Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls put on 214 for the fourth wicket with Latham achieving his eighth century and Nicholls his fourth. @ Twitter
Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls put on 214 for the fourth wicket with Latham achieving his eighth century and Nicholls his fourth. @ Twitter

Christchurch: Henry Nicholls, who reached a career-best 162 not out along with Tom Latham’s 176 have put New Zealand on the cusp of a crushing win over Sri Lanka at Christchurch. The home side declared their second innings at 585 for four before Sri Lanka were 24 for two at stumps with Dinesh Chandimal on 14 and Kusal Mendis on six.

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Nicholls, who made his debut for Canterbury in the 2011-12 season, the same side Latham earned his maiden first-class cap the previous year, said the discipline his partner showed in the previous Test at the Basin Reserve, inspired him to play a longer innings at the Hagley Oval.

Latham and Nicholls put on 214 for the fourth wicket with Latham achieving his eighth century and Nicholls his fourth.

“It was pretty special to be out there for so long with Tommy. We’re really great mates, we carpool every morning together to the ground, so to be out there and put on however many we did, a couple of hundred, and obviously the way he batted yesterday and continued that on today like he did at the Basin last week gave me a lot of inspiration to try and do the same and put us a team in a position where we’re now in a chance to win the game with a lot of time left,” Nicholls was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz on Friday.

ALSO READ: Tom Latham hundred takes New Zealand’s lead past 400

“You look back at Tommy’s 264 in Wellington, and for him to come out yesterday in the second innings and basically hit reset and do all that hard work again is pretty cool. He’s a very resilient guy and is one of the most hard-working guys I know. To see him have the discipline to do that for another 300 balls in this innings, and to be out there batting with him, was pretty special.”

Nicholls also heaped praise on BlackCaps’ top order batsmen – Jeet Raval, Kane Williamson and Latham – for negotiating the new ball in the second essay.

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“Guys at the top like Tom, Jeet Raval and Kane Williamson batted for long periods of time and made their bowlers – especially the seam bowlers – come back for more spells. We saw the fatigue factor with that later on. It was important for me and Tom to keep things really simple and know that when they do come back, you’re going to get scoring opportunities,” he said.

Only three times in cricket history has the winning side scored more than 400 in the fourth innings, while the current record held by the West Indies is 418 for seven against Australia 15 years ago in Antigua.