Kane Williamson’s brilliant 139 in a remarkable unbroken 212-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Henry Nicholls was a “special innings” in tough conditions, Craig McMillan, the New Zealand batting coach, has said.
The duo’s efforts – with Nicholls batting on 90 – on the fourth day of the deciding Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, 6 December, gave the visitors a 198-run lead.
This rescue act after they were down to 60/4 in their second innings, and on a day when Yasir Shah and Bilal Asif were looking threatening, came in for much praise.
This Kane Williamson fella is prettty bloody good for a kiwi!— Brendon McCullum (@Bazmccullum) December 6, 2018
“That was a very difficult innings,” said McMillan. "The great thing about Kane is that he makes it look easy at times. Those who have been out there realise how difficult it is [to bat on this pitch], but such is the class of the man that at times he makes batting look ridiculously easy.”
The series is locked at 1-1, and while all results are still possible, with the match being played on the same ground as the first Test, where New Zealand had defended 176 for a thrilling four-run triumph, they will know they’ve given themselves a good chance at a favourable result.
A super second session of batting (87-0) has us on top in the decider!— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) December 6, 2018
Williamson 👉 19th Test ton & Nicholls is playing his part on 54*. Partnership 👉 139, lead of 125 #PAKvNZ pic.twitter.com/ZcDiNwhEt9
"It's a very special innings and hopefully it can propel us on to a Test victory tomorrow, which would make it more special," said McMillan.
The batting coach also had praise for Nicholls, who has a third Test hundred in his sights. "He showed some wisdom beyond his years," he said. "He's a new guy still finding his way to Test cricket in that middle order, but the maturity and calmness he showed along with Kane was great for the team."
The tourists will resume on 272/4.
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