Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 21
New Zealand great Martin Crowe had described Kane Williamson as “one of our greatest ever batsmen”. In one of his columns, the legendary batsman wrote: “Batting suited Kane from the minute he picked up his first bat; he has the perfect height, balance, fast-twitch muscles, electric feet and inquisitive mind”. Brendon McCullum, another New Zealand great, referred to Williamson as “The King”.
In his book Cricket with Kane Williamson – a guide to batting, bowling, fielding and captaincy, Williamson wrote: “I love batting. Nothing gives me a bigger buzz than taking on the best bowlers in the world. I’m a big believer in the idea that cricket is a team sport but there’s that moment, just as the bowler delivers the ball, when it’s a pure one-on-one contest”.
In the Test series against India, Williamson, however, failed to live up to the expectations, and the Kiwis were whitewashed 3-0. There was only one innings of substance from Williamson – a 75 in the first innings of the Kanpur Test. After disappointing in Tests, the Kiwi skipper started off on a poor note in the ODIs as well – he scored just three runs in the first ODI at Dharamsala.
A big knock had become overdue. And it finally came in the second ODI, in New Delhi. He not only became the first New Zealander to score a century on this tour, but also helped the Black Caps snap their losing streak stretching over a month. Williamson’s resolute 118 stood out in the match where no other batsman from either side could cross the 50-run mark. Initially, the Kiwi skipper focused on rotating the strike, and picking up occasional boundaries. But once he got his eye in, he dominated the Indian bowlers. He lifted left-arm spinner Axar Patel for two fours and a six over mid-on in a single over; he scored most of his runs between backward square leg and wide mid-on.
He batted through pain in both his forearms, but remained strong in the mind. He soldiered on until the 43rd over when leg-spinner Amit Mishra ended his 128-ball vigil. In the process, he set quite a few records. It took him six years since making his debut to record his first century against India (overall eighth), surpassing his previous best of 88. This is the highest score by a NZ captain against India, breaking Glenn Turner’s 41-year-old record of 114 runs in June 1975.
“Winning is better than losing, that’s for sure,” Williamson said without reading too much into his hundred. “We wanted to improve. It’s great we showed some signs of improvement from the previous game,” he added.
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