REUTERS - Kane Williamson completed his second half-century of the match to take New Zealand to an eight-wicket victory in the third and final test against West Indies and seal the series 2-0 after lunch on the fourth day on Sunday in Hamilton.
Williamson, who had resumed after the break at Seddon Park on 39, quickly moved through to his 12th test half-century by attacking Veerasammy Permaul and Tino Best before he was bowled by Permaul with six runs required for victory.
The hosts finished on 124-2 with Hamish Rutherford unbeaten on 48 and Ross Taylor on two, having hauled in a meagre target of 122.
Taylor, who scored an unbeaten 217 in the series-opener in Dunedin and 129 in Wellington, shone again in New Zealand’s first innings in Hamilton with 131 and was named man of the match.
The 29-year-old right-hander scored 495 runs in five innings, falling just short of Andrew Jones’s New Zealand record of 513 runs in a three-match series. Taylor’s series average was 247.5.
”I guess my mindset was the biggest thing I worked on,“ Taylor said of his success. ”It’s pretty tough to play test cricket when the thing going through your mind is to hit every ball for four.
“I worked on that and it was a very pleasing series for me but to win the series was the main thing.”
New Zealand had not beaten a top-eight nation in a series since they beat West Indies 2-0 in 2006. Until their innings and 73-run victory at the Basin Reserve last week, they had not won a test in more than 12 months.
”It was an outstanding test match and outstanding series,“ New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said. ”We were well led with the bat by Ross who showed he is a world class player and he will go down as one of our all-time greats.
“We have had a pretty tough time of late. We have played some good cricket at home but haven’t got the results ... so it is good to be able to put some results on that is very nice.”
New Zealand’s pace bowlers had set up the small victory target late on Saturday when they destroyed West Indies’ second innings by capturing all 10 wickets in the evening session.
Trent Boult had blown the top off the order before Tim Southee polished off the tail to pick up his 100th test wicket as New Zealand dismissed the tourists shortly before the close for just 103 runs.
Boult finished with 20 wickets for the series at an average of 15.40, while Southee took 18 wickets at 18.11 and are developing into an impressive new ball combination.
“I think some of the fast bowling we have seen from Tim and Trent has been phenomenal this summer,” McCullum added.
”They have been supported by Neil Wagner and Corey Anderson and Ish (Sodhi) is developing nicely too.
It’s an exciting time for us from a bowling point of view and it obviously frees our batters up knowing we have bowlers who can take 20 wickets.”
West Indies captain Darren Sammy was disappointed with the result and felt his side, despite glimpses of their ability, had been outplayed the entire series.
Rain washed out the final session of the first test in Dunedin with New Zealand needing 33 runs to complete victory.
”I think we have been given a lesson in test cricket,“ Sammy said. ”They played really well. They batted and bowled way better than us hence we lost the test series.
“We have not been consistent enough and with test cricket ... you have to be mentally prepared for the battle and we were not.”
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Ian Ransom