New Zealand vs West Indies: 'One of the best', Kane Williamson cracks career-high Test score
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson hit the highest Test score of his career on Friday with a majestic 251 as the hosts posted an imposing 519 for seven declared on day two of the first Test against the West Indies in Hamilton.
West Indies bowler Kemar Roach said Williamson's innings was one of the best he'd seen as the 30-year-old surpassed his previous record of 242 against Sri Lanka nearly six years ago.
In reply, the injury-hit West Indies were 49 without loss with John Campbell on 22 and Kraigg Brathwaite on 20 after cautiously negotiating the 26 overs to stumps.
After two months playing in the same Indian Premier League team as West Indies skipper Jason Holder, Williamson slipped seamlessly back into the strict demands of the red-ball game at Seddon Park, his home ground.
Thrust into the Test after just five overs, over the next 10 hours and 24 minutes he faced 412 deliveries, caressing the ball to all points as he picked the balls that needed to be played and rarely touched anything else.
Williamson's third double century, which included 34 fours and two sixes, extended his New Zealand record to 22 Test centuries, three more than team-mate Ross Taylor.
"It wasn't really at the forefront of my mind," the master batsman said, when asked about achieving his highest Test score.
"You just want to keep going and try to get yourself and the team in a position of strength, and getting to 240 the job wasn't done."
Roach praised Williamson's "fantastic" innings but said the West Indies remained confident.
"Kane's obviously the main person for them, and kudos to him, it was a fantastic innings, one of the best I've seen," Roach said.
"But, take away Kane's innings and we were in at the other batsmen and didn't let the other batsmen settle as long."
"To survive this evening definitely shows a lot of confidence in the team and we will take more confidence into day three."
The first signs that Williamson was thinking of declaring came when he sharply lifted the scoring rate after passing 200.
His next 51 came off 42 deliveries. In one Roach over he smacked two fours and a six before being given out on 222, caught behind, only to be recalled when replays showed the delivery was a no-ball.
It was Alzarri Joseph who finally removed Williamson when he mistimed a short delivery and was caught at mid-wicket by Roston Chase.
He walked off to a standing ovation and with the West Indies players rushing over to congratulate him.
Three overs later, once Kyle Jamieson reached his half-century, Williamson declared.
The tall Jamieson, with his unbeaten 51, is proving a solid performer in his third Test outing and was the only other batsman to add significantly to the New Zealand total on day two.
Ross Taylor, who was 31 not out overnight, could only contribute seven before he was caught behind by Shamarh Brooks, who took over the gloves from the injured Shane Dowrich.
Henry Nicholls' low-scoring streak continued when he went for seven. Tom Blundell supported Williamson for more than 90 minutes but made only 14, and Daryl Mitchell added nine with Tim Southee not out for 11 at the close.
For the West Indies, Gabriel took three for 89, Kemar Roach took three for 114 and Joseph one for 99.
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