Having led from the front with a patient 129 that helped New Zealand finish with a sizable total, skipper Kane Williamson was pleased with the application shown by his batsmen in the ongoing first Test against Pakistan in Mount Maunganui. New Zealand finished with a total of 431 but it took them 155 overs to reach there, with their scoring rate of 2.78 being their slowest in the first innings of a home Test in the last 10 years.
Admitting that it wasn’t the easiest of conditions for batting, Williamson said the focus was to spend as much time as possible at the crease. “It was really tough. Obviously, the ball was moving around quite a bit and they asked good questions in good areas. It was also quite difficult to score and to get a rhythm scoring – a lot of the partnerships we built were more around time than a flow of runs.
“That was just the nature of the conditions and it’s what you expect when you get put into bat – you expect the wicket to offer a bit for the bowlers, and it did. It was nice that we had a few things go our way and our guys applied themselves really well against a Pakistan attack that bowled really beautifully and were disciplined and were perhaps a bit unlucky.”
With catches going down and having also missed the opportunity to take a review that would have sent Williamson back on 86 on Day 1, the rub of the green hasn’t quite gone Pakistan’s way in this Test. However, the century partnership between Williamson and Henry Nicholls which came to an end when the latter was out attempting to pull a short delivery, was a fortuitous dismissal for Pakistan. Replays revealed that the ball had come off the forearm, with Nicholls deciding against reviewing it.
Speaking about the dismissal and the discussion between the two batsmen at that stage, Williamson said: “It was very difficult to see from my end, there were a couple of contacts on both arms, and he was fairly confident that it hit the thumb, which, I guess, when you look at the replay, is surprising, because it was some distance away, but it is one of those things, when it makes contact and it happens so quickly, it is tough. When you see it when you walk off it’s a bit of a shame, but one each, I guess.”
Patience has been the hallmark of this Test and Williamson wants that to also continue with the ball when they resume on Day 3, with Pakistan at 30 for 1. “We know we’re going to have to put in a big effort with the ball in hand and be really patient to get those rewards. There were some good signs tonight and hopefully the cracks are starting to open.”