Kane Williamson cashes in again with century
It's easy to forget that Kane Williamson is only 23 as he thunders towards various batting records and makes watching test cricket an education.
New Zealand's batting machine has toiled away comfortably in the shadow of Ross Taylor this summer but yesterday he emerged as the top-order saviour against India at Eden Park. His fifth test century guided New Zealand out of trouble on a tricky morning, a composed innings as good as you'd see on day one of a test with the ball seaming about.
Williamson might not have racked up big scores this summer but he's been New Zealand's banker. He knows his game inside out, plays the ball late and uses his feet with confidence.
The numbers are compelling; five successive half-centuries in the ODI series, and in tests, stretching back to Bangladesh in October, he's hit 522 runs at 74.57, with 45 his lowest score.
In 15 test and ODI innings this season he's plundered 954 runs, not that he'd accept the invitation to declare himself in career-best form.
"There's always things you want to be working on. You don't look too far ahead and label things too much," he said after crafting 113 in 252 minutes.
"I haven't changed too much but I'm always learning. For me staying relaxed is quite important. If you're calm you make better decisions, that's something I'm working on and will continue to do so."
Williamson turns 24 in August. His five test centuries before reaching his 24th birthday is the same tally as Martin Crowe, marvelling yesterday from the radio commentary box. The great Don Bradman managed a mind-boggling 12 tons by that stage.
Williamson's only blemish was on 32 when Murali Vijay dropped a regulation slips catch off Mohammed Shami. Williamson was happy to ride his luck and argued that his eventual dismissal, strangled down the leg side, was one of the worst ways to go.
He felt all the Indian pacemen had their moments and wouldn't pick out one as the toughest, but agreed they overdid the short ball. As New Zealand resume on 329-4, Williamson said the hosts were eyeing as many runs as possible rather than any particular total.