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Kane Williamson: Focused, compact, constant & first batter with 8000+ Test runs for New Zealand

Kane Williamson: Focused, compact, constant & first batter with 8000+ Test runs for New Zealand. Kane Williamson smashed 28th Test ton and overall 17,000 runs in International Cricket.

Kane Williamson gets player of the series in New Zealand vs Sri Lanka Test series_ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©Blackcaps_Twitter)
Williamson gets player of the series in NZ vs Sri Lanka (Images: ©Blackcaps/Twitter)

Flicking the tossed up delivery from Dhananjaya de Silva towards deep mid-wicket region for a boundary as the fielder sprinting across near the fence failed to stop the ball, Kane Williamson celebrated his sixth double century in Test cricket, more than any other player for the Blackcaps. He also now has equaled Sachin Tendulkar in the number of Test double centuries, staying only behind six players in the overall list.

It was a gentle celebration from Williamson, just like he has been doing for all these years - took his helmet off, raised his bat towards his teammates and fans at the Basin Reserve in Wellington before hand-shaking with his partner, Henry Nicholls at that moment; the process of staying long at the crease besides scoring those runs began again.

In the modern era, when players who are part of the shortest format of the game, have a mindset of going after every delivery, Williamson staying firm with his own process, judges the condition of the track and the situation of the game and plays according to it; he is not a one dimensional player but someone who has all the shots to take himself to success from all situations.

Williamson becomes first New Zealand player to score 8,000 Test runs

Kane Williamson also became the first player from New Zealand to complete 8,000 Test runs during the second Test of the ongoing two-match Test series against Sri Lanka. Currently, he has 8124 runs in 94 games at an average of 54.89 and strike rate of 51.47 with 33 fifties and 28 centuries. Williamson’s current batting average of 54.89 is the fifth-highest among 35 batters with 8000-plus runs in Test cricket, just behind Steven Smith, Garfield Sobers, Kumar Sangakkara and Jacques Kallis.

































Williamson has now piled up 41 hundreds across formats in international cricket, the most by any player for New Zealand. He surpassed Ross Taylor’s tally of 40 centuries with his innings of 215 in Wellington. The former New Zealand captain has taken 402 innings to reach this feat.

Five Test double-centuries for Williamson at home has put him in the same order with Ricky Ponting. He is now behind only Don Bradman (7), Virat Kohli (6) and Kumar Sangakkara (6).

Kane Williamson scored 28th test ton and completes 8000 runs in Test _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©Blackcaps_Twitter)
Williamson scored 28th test ton and completes 8000 runs in Test (Images: ©Blackcaps/Twitter)

No one better than cool Williamson to soak up immense pressure

What Kane Williamson displayed in the first Test of the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch was nothing short of sheer brilliance. A look at that innings will fuel why he has marked himself amongst the greats.

Williamson was scrambling, rushing towards the bowling end; he dived and made all efforts to reach the other end before the bowler Asitha Fernando threw the ball onto the stumps. That was the fifth day of the game as Williamson showed the veins of both a defensive and an aggressive player in a span of just five hours.

With almost five hours of intense rain, the game was curtailed as the home side was asked to chase 257 runs in 53 overs. After a shaky beginning, slowly both the batters - Williamson and Tom Latham - started to score runs quickly before the latter was dismissed; the other upcoming batters were always on an aggressive mode from the very first delivery. But on one end, Kane Williamson was in his own zone. He notched up his 50 in 120 deliveries before putting his feet on the accelerator.

At one point, the equation came down to New Zealand requiring 131 runs in 20 overs. The change of gear was done beautifully as Williamson pulled Lahiru Kumara for a beautiful six before cracking Fernando for a boundary through extra cover. He was getting full support from Daryl Mitchell who supported with his 86-ball 81 run knock. Soon, after his dismissal, Williamson recorded his 27th Test century as his last 50 runs arrived in 57 balls; if he wasn’t earning the boundaries, he was always proactive in taking singles and doubles.

The last over finally began as New Zealand required seven runs in the last over; the first couple of deliveries were singles before Matt Henry was found short of his crease on the third ball. With zero field protection rule, Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne put all the fielders on the boundary. Still, Williamson reaching for the full ball curved it through point as both the fielders in the deep remained mere spectators in front of Williamson’s class. The very next ball was a dot.

With one required on the last delivery of the Test match, on a pitch that was still offering pace and bounce even with the 70-over old ball under lights, Fernando went for a short ball. Williamson looking to hook it, missed it before running towards the other end; an injured Neil Wagner was almost half way on the pitch as New Zealand finished the thrilling game with a two-wicket victory.

Williamson’s unbeaten 121 runs in 194 balls with the help of 11 boundaries and one six was his second successive second innings century. On a perfect day, before the cheerful crowd, Williamson displayed his cool but aggressive nature with a mission of achieving extraordinary targets.

If this isn’t enough, then let’s take a look at few of the innings that showed Williamson’s different characters.

Gritty but different colours of Williamson from Southampton to Abu Dhabi

It’s quite a tough job to extract just a few occasions from what has been a long and bright Test career but two of his knocks - 49 in 177 deliveries against India during the World Test Championship (WTC) 2019-21 final and the other one of 139 runs in 283 balls against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi in 2018 - perhaps showed his strong performances against different attacks.

The India attack was perhaps one of the best of that WTC cycle and all of them were getting full help from the freezing cold atmosphere in Southampton under those grey skies; there was swing, seam and enough bounce to keep on asking questions to the batters. Williamson after the fall of few quick wickets decided to make those bowlers tired but it took enough skills to tackle the India pacers. At one point, he was on 15 in 103 balls; he shut down almost all the drives which could find the edge of his blade. With New Zealand losing wickets from the other end, the price of Williamson’s knock was rising by leaps and bounds. He defended, defended and defended before smashing the balls that was bowled in his strong zone. His boundary in the deep cover region gifted New Zealand a valuable lead. He finally was dismissed on 49 in 177 balls with six boundaries at a strike rate of 27.68. New Zealand eventually won the WTC 2019-21 Final.

If the earlier one was about his capability against swing and seam, Williamson showed his expertise against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. After two high-scoring innings, the pitch started to show its colour as New Zealand found itself at 60/4. Williamson made batting look ridiculously easy with his extraordinary transfer of weight laced with impeccable judgment of length.

Amidst nervy moments, Williamson came back stronger than before, underscoring his resilience. On a personal score of 80, after getting a life, Williamson jumped down the wicket and dispatched the full ball to the mid-wicket fence four a boundary before celebrating a tremendous century.

“The great thing about Kane is that he makes it look easy at times,” Craig McMillan, the New Zealand batting coach of that time expressed. “Those who have been out there realise how difficult it is, but such is the class of the man that at times he makes batting look ridiculously easy.”

Williamson notched up 139 runs in 283 balls with the help of 13 boundaries at a strike rate of 49.12, and New Zealand won by 123 runs.

What makes Williamson special is his supreme power of understanding the importance of the moments of the game. No one will find him angry with any of his own teammate or opponent or umpire, nor one found him frustrated with whatever happened during the final of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 at Lord’s. He handled the situation with familiar patience and dignity, keeping his cool about him and insists, “It’s not just about one extra run, and there were many moments that could’ve gone either way; at the end of that, you got to enjoy what you do.”

And moreover, Kane Williamson with all these kind-hearted moments remains one of the constants for New Zealand cricket.

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