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Williamson ton gives New Zealand control

A 165-run second-wicket stand with Latham dampens moods in Chris Gayle’s 100th Test

Williamson ton gives New Zealand control - Cricket News
Kane Williamson plays a shot.

An unbeaten 105 from Kane Williamson, his sixth Test hundred, and a battling 83 by Tom Latham put New Zealand in command at 240 for 2 on the first day of the first Test against the West Indies on Sunday (June 8).

Opting to bat on a pitch devoid of grass at Sabina Park in Kingston, Williamson added 165 runs for the second wicket with Latham, and will resume on Monday with Ross Taylor accompanying him on 34.

Pacer Jerome Taylor, making a comeback after a five year absence due to a series of injuries, dismissed Peter Fulton in the ninth over of the day, caught behind by Denesh Ramdin for just 1. He, however, could have added the scalp of Latham in the first over after lunch, when the batsman edged a drive to gully, but television replays suggested that the bowler had delivered a no-ball.

Latham continued to ride on his luck, this time surviving a referral by the West Indies to overturn a not-out verdict on a leg-before appeal, and was then successful in reversing a bat-pad catch ruling, off Sulieman Benn, in his favour. He, however, missed out on a maiden Test hundred in just his second match after offspinner Shane Shillingford completed a simple caught-and-bowled dismissal in the final session of the day.

With New Zealand in firm control of the match, any hope of another breakthrough were dashed by Williamson and Taylor. They took a particular liking to the second new ball and, at one point, slashed three boundaries off a Kemar Roach over. Williamson, rewarded for his patience, smashed two boundaries in the 90th over of the day off Benn, to reach his century, facing 258 deliveries in 270 minutes at the crease.

The third-wicket stand between Taylor and Williamson yielded 66 runs before stumps were drawn. With a wealth of batting to follow, there is every prospect of New Zealand pushing on to a formidable first-innings total on the second day. In contrast to what panned out on the field, West Indies started the day in a celebratory mood, with a small ceremony to mark the 100th Test for Chris Gayle, who was handed a memento by Sir Richie Richardson.

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