New Zealand skipper Tim Southee heaps praise on star batter Williamson who anchors brilliant Day Five run-chase against SL in first Test at Christchurch
New Zealand’s Kane Williamson dives to complete a single off the last ball of the match against Sri Lanka with one run required for victory on Day Five of the first Test in Christchurch yesterday. Pic/AFP
Kane Williamson was hailed as “world-class” after New Zealand’s record Test run-scorer orchestrated a dramatic last-ball win over Sri Lanka on a rain-disrupted final day in Christchurch on Monday.
The thrilling triumph at the Hagley Oval scuppered Sri Lanka’s chances of making the World Test Championship final, handing the spot to India. In a helter-skelter finish, the only Sri Lankans not guarding the boundary for most of the closing 10 overs were the bowler and wicketkeeper as New Zealand chased down their target of 285.
Only 53 overs in the day
Having lost eight wickets and on a day limited to 53 overs, skipper Tim Southee paid tribute to his star batsman Williamson. The former captain finished 121 not out and ran a bye off the final delivery of the match in a remarkable conclusion, to go with New Zealand’s one-run victory over England a fortnight ago.
“Seeing how calm he is out in the middle keeps us calm as well,” Southee said as New Zealand celebrated another famous, nail-biting win. “The guys were very trusting in what he was going to do and alongside Daryl [Mitchell] for most of the day it was a great partnership that got us in that great position. “He’s a world-class player and world-class players are able to perform in different conditions.”
Also read: Watch: Kane Williamson's last-ball dive that sealed Team India's WTC final berth
Karunaratne rues misfields
Visiting captain Dimuth Karunaratne said that fielding errors let his side down, particularly dropping the talisman Williamson on 33. “We had a good chance to win, unfortunately we are the losing side,” he said. “We had misfields a few times that cost us the game. We have to minimise those mistakes.”
Sri Lanka 355 & 302 lost to New Zealand 373 & 286-8 (K Williamson 121*, D Mitchell 81; A Fernando 3-63, P Jayasuriya 2-92) by two wickets
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