Tea New Zealand 477 for 6 (Williamson 236 *, Jamieson 35 *, Gabriel 3-89, Roach 3-114) against West India
Control your game, you control the game. That’s Kane Williamson in a nutshell. Every defining characteristic of his batting – an obsession with playing late, an aversion to blows in the air, the insane ability to never follow a swinging ball – is an effort to put your team in the best possible position to win a friendly and he did just that, while also achieving the third double century of his career.
West Indies could not maintain a consistent line and length at the start of the game on the first day, but they have been able to settle into a good rhythm since their first break in Hamilton. They tested Williamson with a fuller length in line with the stumps. Above all, however, they could always better meet the same spot on the pitch. That’s the key on a green field.
Williamson recognized the danger and adapted accordingly. He put the expansive shots aside. He steeled himself for periods when he wasn’t getting any runs. He was so precise, especially with the deliveries, that he could attack comfortably. When they were full and wide and he could reach the field of the ball, he set off. Unless even then, he wouldn’t let the bat follow away from his body. So he passed 200. If it was short and wide, he would stand tall and smash them on the outside. So he went over 100.
As much as Williamson’s decision-making allowed him to score, his relentless technique protected him from being fired.
Kemar Roach was able to conjure up several dangerous shipments that routinely went well beyond the fold in search of the outside edge. Thanks to his remarkable ability to straighten the ball no matter how steep the right-handed angle, he is a constant threat to the wicket.
Williamson has faced several Jaffas like this one, and although he was hit more than once, he never looked like he was going to run away. It’s not the first time the New Zealand captain has shown such smoothness. For some reason, he seems immune to the very human instinct to follow the ball, especially when it threatens to move too late. If you’re even a halfway decent batsman, you want to feel like a bat on the ball. If you’re a great one, you just know better.
These are really not easy conditions. The amount of grass on the field of play keeps the ball so it will keep swinging and contracting even at 80 overs. Yet Williamson was at monster pace throughout the second session. He shot from 136 out of 294 at the end of the 103rd. to 236 out of 400 at tea. That’s 100 runs with 106 balls, and given this championship, even fate couldn’t help but fall in love with him.
After Williamson released Roach 221 to the borders of Long-On and Midwicket with devastating authority, he was caught by an outswinger. When he left the field, after more than 550 minutes at the crease, the cricket gods decided they wanted more.
You wanted to see more footage like that bold move on the ground just moments ago. The wrist, the balance, the way he stood tall, waiting for the ball to come under his eyes, and the timing of the shot were all pretty intriguing. So they made the one ball that was good enough to turn Williamson’s edge into a no-ball.
The other New Zealanders didn’t deserve the same luck. Shannon Gabriel secured the outer edge of Ross Taylor’s bat in the second half of the day. Roach flashed Henry Nicholls in front of his tree stump. Those two wickets in the first hour of play threatened the notion that West Indies could limit the damage they could cause on day one. Instead, they felt like the bad guys in a Scooby Doo cartoon. « Without that interference from Kane, I would have got away with it. «
New Zealand National Cricket Team, West Indies Cricket Team, Kane Williamson, Test Cricket, Tom Latham
World News – AU – Kane Williamson, Two Hundred Forces, New Zealand
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