In the first Test of the two-match series between New Zealand and Pakistan at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, the Black Caps captain Kane Williamson once again showed who is the ‘boss’ in the challenging conditions.
The home team were in trouble early on Day 1, after losing both the openers for 13 runs. Pakistan pacer Shaheen Afridi drew the first blood on the third ball of the match when he sent back Tom Latham (4). Afridi carried his momentum and soon dismissed Tom Blundell (5).
Then the experienced pair of Williamson and Ross Taylor took charge and steadied the ship. The duo got to lunch with no further damage and 55 runs on the board. Post the break, Taylor brought up his half-century off 127 balls in the 51st over.
In the next over, Taylor and Williamson brought up the 100-run partnership between them – the 10th time they had reached that milestone together in a decade as teammates. Soon, Williamson also reached his 33rd fifty in the longest format.
While Taylor was cruising towards the triple-figure, Afridi again came for Pakistan’s rescue. The left-armer removed Taylor for a well-made 70.
Williamson kept on tickling the scoreboard and formed another crucial stand of unbeaten 89-runs with Henry Nicholls for the fourth wicket before the umpires declared stumps.
The Black Caps scored 94 runs in the final session of the day and lost only Taylor. At the end of day’s play, the hosts reached 222/3 in 87 overs, with Williamson unbeaten on 94 and Nicholls on 42.
Williamson equals Stephen Fleming’s record
On the opening day of the match, Williamson added another feather to his cap after he equalled the record for most fifty-plus scores in Test cricket for New Zealand. He now stands alongside former New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming.
Not only Willamson, but Taylor also achieved a milestone as he became the most capped player for his country across all three formats of international cricket. Taylor has now represented New Zealand in 438 matches, and with that, he went past Daniel Vettori’s tally of 437 games for New Zealand.
Here is how Twitter reacted:
— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) December 25, 2020
— Bhagya ⛄♪ (@ShreePani45) December 26, 2020
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) December 26, 2020
Captain Kane Williamson leading from the front, unbeaten 94 runs from 243 balls including 8 fours and 1 sixes with New Zealand ends day 1 on 222 for 3 – at one stage they were 13 for 2. Ross Taylor made 70 and Nicholls batting on 42. Shaheen took 3 wickets. #NZvPAK pic.twitter.com/IjfqxwzRAO
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) December 26, 2020
Kane williamson again. This man is brilliant!! #PAKvNZ
— vamsi krishna (@vamsi_anupoju) December 26, 2020
33rd Test fifty for Kane Williamson 🏏
— ICC (@ICC) December 26, 2020
Kane Williamson 🔜 ICC No.1 Test Batsman??
— Akash Oommen Gigi (@akashoommen) December 26, 2020
King Kane Williamson 👑
— Shubham_9818 (@9818_shubham) December 26, 2020
Kane Williamson is in different league.
What a player pic.twitter.com/CPk4AedPFX
— आत्मनिर्भर Senior Inspector DAYA (@sahil_asimsquad) December 26, 2020
Kane Williamson remains not out on 94 after 1st day of play. New Zealand in really strong position with 222/3. Kane is having a dream outing with the bat, his patience, discipline in this innings is fantastic.
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) December 26, 2020
Fielding costing test matches in SENA. How unlucky we are not to have active fielders to help our bowling, How long will we see that drama of frustration for our bowlers? #NZvPAK
— WAZIR🇵🇰 (@156kph) December 26, 2020
Suna hai Misbah bohat acchi pitch read kartay hain!🤷♀️ waisay agar catches pakray jatay tu atleast NZ 222/5 hota! Very poor body language of Pak fielders. Except Shaheen all bowlers are ‘on job training’! https://t.co/lMh2B5a79F
— Aalia Rasheed (@aaliaaaliya) December 26, 2020