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Williamson, Taylor star in unbeaten stand to ensure series win for New Zealand
Match Report

Williamson, Taylor star in unbeaten stand to ensure series win for New Zealand

Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor hit spirited centuries to steer New Zealand safely to a draw in the second Test and seal the two-match series 1-0.

England were unable to claim even a single wicket on the final day of the contest, which was ruined by persistent rain as only 41 overs of play was possible.

New Zealand finished the game's proceedings at 241 for two in their second innings, 140 ahead of England's hard-earned 101-run lead.

The Black Caps' series win, set up by an innings victory in the preceding Test, has embellished their record to eight triumphs, one loss and one draw in their last 10 series.

Williamson and Taylor resumed New Zealand's battle still trailing by five runs as the England bowlers hoped to trigger a collapse with their probing lines and skittle the opposition for a paltry total.

However, the lifeless pitch dampened England's hopes as their frazzled bowlers failed to threaten the New Zealand batters.

The tourists' quest for a series-levelling win was further foiled in the face of a sloppy fielding display that saw them shell regulation catches.

The first chance put down was wicketkeeper Ollie Pope's inability to hold onto a simple offering as he was wrong-footed and could not move in time to grab the ball.

The batsman in question was the New Zealand skipper with the bowler Ben Stokes clearly not amused by the sluggish attempt from Pope.

Williamson was given another life when Joe Denly at short midwicket dropped an even easier chance while he had amassed 62 runs.

A slower knuckleball from paceman Jofa Archer was tamely chipped by Williamson towards Denly after failing to account for the clever change in pace.

Denly could not grasp the ball gently lobbed towards him causing great distress in the England camp.

Archer, midway through his premature celebration, had to stop himself and stared in disbelief at Denly while Williamson had already apologetically raised his hand to his batting partner and seemed ready to travel back to the pavilion only to see himself survive.

Denly's howler has already drawn comparisons to former England skipper Mike Gatting's widely regarded worst drop in the history of Test cricket, which occurred in 1993 in a game against India.

Buoyed by these slip-ups in the field and a couple of missed run-out opportunities, Williamson brought up his 21st Test ton with a boundary off captain Joe Root after lunch.

Soon after, Taylor upped the ante and thwacked the part-time spinner for one four and two sixes on successive deliveries to race to his three-figure landmark.

Taylor's timely blows were instantly followed by a downpour that caused the players to rush indoors.

Although England's red-ball woes have resurfaced with the completion of this tough assignment in New Zealand, Root will take heart from his emphatic return to form with an epic double century.

Meanwhile, Williamson's men will visit Australia for their three-match series under the World Test Championship unlike the two games against England.