HAMILTON: Kane Williamson’s excellent century propelled New Zealand ahead of South Africa by stumps on day three of the series-deciding final Test in Hamilton on Monday.
It was the 17th ton by Williamson, equalling Martin Crowe´s New Zealand record, 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 four at stumps in reply to South Africa´s 314.
Williamson was unbeaten on 148 with Mitchell Santner on 13.
New Zealand, battling to square the series which South Africa lead 1-0, took control on the third day after rain delayed the start.
Williamson worked the ball to all parts of the ground including a six off Keshav Maharaj over the bowler´s head.
He followed up with two more off Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel over the square leg boundary — three sixes in one innings from a batsman who only had nine from his previous 60 Tests.
The 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 he picked up ones and twos off the pace attack of Philander, Morkel and Kagiso Rabada.
He batted for 390 minutes and faced 254 balls for his 88 before falling to the Morkel-de Kock combination.