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Test abandoned, Proteas win series

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/03/2017 Angelo Risso

The Black Caps' Test series rescue mission against South Africa is over, canned by atrocious day-five conditions at Seddon Park.

Rain has forced umpires Bruce Oxenford and Rod Tucker to call a draw in Hamilton, handing the Proteas a 1-0 victory in the three-Test series.

About 32mm rain has splattered Seddon Park since midnight on Wednesday, with at least another 17mm expected before 6pm, causing Oxenford and Tucker to abandon play at 1:20pm.

The Waikato downpour is made all the more disappointing for the Black Caps by their successful day-four showing, earning a winnable position by notching up a healthy 175-run lead and then limiting a fatigued South Africa to 80-5.

Proteas linchpins Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock remained at the crease at the end of a sunny day four, but the early removal of either batsman on Wednesday would've all but guaranteed a Kiwi victory and a tied series. The pair had snared 15 runs apiece by day-four stumps.

South Africa's miserable second-innings batting performance stood in stark contrast to Kiwi efforts earlier in the day, with Kane Williamson's elegant 176 and a handy Colin de Grandhomme half-century securing the Black Caps a first-innings 489.

South Africa had previously picked up 314 in their rain-delayed first-innings, including a speedy 90 from de Kock. With the Proteas on the ropes, spinner Jeetan Patel admitted on Tuesday that a rained-out Test decider would be a bitter disappointment for his side.

Not only do Patel's Black Caps lose the series on the back of their limp second-Test loss in Wellington, but they also lose their world No.5 Test ranking.

"It'd be cruel, but we said at the start of this Test series that we'd fight as much as we can to get back into this series and we've shown that," Patel said.

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