Kane Williamson brought up his sixth Test century © Getty Images (File photo)
Jun 9, 2014
Kane Williamson and Tom Latham‘s patient and well constructed knocks put New Zealand in command against West Indies at the end of Day One of the first Test in Kingston, Jamaica. On a rather difficult batting wicket, the duo piled 165 for the second wicket and the hosts were looking good to post a big total going into the second day’s play. Ross Taylor was looking dangerous too and showed good intent in the final session of the day’s play.
The match started off with a small ceremony for Chris Gayle, who reached a landmark 100 Tests and grabbed all the headlines going into the series. Comeback man Jerome Taylor gave the hosts the perfect start by ending opener Peter Fulton’s painstaking stay at the crease in the early overs.
The runs were hard to come by and Taylor was relentless with his impeccable line and length. Latham and Williamson laboured along during this phase and crawled to 62 for one by lunch.The Kiwi batsmen had a plan and executed it with a veteran’s perfection. On a dead wicket the bowlers lacked penetration and were frustrated by Latham and Williamson’s stubborn resistance at the crease. The second session witnessed a much more positive intent — from Williamson in particular. The strike was also being rotated at will and the scoreboard kept ticking.
Latham, the 22-year old southpaw had only played a solitary Test before the start of the match. For this knock he owes a lot of gratitude to the TV replays , which played a significant part in extending his stay at the crease. First, he was caught by Marlon Samuels off the impressive Taylor. The replays, though, suggested that the bowler had overstepped. He also had a bat-pad catch overturned after a review and the opener made full use of the opportunity. Patience played a very big part and Latham’s inclusion over Hamish Rutherford was justified after all. Williamson looked far more comfortable and the bad balls were soon a dominating feature in the West Indies bowling attack.
On a pitch that was supposed to offer turn, the spinners Shane Shillingford and Suliemann Benn were ineffective and toothless. The batsmen were hardly threatened and the lack of match practice of the spinning duo probably played a part. The batsmen ruled the crease beyond Tea and each of them were looking set to score hundreds. Just then, Shillingford struck for the hosts and it was a rather tame dismissal. Latham tried to work the tweaker on the leg-side and the ball took the toe edge of the bat to hand the bowler a simple return catch. 165 runs were amassed by the young duo for the second wicket.
Ross Taylor came in and just like each of the batsmen before him, made an ultra-cautious start. Soon, the prolific middle-order batsman who scored three back-to-back hundreds against the same opposition at home cut loose and struck a flurry of boundaries off Kemar Roach. Williamson was stuck on 93 for a whopping 33 balls but he broke the shackles to slam two consecutive boundaries off Benn to bring up his sixth Test century in the penultimate over of the day’s play.
New Zealand 240 for 2 (Tom Latham 83, Kane Williamson 105*, Ross Taylor 34*; Jerome Taylor 1 for 22) vs West Indies
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(R Vishal is a journalist and alumnus of Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)