Kane Williamson’s majestic fourth Test double, well aided by a brisk half-century from Daryl Mitchell, buried Pakistan under an enormous lead as New Zealand headed to Tea thoroughly in control of the second Test, at the floodlit Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Tuesday. Courtesy the 134-run partnership between the sixth wicket pair, well set up by a record 369-run stand between Williamson (238) and Henry Nicholls (157) earlier, New Zealand’s lead swelled to 302.
It was Mohammad Abbas who found the edge of Nicholls’ bat and got Pakistan the breakthrough they’d been hunting for over three sessions shortly after Lunch but not before the batsman had reached his 150. The record 369-run stand – the third best for New Zealand for any wicket – had put them in the driver’s seat already, but Williamson continued to pile on more runs and records, draining the life out of the Pakistan attack.
The only respite Pakistan had was the frequent rain breaks, allowing them some breathing space to regroup. Shaheen Afridi sent back BJ Watling in the over after play resumed, inducing an edge for the first slip that wasn’t put down unlike earlier in the over when Azhar Ali at gully reprieved the batsman on 3 and allowed him to bring up New Zealand’s 450.
In the hour before another short rain interruption, Daryl Mitchell joined hands with an on-song Williamson to inject some momentum in the innings and put on a quick fifty partnership. The rain left Williamson hanging on 199 but it wasn’t a long delay this time. The New Zealand skipper equalled Brendon McCullum’s record of four double centuries for the country with a single. And another applause followed on 205, when he had recorded the highest Test score against Pakistan for any New Zealand player.
Abbas and Afridi, meanwhile, went back to the short ball ploy but Mitchell pulled those away authoritatively to quickly move into the 40s. He got to his second Test fifty off just 71 balls, dominating the century stand with Williamson that came off just 133 balls. Together the pair added 133 runs in less than 26 overs before Pakistan could find a reason to celebrate again.
Williamson upped the ante as he fetched three boundaries off a Faheem Arshaf over but the bowler eventually had the last laugh. Trying to ramp a short ball over the ropes, Williamson sent one straight into the hands of the third man fielder that brought curtains on his stellar knock on 238. The New Zealand captain walked off amidst a rousing standing ovation and applause from the opponents, having batted for over eight hours. The rain-marred, extended session saw New Zealand scoring at just under five an over to add 199 runs to their total.
To Pakistan, it was only an extension of a milestone-filled morning session where the Williamson-Nicholls pair kept wicketless yet again. Nicholls moved into his 90s with the first runs of the morning after Pakistan opened with three maidens on the trot. Williamson deservingly helped the home team march into the lead in the expensive Afridi over before Mohammad Abbas was left frustrated yet again as Azhar Ali shelled a regulation chance at gully to reprieve Nicholls once again, this time on 92.
The duo then kept ticking off the milestones, adding to Pakistan’s frustration. Nicholls raised his seventh Test century with a beautiful drive through the covers off Abbas in his following over. At 272 runs, the pair had recorded the best fourth wicket partnership ever for New Zealand, and at 293, it was the best partnership in any Test at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch. Upon adding 11 runs to his overnight score of 112, Williamson ticked off another milestone in his illustrated career as he became only the third New Zealand batsman to climb the 7000-run peak in Test cricket.
Nicholls, batting with a calf niggle, stepped on the accelerator right after reaching triple figures. He took a liking to the directionless bowling of Naseem Shah and Faheem Ashraf with a flurry of boundaries to quickly catch up with his skipper and take New Zealand past 350 in their first innings. Williamson raised the 300 of their partnership, extending their domination over Pakistan bowlers, shortly before reaching his 150.
New Zealand (Kane Williamson 238, Henry Nicholls 157, Daryl Mitchell 69*; Faheem Ashraf 2-106) lead Pakistan 297, by 302 runs.