Record stand puts NZ in control

Published: Tuesday 6th January 2015 by The News Editor

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New Zealand took control of the second and final Test against Sri Lanka as Kane Williamson and BJ Watling compiled a world record sixth-wicket partnership in Wellington.

Williamson and Watling put on 365 as New Zealand declared on 524 for five, setting Sri Lanka a target of 390 in just under three sessions.

Williamson was undefeated on 242 off 438 balls, while Watling was 142 not out from 333 balls.

Sri Lanka then reached 45 for one by the close, still needing to bat out all three sessions on the final day to avoid defeat.

The Kiwi partnership was worth 94 when the duo strode out to the middle at the Basin Reserve on Tuesday morning and Watling brought up his 50 from 145 balls in just the third over of the day.

The century partnership soon followed and Williamson and Watling were looking reasonably comfortable in the middle as they built the New Zealand lead.

The runs were not flowing easily, though, and when Williamson reached his ton it had taken him 243 balls before he was dropped for the third time in the match when Prasanna Jayawardene put him down on 104 off the bowling of Rangana Herath.

And once again the Sri Lankans were punished by the 24-year-old as he brought up his 150 and the 200 partnership after lunch with a swept boundary off Herath.

When the partnership reached 247, Williamson and Watling had New Zealand’s highest sixth-wicket partnership against Sri Lanka, overtaking the previous best compiled by Jeff Crowe and Sir Richard Hadlee.

Watling brought up his century off 270 balls in the following over and Sri Lanka were looking seriously short of ideas as the hosts began to establish a strong grip on the game that would have looked unlikely on day three.

The lead was 310 at tea as an evening declaration suddenly began to loom large and Williamson brought up his first Test double-century with a boundary off Herath taking the partnership to 300 in the process.

Watling soon followed Williamson to his own highest Test score and the wicketkeeper helped Williamson guide the partnership past the world-record 352 that he and Brendon McCullum had shared for a sixth-wicket against India – also in Wellington – in February last year.

The partnership was eventually ended by the skipper who brought his men in with a lead of 389, Williamson and Watling having contributed 365 of the Black Caps’ second-innings total of 524 in just over 111 overs.

Dimuth Karunaratne was the only wicket of the day to fall for 17 as he paddled a Mark Craig delivery to Hamish Rutherford.

Published: Tuesday 6th January 2015 by The News Editor

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