New Zealand batsman Tom Latham lavished praise on his captain Kane Williamson for his ability to hit the ball fantastically well in all conditions, saying he is a world-class player after the hosts finished off the innings on a winning note in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Wellington.
After wrapping up Sri Lanka for 282 in the first innings thanks to Tim Southee’s figures of 6/68, the Kiwi top order made an incredible start to post a mammoth total of 578 in the first innings on the back of Latham’s 264 off 489 balls and Williamson’s 91 off 93 along with 50-50s contribution from Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls in the first Test of the two-match series at home.
Williamson looked in imperious form with the willow, as he also stitched 162 runs stand with Latham for the second-wicket before falling to the part-time off-spin of Dhananjaya de Silva.
Latham told reporters after Day’s play, “Kane came out and hit the ball fantastically well. I guess he's a world-class player and is hitting the ball unbelievably well in all conditions.”
He continued, “You look at some of the shots he plays – from ball one – those early boundaries set the tempo for his innings and he kept doing that. He's a fantastic player and one to get a few more tips off. When guys are going like that it's almost easier to give them the strike and let them do their thing.”
Meanwhile, on his own show in Wellington, the 26-year-old said, “At the start of my innings, I wasn't playing that quickly, but the way Jeet Raval played and the way Kane came and played – that took the game to the opposition and kept the scoreboard ticking over. It was good for me. I could just keep going. The most important thing we talk about was making those partnerships big ones, and I managed to get a good one with Kane.”
The left-hander signed off by saying, “I didn't have the results I wanted in the UAE, but I felt like I was hitting the ball alright. The biggest thing was the trust in my own game and the trust that I can do it at this level. It's been a while since I made a big score, but it was nice that I managed to do that straight away.”
(With International Cricket Council Inputs)