New Zealand v England: Captain Kane Williamson breaks century record on rain-hit day

By Matthew HenryBBC Sport
Rain at Eden Park
Only one wicket fell and just 54 runs were scored in the day
First Test, Eden Park, Auckland (day two of five)
England 58: Overton 33*; Boult 6-32, Southee 4-25
New Zealand 229-4: Williamson 102; Anderson 3-53
New Zealand lead by 171 runs

Captain Kane Williamson completed a New Zealand record 18th century as rain disrupted much of day two of the first Test against England in Auckland.

Only 23.1 overs were bowled with Williamson, who resumed on 91, completing his ton before being trapped lbw by James Anderson for 102.

That was the only wicket to fall as the hosts increased their lead to 171 after England were all out for 58 on day one.

Play was eventually abandoned in the final session with the score 229-4.

Williamson's innings saw him move past the New Zealand centuries record jointly held by Martin Crowe and Ross Taylor.

With his side resuming the day-night Test on 175-3, Williamson reached his century before a 50-minute rain delay brought an early end to the first session but he fell in Anderson's second over with the new ball after the interval.

The rain returned soon after with Henry Nicholls and BJ Watling at the crease, unbeaten on 49 and 17 respectively.

Williamson's moment of history

Kane Williamson
Williamson is fourth in the world batting rankings behind Steve Smith, Virat Kohli and Joe Root

Williamson did much of the hard work on day one but as England again struggled to create opportunities early on day two, the 27-year-old continued without concern to three figures.

He is fourth in the Test batting world rankings and has made an imposing start to the series so it was a surprise when the right-hander was dismissed, although he received a good ball from Anderson which seamed back off the pitch and was going on to hit the top of middle stump.

The New Zealand century record may change hands several times between Williamson and 34-year-old team-mate Taylor in the coming years.

Williamson was the first to match Crowe's mark, set in 1994, when he scored a century against South Africa in March 2017, with Taylor notching his 17th against Pakistan last December.

The day's 'farcical' ending

Groundstaff bring covers onto field
There was only one hour 40 minutes of play

Play was halted for the final time at 03:50 GMT but it took more than four hours for the day to officially be ended, just after 21:00 local time, which led to boos from the few spectators who had remained in the ground.

The umpires had hoped to resume play at 06:00 GMT for the start of the final session but there was a heavy downpour just as the players were about to take to the field.

There were two later pitch inspections before play was abandoned, one at 07:30 and another just 30 minutes later, leading to former England spinner Vic Marks calling the situation a "farce" on Test Match Special.

Further rain is forecast for the three remaining days and more lost time could be England's only hope of avoiding defeat in the match.

Rain not the worst and pink ball needs work - Anderson

Anderson has taken three of the four New Zealand wickets to fall so far in the Test but he conceded that his side were not unhappy to see the rain.

"Given the situation we're in, the rain isn't the worst thing in the world for us," he told BBC Sport.

"But it was our job to make further inroads into their team and bowl them out cheaply. We got one wicket and could've had a couple more but it's hard on days like this when you're trying to get in a rhythm and you can't because the weather is stopping you.

"The situation we're in, though, we'll take a shortened day."

Anderson also suggested the pink ball, used in day-night Tests, needs looking at.

England's leading Test wicket-taker, with 526, said: "The pink ball is still in its infancy.

"There's still a bit of work to be done. It is going out of shape quickly and we have to keep checking it by putting it through the rings the umpires carry.

"At one stage Paul Reiffel said it's not round but it's going through the hoops.

"As a swing bowler it's difficult to take because it's difficult to swing a ball that isn't round. And the whole point of a cricket ball is surely to be round."


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