Bowlers only have to err a fraction with Kane Williamson – Craig McMillan

New Zealand

Kane Williamson quietly scored 107 runs off 125 balls on the third day of the Hamilton Test and, quite characteristically, made little noise when he reached the second double-hundred of his Test career. You can ascribe that to the New Zealand way of keeping things low-profile, but a a team batting performance as gigantic as 715 for 6 perhaps needed a batsman like Williamson, who exudes calm while holding one end as the others accelerate around him.

But don’t be fooled by his demeanor for his effort was as worthy of the highlights packages as the big hits from Colin de Grandhomme or Neil Wagner. Williamson gathered himself in the morning as Wagner rocked the young Bangladesh attack, and then fed de Grandhomme the strike during an unbroken seventh-wicket stand that took New Zealand past 700 runs for the first time in their Test history.

It may have been easy for a batsman of Williamson’s stature to take it easy against a bowling attack sorely lacking bite, but by putting his head down, he made it nearly impossible for the Bangladesh bowlers to do anything significant. The full face of Williamson’s straight bat is a big barrier for any bowler, and when he brings his wrists, footwork and arms into play after he gets set, it spells trouble for the entire opposition attack.

Batting coach Craig McMillan said Williamson doesn’t allow the bowlers a lot of margin for error, mainly because he has a shot for every type of delivery. McMillan said Williamson focused on building partnerships, which helped the others bat around him.

“He is just so good that he goes about his work with minimal fuss,” McMillan said. “But he scores just as quickly as anyone in world cricket. It allows other guys to play like they did today. He plays cricket shots and he is tough to bowl at, because he plays all around the wicket. Bowlers only have to err a fraction with Kane, and he hurts them.

“It takes a lot of hard work behind the scenes. It was sublime today; whenever the Bangladeshi players missed he hurt them. He was very efficient when they offered scoring opportunities. There were partnerships that we spoke about in the batting group. Terrific for Williamson to get 200, but there were other significant contributions as well.”

McMillan said Williamson’s exceptional Test average put him on par him with the likes of Virat Kohli, Joe Root and Steven Smith. “These four players are the best in the world,” McMillan said. “He is deservedly [worth a] mention among those other names. He is averaging 53 in Tests, which is exceptional. We have had no one in New Zealand average 50-plus in Tests before for an extended period of time. We are happy to have him on our side.”

McMillan said having Williamson, Henry Nicholls and Tom Latham among the ICC’s Test Team of the Year, and Trent Boult and Tim Southee among the top ten in the Test bowlers’s rankings showed that the New Zealand team was not just performing well, but doing it over an extended period of time.

“It is very pleasing to be consistent with bat and ball. I think it has shown in where we rank in Test cricket at the moment. I think we have been [a] consistent performer for a number of years. To have three guys in the ICC Test side of the year, was very pleasing. Trent and Tim are among the top ten bowlers. So we have a number of performers in our side, and not reliant on one or two.”

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