Hitting expert, Kane Williamson, added to his canon this morning as he passed 100 for the 23rd time in tests.
He now has four centuries more than the next best Ross Taylor, who scored 70 on the first day of this test. The late Martin Crowe has 17 while Brendon McCullum and John Wright complete the top five with 12 each.
The New Zealand captain started the day in the 94th minute and it took 25 minutes to score his first goal, a scuffed leg pull for twice.
He went to the three figures with tick marks driving through the cover of Naseem Shah.
His century brought him 261 balls, very slow by his standards, but very necessary.
Henry Nicholls, who recently got his highest test score in the second test against the West Indies, was with him in the 52nd fold, the 10th half-century test which he plans to convert to the seventh tonne test.
The pair put up 106 for the fourth goal and New Zealand is well placed at 239-3.
It was Williamson’s first test round and first century as a father, with wife Sarah giving birth earlier this month, an event which saw him miss his second test against the West Indies.
This is the second time he has scored in back-to-back innings in centuries.
The only other time he did was when he scored 242 not against Sri Lanka in the Reserve Basin in January 2015, then backed him up with 132 high-class at Lord’s in May of that year.
In many ways, this reflects the 22nd century where he hit the stump on the first day in one shot of a milestone after spending most of the day in attrition battles with bowlers.
If anything, the struggle here was greater than that against the West Indies in Hamilton. Although the field conditions are not favorable enough for a bowler like at Seddon Park, here the attack led by 20-year-old leftist Shaheen Shah Afridi is more skilled and relentless.
“It’s just Kane, right? He’s fighting really well. It’s great to play with him and get through that early stage,” said Taylor when asked to analyze Williamson’s performance on the first day.
“He fought all day, apart from three balls. His temperament, timing, obviously you need a little bit of luck here and there but I think he fights really well.”
Williamson left playing legends Wally Hammond, Colin Cowdrey, Geoff Boycott, Ian Bell, AB de Villiers and Mohammad Azharuddin behind on the 22nd and joined a select group that included Javed Miandad, Justin Langer, Kevin Pietersen and Virender Sehwag.
The difference is that all these players have reached 100 tests. This is Williamson’s 82nd.
Only 26 players in cricket’s 143-year trial history have scored three more than Williamson.
He’s scored 16.2 percent a century from the time he came into the fold, good enough for a 13th best. Of the current players, only Steve Smith (19.5) and Virat Kohli (18.4) have turned their more innings into the 100s.
Unchallenged Don Bradman led with 36.25 percent.