New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson’s knack of racking up daddy hundreds in the company of Henry Nicholls was again on display on Tuesday (January 5). The Kiwis look set to inflict an innings defeat on Pakistan in the second and final Test at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch.
Pakistan had to see out 11 overs, but they lost Shan Masood (0 off 25) before Abid Ali (7* off 27) and nightwatchman Mohammad Abbas (1* off 14) helped the tourists reach 8 for 1 at the close of play. They still trail New Zealand by a whopping 354 runs.
Resuming on 286 for 3, New Zealand looked like a team who are on a five-match winning spree. Milestones started tumbling from the sixth over of the day as the Kane Williamson-led side first overhauled Pakistan’s total of 297 before Henry Nicholls smashed a cover drive to bring up his seventh Test ton.
Kane Williamson then became the quickest (144 innings) Kiwi to score 7000 runs in Test cricket, and reached the milestone faster than even Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting and AB de Villiers.
The hosts took a particular liking to Pakistani speedster Naseem Shah as he bore the brunt of their onslaught, conceding 5.4 runs an over throughout the 158.5 overs the tourists had to be on the field.
But the 17-year-old was involved in breaking the 369-run alliance. Nicholls hooked Mohammad Abbas (2 for 98), but got a top-edge which Shah comfortably grabbed at fine-leg.
One wicket brought another as Shaheen Afridi (2 for 101) accounted for the normally-gritty BJ Watling (7 off 18) after just four overs. The wicketkeeper-batsman’s eyes lit up upon seeing a full ball outside off stump as went for a drive but got a thick outside edge through to Haris Sohail in the slip cordon.
Daryl Mitchell-Kane Williamson counterattack rocks Pakistan
While Pakistan stand-in skipper Mohammad Rizwan would have wanted his bowlers to put pressure on the new batsman, all-rounder Daryl Mitchell and Kane Williamson ensured New Zealand wrested the momentum on priority basis.
Kane Williamson’s marathon innings was undoubtedly a symbol of tenacity, but it also epitomised grit and patience. There were two brief rain interruptions with Williamson on 177 and 199, but the 30-year-old showed nerves of steel to eventually reach his fourth Test double hundred, his second in four matches.
The newly-built lights of the Hagley Oval were turned on for the first time, but what actually lit up the occasion was Daryl Mitchell’s counterattack.
Both he and Kane Williamson put on 133 runs off just 160 balls for the sixth wicket before the New Zealand captain perished to Faheem Ashraf (2 for 106) for 238 – highest score by a Kiwi player against Pakistan.
There was still no stopping Daryl Mitchell as the 29-year-old had an attacking Kyle Jamieson in company. While Mitchell (102* off 112) brought up his maiden Test hundred at a strike-rate of 91.07, Jamieson played a cameo off 30* off 22 balls to power New Zealand to 659 for 6 declared.
Pakistan’s second innings maintained the trend as Shan Masood’s lean patch continued. The southpaw registered a pair after giving Tim Southee a simple catch at second slip off Kyle Jamieson, who seems to be carrying on from his five-for in the first innings.
The Test is firmly in New Zealand’s favour. But can the Pakistani batsmen seek inspiration from Kane Williamson and make the Kiwi bowlers toil hard, if not manage to hunt down the remaining 354 runs?
Everything is expected to unfold on Day 4 tomorrow.
Published 05 Jan 2021, 12:52 IST