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Lack of killer instinct

By Jake Beleski

[email protected]

Kane Williamson is rapidly racing towards the mantle of greatest ever New Zealand batsman, but he is a long way from becoming New Zealand’s greatest captain.

Williamson’s majestic 176 in the Black Caps’ first innings of the third and final test against South Africa was world class.

And yet, Williamson and his coaches were the main reason New Zealand failed to square the ledger and walk away with a share of the spoils.

I’m not referring to the fact he lost yet another toss, but rather the way in which the Black Caps failed to press home their advantage when rain was always threatening to ruin a gripping finale to a thrilling series.

Where was the urgency? The aggression? The drive to dismantle the No 2 ranked team in the world and level the series at 1-1?

The Black Caps got themselves into a position where only they could win the match, and then threw away any chance of doing just that.

Inclement weather had threatened to disrupt every day of the test match, but the Black Caps played at a pace you might expect to see on the subcontinent after spending a day in the searing heat.

As soon as they passed South Africa’s first innings score of 314 all out, the switch should have been flicked.

New Zealand had six wickets in the bank at that time, and everything to gain from a series-levelling win.

Instead, Mitchell Santner used up 151 balls compiling 41, and BJ Watling joined the snooze-fest soon after, taking 63 balls to reach 24.

There are times when batting long periods of time to tire out the opposition is the best approach, but this was not one of those times.

Colin de Grandhomme did his best to provide some late impetus with a slightly quicker 57 off 70 balls, but it was too late.

South Africa were precariously placed at 80-5 at the end of the day, and who knows what another hour of bowling might have produced?

The most infuriating aspect was the lack of intent when everybody, bar the Black Caps it seems, could see there was every chance rain would ruin day five.

And that is exactly what transpired.

Former captain Brendon McCullum was not in the same league as Williamson when it came to consistent batting, but you can be sure he would have taken the game to South Africa and done everything in his power to push for a result.

Despite New Zealand’s dominance in this match, the only thing people will remember about this series in five years’ time is the result.

South Africa 1. New Zealand 0.

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