In two consecutive Test matches, Kane Williamson has presented an account of his true greatness. When victory seemed almost unlikely, the right-handed batter rose to the occasion to defy the odds and produce an innings that will be remembered by cricket fans around the world. Today, he rallied a tough run-chase against Sri Lanka, snatching a victory in the dying dramatic moments, as the sun set over the Hagley Oval stands.
It isn’t often that a Test match is won off the last ball of Day Five. To start with, there was some rain, which cut down the number of overs in the day. New Zealand lost a few early wickets and needed to consolidate. The required rate went up in the process and they could have played it safe and secured a draw. Yet, Williamson changed gears in time and brought back the possibility of a victory. Gradually, it all moved towards an epic finish.
With eight needed in the last over, Sri Lanka spread out the field as Williamson took strike. With five needed off three, Williamson placed one very well square through the off-side, bisecting a small gap between the fielders in the deep. Asitha Fernando’s strategy heading into the final two balls was clear – pitch it short and not allow Williamson the opportunity to free his arms. Fernando repeated it off the last ball as Williamson missed. A scamper through to the other end, and a last minute dive from Williamson saw New Zealand get home to seal an epic.
In the moment there was a direct hit, one considered the possibility of a drawn Test match with the scores level. This has only happened twice in the history of the game. England and Zimbabwe played out a dramatic game at Bulawayo in 1996. Closer to home, India and West Indies scripted a memorable encounter at the Wankhede Stadium in 2011. However, New Zealand avoided joining the list and stamped their victory seal.
For Williamson, this has come at the back of one of the all-time great innings in Test cricket. His century against England in New Zealand’s previous Test match came in the face of a follow on. That inspired New Zealand to script only the fourth occasion in Test history where a team has won following on. This is a testament to his greatness and class!
We at the Gujarat Titans congratulate Kane Williamson and New Zealand on another memorable victory! Not to forget, all Indian fans will thank them as it seals their team’s passage through to the World Test Championship Final.
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