Associated Press

Black Caps in full control on day 2 with another Williamson ton

Sat, Mar 18

In-form Kane Williamson and out-of-form Henry Nicholls put on 186 in an unbroken third-wicket partnership which lifted New Zealand to 304-2 at lunch today on the second day of the second cricket Test against Sri Lanka.

Williamson followed his unbeaten match-winning century in the second innings of the first test, the 27th century of his career, with his 28th and was 113 not out at the break. At 91, Williamson passed 8,000 runs in tests.

Nicholls has gone 10 tests since he last passed 50. At lunch he was 72 and was playing a crucial role in support of Williamson.

New Zealand added 149 from 34 overs in the first session.

Williamson and Nicholls were able to negotiate the latter part of a first day on which only 48 overs were bowled because of rain and bad light.

New Zealand was 155-2, Williamson was 26 and Nicholls was 18 when play resumed this morning in bright, sunny conditions. By the time drinks were taken in an extended first session, New Zealand was 224-2 and had added 72 runs in 75 minutes.

Williamson drove the innings, reaching his half century from 106 balls in 142 minutes. He reached his century from 171 balls in 231 minutes with a cover-driven four off Dhananjaya de Silva.

Kane Williamson celebrates after scoring a century against Sri Lanka in the first innings of the second Test.

His second 50 had come from 65 balls in 89 minutes as he scored freely on a Basin Reserve pitch which was becoming better for batting as it hardened in the sunshine.

On the first day, the pitch was green and soft. The pace was slow and there was little bounce. Sri Lanka’s bowlers toiled throughout the day in a strong breeze and with none of the help from the pitch they had expected when they won the toss and bowled.

Nicholls gave a chance before stumps on the first day but none in the first session this morning. His batting was solid, studied and he looked increasingly comfortable. His half century from 79 balls in 145 minutes.

The Sri Lanka bowlers needed to find a fuller length on the first day and at the start of the second. Their mixed lengths allowed Williamson to drive and pull. His century included 10 fours and two sixes.

Nicholls noodled the ball around for runs, often working deliveries into the leg side. His half century contained only five fours.

After the loss of overs on the first day, New Zealand now has an extended second day on which to set up the test, fortifying its position.

Sri Lanka took the second new ball just before lunch, hoping the hard seam might help them level the contest with the New Zealand batters who were scoring a 3.8 runs an over after 80 overs.

New Zealand has won its last two tests in thrilling finishes, by one run over England at the Basin Reserve and by two wickets off the final ball against Sri Lanka in the first test at Christchurch.


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