New Zealand Test skipper Kane Williamson deserves all the respect in the world for continuing his excellence in the format. A warrior and a run-machine; Kane is touted as one of the key members of the ‘Fab Four’ of world cricket. The group is a special one, and so is Kane!
The Kiwi captain scored an emphatic 18th career Test ton against England and by doing so, he scripted history after becoming his country’s highest ever century-maker in the format.
Kane achieved the illustrious feat on Day 2 of the first Test at Auckland. It was an outstanding achievement by one of the game’s classiest batsman in the modern era. Williamson’s 102 helped his side take a commanding lead against the visitors on a rain-hit day. The Kiwis are 229/4 at end of Day 2 where only 23.1 overs were bowled.
A bulk of his work was done on Thursday, but the moment came during the first session when the player cut a delivery through gully for a single to mark the auspicious achievement. His partner at the other end, Henry Nicholls congratulated him before he removed his helmet and offered a stoic raise of the bat to an applauding crowd.
At start of the day, Williamson was nine runs short of breaking the deadlock between himself, Ross Taylor and the late Martin Crowe as the first Kiwi cricketer to reach 18 test tons.
Highest centurions for NZ in Tests
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) March 23, 2018
As special as Smith and Kohli
The sublimeness, appetite for runs and the characteristics of being a superb captain makes Kane Williamson a rare breed of champions in present-day Test cricket. This sort of aura largely has belonged to Steve Smith and Virat Kohli. Like his Australian and Indian counterparts, Kane Williamson deserves the respect as much as the celebrated duo in Test cricket. There is hardly a line that separates the trio when it comes to the red cherry.
As captain too, Williamson is developing into the same mould as Smith and Kohli and could go on to rule the game for years to come. What is interesting is that all three have played a similar number of Tests and there is a narrow gap in centuries scored.
- Steve Smith: Tests: 64 Hundreds: 23
- Virat Kohli: Tests: 66 Hundreds: 21
- Kane Williamson: Tests: 64 Hundreds: 18
Ahead of Joe Root
Both the 27-year-olds arrived into the day-night Test with stellar 50+ averages in Tests. Williamson has been in consistent form and has got the hundreds under his belt whereas Root hasn’t quite managed that. It was evident in the 2017-18 Ashes, where the English skipper had a major issue of converting starts. He got the fifties but failed to convert them into tons.
Williamson had already played a match-winning innings in the pink ball Test. After Trent Boult’s 6/32, it was the skipper’s ton that has given the side huge impetus. Root, on the other hand, got out early in his side’s total of 58 and also has failed to win any of his last five Tests.
Scoring bulk of Kiwi runs
No player has been as consistent as Williamson in the Kiwi ranks. He has scored at will and runs have flowed from his bat against all oppositions. This gives him the confidence to lead his team well and give them the positive outlook.
If one looks at the ‘Fab Four’ of Smith, Kohli, Root and Williamson, the success to scoring has been the desired work-load they have taken in their shoulders and haven’t shied away from that. One should enjoy the thrill these players have brought in the same period of the game.
An innings of substance
Williamson did not lunge or prod like the England batsmen at Auckland and played with a straight bat and a risk-free mode. He came at the crease at 8/1 and took the challenge head on from there on. He faced 220 deliveries and shared vital partnerships of 84 with Tom Latham, 31 with Ross Taylor and 83 with Nicholls.
He would have liked to bat on and on, but it quite did not happen. By then the damage was done though.