Morne Morkel picked Kane Williamson for 176 on Day Four    Getty Images
Morne Morkel picked Kane Williamson for 176 on Day Four Getty Images

An eventful first session of Day Four belonged to South Africa thwarting New Zealand s lead in the third and final Test in Hamilton. Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada added wicket apiece to the 4 wickets shared between them on Day Three. Kane Williamson played a fine innings of 176, thereby crossing the highest score set by Scott Styris against South Africa in New Zealand. Meanwhile, Mitchell Santner smashed 5 fours and built a steady partnership of 88 runs, before being knocked down for 41 in the final delivery ahead of lunch. New Zealand have taken lead of 83 heading to lunch break at 397 for 6 with wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling playing on 6. Full Cricket Scorecard: New Zealand vs South Africa, 3rd Test at Hamilton

Williamson and Santner who began the first session on 148 and 13 respectively, saw the captain raising his fifth 150-plus score in his Test career. He equalled the record along with Ross Taylor and Stephen Flemming. However, the flow of runs was slower than usual for New Zealand with the South African bowlers maintaining tight length. It was Santner who was off the mark with the first boundary for the day off Rabada to the fine-leg, producing 50-run stand between himself and Williamson. Santner fell in trouble once when Rabada trapped him in front of stumps. The on-field umpire disagreed to the same and so did the DRS that went against the visitors, thereby losing one of their reviews.

Meanwhile, New Zealand went on to add mere 34 runs to their overnight score of 321 for 4 by the drinks break as the lead read just 41 runs then. Williamson who looked in fine touch with the bat and was aiming for a double-century mistimed Morkel s delivery and was dismissed for 176 caught by Vernon Philander at the deep. The flow of runs further dipped as Santner along with new batsman in form of Watling managed to add another 42 to it ahead of lunch break.

On Day Three, Williamson’s broke several records. He equalled Martin Crowe’s New Zealand record of 17 centuries, and featured in a commanding 190-run stand with Jeet Raval for the second wicket. Raval’s dismissal late in the day for 88 triggered a revival for South Africa as New Zealand slipped from 273 for one to 321 for 4 at stumps in reply to South Africa’s 314.

New Zealand, battling to square the series which South Africa lead 1-0, took control on the third day after rain delayed the start. Raval resumed with Tom Latham who progressed from his overnight 42 to 50 before he was caught behind by a diving Quinton de Kock off Morkel.

Williamson six off Philander made him the sixth and fastest New Zealander to reach 5,000 Test runs, seven innings quicker than the previous record set by Crowe. When Williamson smacked part-timer Dean Elgar to the boundary for his hundred, he equalled Crowe’s New Zealand record of 17 centuries but took 16 fewer Tests to get there.

While Williamson punished the bowling, Raval was impressively patient as faced 254 balls for his 88 before falling to the Morkel-de Kock combination. However, South African bowlers found their way back and accounted for Neil Broom (12) and Henry Nicholls (0) in successive balls before Santner joined Williamson to guide New Zealand through to stumps. Rabada and Morkel shared 4 wickets to keep New Zealand on toes.

Brief scores:

South Africa 314 trail New Zealand 397 for 6 (Tom Latham 50, Jeet Raval 88, Kane Williamson 176, Mitchell Satner 41; Morne Morkel 3 for 90, Kagiso Rabada 3 for 109) by 83 runs.