WELLINGTON: Kane Williamson was officially and unofficially New Zealand’s best batsman on the fourth day of the second test Monday as his 26th test century allowed New Zealand to lead England by 257 runs after following on.
Tom Blundell made 90 and was the last man out as New Zealand’s second innings ended at 483 less than an hour before stumps.
Under New Zealand-born head coach Brendon McCullum, England already has pulled off its highest successful run chase in tests, scoring 378 to beat India at Edgbaston last year. This chase for 258 with more than 100 overs available would seem a walk in the park by comparison.
Tim Southee removed Zac Crawley (24) with a ball that cut back to hit off peg and at stumps England was 48-1, needing 210 from 103 overs on the last day to sweep the two-match series.
The odds still heavily favor the visitors but Williamson at least has given New Zealand hope.
When he reached 29 on his way to 132, he became New Zealand’s highest run-scorer in tests, overtaking his former teammate Ross Taylor, who ended his career last year with 7,682 runs.
And in batting for all of the fourth day, in productive partnerships with Henry Nicholls, Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell, Williamson guided New Zealand from a 226 run deficit when England enforced the follow-on Sunday to a respectable lead.