thought we did not do that yesterday, especially, when there were three or four soft dismissals. It was a tired unit yesterday. Obviously, when you play three seamers, your bowlers are going to tire. But you have got find a way to remain strong in such periods. The bowlers have that fatigue, but then the batsmen should have played better. Good and strong teams find a way to win. And I do think we did not play very good cricket this series, but we still have found a way to win. We started from No. 7 but we have finished at No. 2. These are exciting times. We have got India and Australia coming over, which is going to be a tough summer and then we go to England for a tough tour. I think our one-day side is taking real good shape. To beat Australia 5-0, to beat Sri Lanka 5-0 and to come over here to New Zealand and to beat them, I think these are very good signs. We have also had tough series like against India where we had to win the final game. New Zealand is our favourite place to tour. And New Zealand team is a team we have utmost respect for. They were unfortunate to lose today. But it has been a great tour. We don't come back here for another four or five years, I will certainly not be here then, so thank you for everything."
"We were lucky to get so much cricket in," says Kane Williamson, New Zealand's captain and the Man of the Match. "But the frustrating part is to have come so far in the match and then see the final day washed off. But South Africa deserved to win, they played well in Wellington. You can't give an inch against sides like that and they pounced on it. It is a frustrating end to the home season, but there were positives. Jeet with the new ball, Matt Henry, who probably deserves more opportunities through the year, and Neil Wagner as well, to see him take wickets with the new ball, I think it is important to take away the gains and build on it. It has been pleasing, the results show growth with the number of transition in personnel. It was nice to get a few wins, but the best part was to come together as a unit. I think it's a great time for the guys to enjoy the break. This I think, has been the busiest summer for us eve, but it is always busier the next year. But this is a good chance for the guys to take a break. Some of the guys will be playing T20 cricket as well."
1.20pm And that will be it, ladies and gentlemen. The players shake hands and play has been called off for day five. The match has been drawn. South Africa win the series 1-0. They maintain their incredible record away from home, with just one series defeat - to India in 2015-16 - in ten years. But spare a thought for New Zealand. Their home summer ends in a series defeat, and it is in the most unfortunate fashion. But South Africa earned their win in Wellington. That one session on the third day ended up making all the difference to the series.
1.10pm Ah, well, what do you know? The rain's back!
Live pictures aren't too encouraging. Umpires Rod Tucker and Bruce Oxenford stride out with their umbrellas out. And it is pelting.
12.56pm Covers being lifted.
Ben Davin: "Weather looking much better from my vantage point. The Paradise ducks have disappeared, wish my run of ducks would come to an end. It will be sometime before play I'd imagine. Maybe NZ only need an hour or two? Faf at the crane is a worry as you need a crane to get him out when the going gets tough."
12.45pm It has stopped raining. There is some blue sky, says Firdose from the ground. Some of the South Africa players have made their way out and the soppers have begun doing the rounds.
As we wait for further update, here is a delightful read to kill time. We are all hoping for a sunny day of cricket. But what about the sunny non-cricketing days? Firdose Moonda tells us about all the delights you come across as you go around New Zealand.
12.08pm The rain is definitely getting lighter, but there are pools of water on the covers. And even if, by some miracle, they do get the ground ready for action, it is pretty gloomy and sighting the ball is going to be supremely difficult. And remember, there has already been a light reading taken in this Test. I think it was 0.4, and if it anything at that mark or below would mean we cannot have play. Things not looking good at all.
11.40am It may be getting a little lighter, but it is not much better, says Firdose.
David Wedde: "I don't think you can blame the venues it is more the scheduling of matches in Autumn and the lack of reserve days. Mind you in saying that I don't think we would have been safe at any point over the last summer which was particularly poor. We just have to take it on the chin. It's a shame because it would have been a great contest today and there is no way you can say New Zealand would definitely have won especially with what these two are capable of."
Cmb: "Has anyone heard of forysh barr stadium? Think of what qualities it has -My main point is the roof over it to keep rain out.And thats a rugby ground. Why isnt thier a Cricket ground in new zealand/a stadium with a roof over it? And after many years thier needs to be one Over westpac or eden park."
steve: "When I heard about Ross, Trent and Tim being all injured, I thought that the rain was our main chance of saving this test before it started.. I am now eating my words.."
Now, all the mopping up has stopped. We may just be waiting for the inevitable. Meanwhile, New Zealand came into this Test having been beaten inside three days in Wellington. And they were without Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Ross Taylor. Not many gave them a chance, and yet, here they stood at the start of the final day, ready to apply the choke on South Africa and push for a rare Test win. Firdose Moonda on the unlikely heroes to have emerged in Hamilton.
10.56am Nothing new to report. Still raining and does not look good, says Firdose.
Janet: "Has SA got a hotline to the weather gods??!!!"
Geoff: "Here is a poser for everyone to fill in time. Earlier this week I said it was madness the administrators give so much international cricket to Auckland and Hamilton because the climate there is lousy. Could you all go through the records over the past decade and determine what percentage of playing time is lost from all first class and international cricket through weather in Hamilton and then compare that with other major centres. Then we can give this information to administrators to avoid these debacles in future." But how many choices do they have? There are only six Test match venues in New Zealand. And McLean Park in Napier has among the worst drainage systems in the world.
Eliot Blenkarne: "Over 50% of the population lives north of Taupo (central North Island). So logic is driving where the cricket is played, surely. Hamilton, Auckland and Wellington, the three main population centres, share similar sunshine hours in a year, and we recently saw the match at Dunedin washed out. It's the nature of our climate, particularly in Autumn, and it has been a particularly poor summer too."
South Africa were left with a mountain to scale on the final day. But it is not something they are new to. Remember the Wanderers epic from 2013? And who better than their captain to guide them in their pursuit to do so? Faf du Plessis is no stranger to blockathons and is the one common denominator in South Africa's three most famous such efforts in recent times. And Adrian Birrell, their assistant coach, stated the faith South Africa have in their captain to do it again after yesterday's play.
10.28am And now, it is raining again. Mild drizzle, says Firdose.
The last time New Zealand beat South Africa in a Test was back in 2004. It was a match in which Scott Styris scored 170, which until yesterday was the highest score by a New Zealand batsman against South Africa at home. Kane Williamson broke the record and put New Zealand in a wonderful position to win again. Craig McMillan also played a part in that win with 82 in their first innings. Today, he is New Zealand's batting coach.
Johan : "This weather is a real let down. NZ have played really well and deserved the shot at a win. As a Safa fan, we have not and don't deserve a draw from a 5th day washout. Was really looking forward to Faf and de Kock grinding it out and fighting for it! "
Craig: "I am quite happy to come down to the ground with the other halfs hairdryer and all the sponges I can muster to help out!"
Day 5, 10am Hello folks, and welcome to ESPNcricinfo's live coverage of the fifth day's play in Hamilton. Here's the mood-setter. Hamilton has seen rain fall down for all of last night. It only just stopped, minutes ago. What we are left with is the cover resembling a mini-stream and there is plenty of mopping up going around. Firdose Moonda, our correspondent who is there, says there is a definite delay and probably no play at all.
Factoid: "Looks really bad for any play at all on the last day, as I write (10:17 AM NZ time). Lots of heavy rain overnight, heavy overcast now and light dampening drizzle still falling. Little chance of good drying conditions, no wind. Good effort NZ to get close to a victory, the game result I am anticipating is a bit deflating for both sides as SA won't be pleased with their upper order batting letting them down. Good test series spoiled by weather, QdK for man of series, Tom Latham's catch the highlight for me." This is what the Met Service rain radar shows. As of now, Hamilton is right in the middle of the storm.
Sam: "I dont want to encourage false hope but most other days this test have had heavy rain forecast. Yes this is the worst and there has been a lot overnight, but hHamilton is basically on the edge of the weather system which appears to be creeping north. It's fine throughout most of the central North Island. Come on wind, blow it away!"
Sam.C: "When you said "mood-setter" I think you meant "mood-killer"" Well, mood-killer could depend on who you're supporting. Mood-setter was more neutral. :)
Gaz Williams: "Raining here but I'm about 500 KM away. Do we have another Maclean Park episode on our hands. the pitch block consist of both the Waikiri and Patumahoe soil so should dry well. I was impressed with Patel last night. It looks like he has added the Carrom Ball to his variation."
Davey: "Bring in the choppers! Get them hovering over the outfield. Or there must be another way the test can be decided. Perhaps a game of rugby?"
Paul w: "Looking at the weather forecast, i think we will be lucky to get play.. the 2 matches where nz had a very good chance to win has been "5th day washouts" thats a bit rough i think! "
Word is that the South African team is getting to the ground only at 11am. We have already seen through the course of this Test just how difficult it has been to get the ground ready after the wet spells. But today might be the toughest challenge of them all. It has seriously poured overnight in Hamilton and the forecast for the rest of today isn't any bright either.
We have seen rain on four of the five days now, yesterday being that exception. And what a day it ended up being. New Zealand were brilliant with the bat, with each man playing his part well. Kane Williamson and Mitchell Santner blunted the new ball, Colin de Grandhomme struck a rapid half-century, just what New Zealand needed at the moment, and then their pacers found movement and reaped the rewards of hitting brilliant lines. And by the end of the day, their spinners had just about begun finding turn and bounce off the rough outside off. All in all, it was a perfect day for New Zealand, and they set themselves up for the series-levelling win. More on a gripping fourth day's play in Alagappan Muthu's report.
6.25pm A gripping day of Test cricket ends with New Zealand having firmly gained the upper hand. It was anyone's game at the start of the day, but New Zealand have gotten themselves into a position from where anything less than a win would probably come as a surprise. They were methodical in how they went about ceasing the advantage. First, Kane Williamson and Mitchell Santner blunted the attack for a good one hour in the morning. It set the stage nicely for Colin de Grandhomme to open up and swell the lead and he responded with his maiden Test fifty. New Zealand's pacers then bowled beautifully. Part of where South Africa stand is down to their own undoing, as they showed lack of discipline, repeatedly chasing at deliveries outside off. But it was only because New Zealand's pacers bowled smart lines, repeatedly asking the batsmen to go after them and then getting the ball to drift away just enough to draw the edges. South Africa's current pair is their best and perhaps last hope as we head into the final day. But the pitch has just started to take turn and bounce, there are rough patches that are there to be exploited and Jeetan Patel and Mitchell Santner will be at South Africa's batsmen, turning them arm over for over after over. All of that provided the weather stays out of the equation. The forecast is for a mostly cloudy day with a little rain. But if it holds good, we should be in for another good day of Test cricket. See you tomorrow!
"It felt good. The most pleasing thing was that we were able to get a good first-innings total and form partnerships," says Kane Williamson. "Overall, it was a very pleasing batting performance. South Africa have got a very good pace attack and good spinners, so it was important to see off the new ball. Hogan's (Martin Crowe) our best batter ever and a fantastic player. Personally, the milestone is not something I focus on a lot. It is probably special for other people, but for me the focus has always been on giving the best to the team. Tomorrow will be an exciting day. The surface is just starting take a little bit of turn and bounce, just out of the rough. Hopefully, we can make life difficult in the morning and take a few early wickets."
last ball of day four coming up
defended off the backfoot
gets it to drift and draws the batsman forward into the drive, de Kock works it to covers
hangs back and defends
shorter in length and sliding in from wide of the crease. De Kock manufactures his own room and cuts it to the right of backward point
turning and bouncing from the rough outside off, left alone by de Kock
pitching on middle and leg and turning sharply, du Plessis knocks it against the spin into the leg side
front-foot defensive towards mid-off
that's sublime timing. Loopy, angled in and straightening. Short in length and du PLessis rocks back and punches it to sweeper cover
flat and fast, 89.7kph, takes the inside part of the bat as it slides in to du Plessis
good length, straightening on off, punched solidly back to the bowler
pitched up on middle, pushed down to mid-on
du Plessis takes the front foot a long way outside off and pads this away. shout for lbw but that came on straight and would not have done anything
full, on middle and leg, stays in the crease and turns it away to short leg
again he is targetting the rough outside off, pitches it up and de Kock pushes it out to sweeper cover
gets down to sweep but it is not full enough. On a length and turns and bounces, misses the bat by a comfortable distance
fullish length, asking the batsman to drive off the rough. De Kock pushes forward and plays it to covers
flight, drift outside off, de Kock pushes it out to point
Patel to de Kock with two slips and two cover catchers
Shan: "If anyone in the SA team could ever save a test, its these two. For NZ to win the game this partnership will be the biggest hurdle."
full, on the stumps, defended
comes forward and works it to mid-on
|Seddon Park, Hamilton|
|Toss||South Africa, elected to bat first|
|Player Of The Match|
|Series result||South Africa won the 3-match series 1-0|
|Match number||Test no. 2257|
|Hours of play (local time)||11.00am start, Lunch 1.00-1.40pm, Tea 3.40-4.00pm, Close 6.00pm|
|Match days||25,26,27,28,29 March 2017 - day (5-day match)|
Theunis de Bruyn