Tom Latham was rock solid at the crease and is well poised for a century © Getty Images
Jun 8, 2014
Tom Latham and Kane Williamson‘s patience reaped rich dividends for New Zealand as a mammoth partnership of 155 made the West Indies bowlers toil in the sweltering heat of Jamaica on Day One of the first Test. The Kiwis were comfortably placed at 164 for one at Tea with Peter Fulton being the only casualty for the visitors when comeback man Jerome Taylor struck in the early exchanges of the day’s play.
On slow and low wicket, the visitors lost the early wicket of Fulton and the nagging line of the West Indian pacers had left Latham and Williamson on the backfoot. The batsmen put a stubborn resistance despite labouring for runs in the early part of the first session. After crawling along till lunch, the batsmen looked more at ease after lunch and a positive intent was evident in the duo’s approach at the crease.
They ran singles whenever they could and bided their time for the bad deliveries, which did arrive at a certain phase. With spin being West Indies’s trump card, Shane Shillingford and the towering Suliemann Benn were blunted at will which possibly signifies a will to climb up the rankings after Bangladesh had humiliated them twice in One-Day Internationals (ODI) in recent times.
With Latham dropping anchor and frustrating the bowlers at one end, Williamson went on the attack with some crisp stroke-making that saw him get to his maiden hundred against India earlier in the year. Shortly after lunch, a flurry of landmarks were reached. First, it was Williamson getting to 2000 Test runs. He beat former captain Martin Crowe to become the youngest batsman from his country to do so. Latham brought up his half-century and soon enough, Williamson got a chance to raise his bat too.
After being banished for bowling with an alleged suspect action, Shillingford was unable to make an impact and the New Zealand duo were on top of him straight away. The frustration was evident on the bowlers.
New Zealand 164 for 1 (Tom Latham 75*, Kane Williamson 79*; Jerome Taylor 1 for 13) 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)