WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Kane Williamson felt there were numerous positives to take out of New Zealand’s international season even if they were deprived of a victorious climax to it by the Hamilton rain.
South Africa clinched the three-match series 1-0 on Wednesday after the final day of the third test at Seddon Park was washed out without a ball being bowled, ensuring the Proteas would hold on for a draw.
“Although it’s frustrating with today and not being able to get some cricket in, on a positive note, it has been a good season,” captain Williamson said after umpires Rod Tucker and Bruce Oxenford called off the match.
”I still think while there have been some positives in terms of results, it’s about growth with a number of transitions in personnel. There’s a lot of positives.
“Good to get some wins along the way but, as a unit, we have grown together and coming into this last game to perhaps play our best test match is a really good sign.”
Williamson’s test side is still finding its feet but beat Pakistan 2-0 in a series late last year and followed that with a victory over Bangladesh by the same margin.
While the Proteas proved altogether tougher opponents, it was the weather which had the last word on a finely-poised first test in Dunedin, with a final day washout again forcing a draw.
In the second test in Wellington, New Zealand suffered their only defeat of the home season.
Suffering one of the mental collapses that has so often hampered their test game, New Zealand were undone by left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj on a Basin Reserve pitch that was offering him little or no assistance and lost by eight wickets.
They had to play the third test without new ball duo Trent Boult and Tim Southee as well as batting mainstay Ross Taylor but newcomers Jeet Raval, Tom Latham and Colin de Grandhomme stepped up with the bat.
Matt Henry, so often the fourth choice seamer for a team which usually fields a three-pronged pace attack, took the new ball with relish and claimed career-best figures of 4-93 in the first innings.
“I think the pleasing thing for us was that we’re showing signs of improvement with a number of experienced players out as well, the guys stepped up and contributed,” Williamson added.
”Someone like Jeet getting challenged by probably the best bowling attack in world cricket and fronting up game after game was outstanding, especially against the new ball.
”Matt Henry, who probably deserves more opportunities through the year to see him take wickets with the new ball it’s good for the depth.
“I think it is a good one to build from in test cricket.”
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Nick Mulvenney