Wellington: Kane Williamson faced his toughest day of Test cricket in his young career on Tuesday, staring down a snarling, fire-breathing quartet of South African pace bowlers with their passion up and sensing blood.   

The 21-year-old walked to the wicket with New Zealand on 2-1, needing an impossible 389 to win the third and final Test at the Basin Reserve and square the series, and with the knowledge that captain Ross Taylor would not play any further part in the game after breaking an arm.   

When he left the pitch at stumps, he had ground his way to 102 not out, his second test century, and shared in valuable tail-end partnerships with Kruger van Wyk and Doug Bracewell to snare an unlikely draw.   

"I'm not quite sure that Kane has realised what he has done just yet," New Zealand vice-captain Brendon McCullum told reporters.    

"In terms of New Zealand cricket history, it will go down as one of the more gutsier innings and one of the more gutsy fighting efforts on the last day against this sort of attack.   

"It took a pretty special innings from one person and some supporting acts from others to be able to keep them at bay.   

"There was never a let up in that bowling attack and they continued to come at you and never made it easy... they gave it their best shot but couldn't get past Kane."   

Frustration Levels   

Williamson, sat stoically next to McCullum, said it had been tough, particularly against Dale Steyn, who was in full cry and getting increasingly frustrated that his 145kph missiles were not being rewarded.    

One such delivery broke Williamson's protective box and doubled him over.   

"Yeah without doubt," Williamson said when asked if the situation was the toughest he had faced in any of his 12 test matches to date.   

"Just the situation that we were in, not having a sniff and having to bat out a draw is sometimes an interesting situation to play.   

"It was nice to show some fight take it to the end and compete."   

Williamson, who scored 131 on debut against India in Nov. 2010, felt the intensity and South African's frustration levels increase the longer he stayed at the crease.   

Especially when the fielders kept dropping catches.   

"Yeah at times they were very competitive which is to be expected they want to win the test match obviously," he added when asked if the chatter had increased throughout the day.   

"It comes and goes a little bit as you start getting under way and gathering a little bit of momentum opposition sides don't tend to say as much.   

"I think on a wicket like that it was always going to be tough to take wickets so when chances go down its obviously frustrating."   

Benefit of Doubt   

Aside from the two dropped catches, Williamson was also given a life when television replays were inconclusive as to whether Alviro Petersen had taken a catch at point when he was on seven.   

Petersen was adamant he had taken the catch and South Africa captain Graeme Smith said the entire slips cordon were also sure the opening batsman had got his hands under the ball.   

Williamson, however, stood his ground and waited as third official Billy Doctrove checked television replays.    

Doctrove was unable to determine whether the catch had been taken and gave Williamson the benefit of the doubt.    

"I just wasn't 100 percent sure, so naturally I thought I'd stay and obviously TV would be able to confirm whether it was caught or not," Williamson said.   

"I heard it was very close so I'm sure Alviro thought he caught it too. It's just one of those things isn't it?"   

Smith said the decision was part of the game and his side would live with it. He also praised Williamson for his innings.   

"That decision went against us. But there's no point crying over spilt milk. Kane played well after that.    

"He stood his ground terrifically. We gave him everything. People will talk about the chances he had but that's done, it's part of batting and the sport.    

"We threw a lot at him and he stood his ground. He was very calm. It was a terrific knock in the end."