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Record-breaking Williamson steers New Zealand home

Right-hand batsman’s fifth Test ton of the year consigns Sri Lanka to five-wicket loss in second Test

Record-breaking Williamson steers New Zealand home - Cricket News
Kane Williamson celebrates his century.
Kane Williamson's fifth Test century of the year helped New Zealand sweep its two-Test series against Sri Lanka with a five-wicket win in Hamilton on Monday (December 21). 

Starting the fourth day at 142 for 5 with 47 needed, Williamson and BJ Watling completed the formalities to add to the team's 122-run victory in the first Test in Dunedin. 

Williamson, who was unbeaten on 78 at the end of the third day, brought up his 13th Test century with a boundary through square off Dushmantha Chameera, Sri Lanka's best bowler of the game, and finished on 108 not out. It also took him past Brendon McCullum's New Zealand record of 1,164 Test runs in a calendar year – he ends the year with 1,172 Test runs and has 2,633 runs in all internationals so far, with the one-dayers against Sri Lanka coming up. 

With a remarkable Test average of 90.15 for the year, he took the No. 1 spot in ICC's Test rankings for batsmen.   

Even as he weathered short-pitched bowling to guide New Zealand to the target, Watling (13 not out) put up a strong defence at the other end.

“It wasn't the biggest chase but it seemed some distance away because both teams came up with pretty sound bowling plans on what was a pretty good cricket wicket,” said Williamson after the win. “All the guys like to play [the pull shot] but like any shot, on some surfaces it's important you try to select the right one.”

That New Zealand had a target of only 189 was thanks to a collapse from the visiting Sri Lankans on the third day. Angelo Mathews’ men began with a 55-run lead after Chameera's maiden five-wicket haul had kept the home side to 237 in the first innings, and added 71 to that nearing lunch. Then, what their captain later described as disappointing shot-selection when faced with bouncers from the New Zealand bowlers saw them lose all ten wickets for 62 runs in 13.5 overs, to be bowled out for 133. 

Chameera, who too employed the short ball to good effect in just his fourth Test, allowed Sri Lanka to entertain visions of victory when he dismissed both openers with the score at 11 in New Zealand’s second innings, but Williamson was not to be denied. 

Chameera finished with 4 for 68 in the second innings, including the scalps of Ross Taylor and McCullum, to give him nine wickets for the Test. 

New Zealand has now gone unbeaten in 13 home Tests, overtaking its previous streak of 12, between 1987 and 1991.

The sides next play five One-Day Internationals starting on December 26, followed by two T20 Internationals.

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