A heroic century by 21-year-old Kane Williamson trumped a hostile South African bowling attack and allowed New Zealand to hang on for a tenacious draw in the third Test. South Africa secured the series 1-0 but were on the verge a second victory before tea after a sensational bowling performance by Morne Morkel reduced New Zealand to 83-5.
In a dramatic final session,New Zealand lost only one further wicket as Williamson held firm in a defiant 80-run stand for the sixth wicket with Kruger van Wyk,following that with an unbeaten 37-run partnership with Doug Bracewell. The South African fieldsmen grounded multiple chances helping New Zealand reach 200-6 at the close after South African captain Graeme Smith set an imposing 389-run target.
Morkel ripped out the New Zealand top order to finish with career best figures of six for 23 which won him the man-of-the-match award over Williamson. Williamson,batting at four in place of the injured skipper Ross Taylor,survived a painful strike in the groin and at least four edges behind the stumps including a low catch claimed by Alviro Petersen at point.
Television replays showed the ball may have hit the ground first and the decision went in favour of the batsman who at that stage was on seven but went on to post his second century from 228 balls,spending 327 minutes at the crease. South Africa had resumed the day at 75 without loss and and raced to 189-3 before declaring with de Villiers belting 68 and JP Duminy unbeaten on 33.
Meanwhile,Taylor,who suffered a broken forearm after hit by a Morkel delivery,underwent surgery and would be sidelined for at least four weeks.
Brief scores: South Africa 474/9d & 189/3d (AB de Villiers 68) v New Zealand 275 & 200-6 (K. Williamson 102 not out; M. Morkel 6/23)