Taylor and Williamson hit centuries as Black Caps reach 328-5
Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson hit aggressive centuries as New Zealand racked up 328-5 in the third and final one-day international against Zimbabwe at Queens Sports Club on Tuesday, putting the Black Caps on course for a 3-0 series sweep.
Skipper Taylor (119) and Williamson (100 not out) rescued New Zealand from a precarious position after it had slipped to 41-3 in 7.1 overs.
The pair shared a 195-run fifth wicket partnership, punishing Zimbabwe’s loose bowling that fell away after an improved fielding performance by the hosts early on.
Taylor was bowled by seamer Njabulo Ncube in the last over, but Williamson scrambled to his century off just 69 balls by forcing three runs off the last delivery of the innings — which was re-bowled after a no-ball, giving Williamson a chance at his century.
Williamson lofted a shot over mid-off and toward the boundary, ran three and slid in at the non-striker’s end to just make his ground.
Ncube was Zimbabwe’s best bowler on his debut with 3-69, but Zimbabwe wasted three early strikes as Taylor and Jesse Ryder (53), rebuilt with an 83-run stand before Taylor and Williamson took the game away from the Zimbabweans.
Zimbabwe has lost its last seven one-day internationals and faces a stern batting test to avoid a series whitewash. New Zealand also won the two Twenty20 games. The teams will play a one-off test in Bulawayo starting Nov. 1.
Malcolm Waller’s direct hit ran out BJ Watling for a duck in the first over, Rob Nicol was dismissed by Ncube for his first international wicket and Brendon McCullum also fell to Ncube early to put New Zealand in trouble.
But Taylor found form for the first time on the tour, hammering nine fours and three sixes in his 126-ball innings.
Williamson scored even more freely with 11 fours and a six, and his desperate running right at the end saw him scrape through to three figures for just the second time in ODIs.
Ncube’s eventful bowling debut was ended when he was taken out of the attack on the last delivery of the innings — two deliveries after he dismissed Taylor — for a second no-ball above waist height.
Elton Chigumbura bowled the extra ball and was lofted over the infield for Williamson’s century-clinching runs.