Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls both scored double centuries and shared a partnership of 363 as New Zealand flayed Sri Lanka’s bowling to rack up an imposing 580 for four declared on the second day of the second Test yesterday.
The tourists had responded with 26-2 by the close of play at Wellington’s Basin Reserve and face an uphill battle to avoid being swept in the two-match series after losing the first Test by two wickets in Christchurch on Monday.
Williamson also scored a century, his 27th in Tests, in the second innings of that match, but yesterday’s magnificent effort in the company of Nicholls was an entirely different order of dominance.
After a rain-disrupted day one, Williamson resumed on 26 not out with his country 155-2 and barely put a foot wrong until he holed out in the deep in the late afternoon with 215 runs to his name.
The 32-year-old became the first New Zealand batsman to score 8,000 Test runs as he marched to his sixth double century, pounding 23 fours and a couple of sixes in the 296-ball innings.
Nicholls pillaged runs at a slightly lower rate at the other end as he worked his way out of a recent form slump with his highest test score of 200 not out. It was the first time two New Zealand batsmen had scored double centuries in one innings.
Sri Lanka are not the first team to regret winning the toss and choosing to bowl on an apparent greentop only to watch the Black Caps batting for a couple of days.
Daryl Mitchell scored a quickfire 17 and Tom Blundell 17 not out after Williamson’s departure as New Zealand swung the bat to inflate their tally before the declaration. Seamer Lahiru Kumara (0-164) of the visiting bowlers suffered the most but Asitha Fernando and Kasun Rajitha were both also well into three figures in the debit column.
Matt Henry wasted little time in showing them how to bowl on the track, tempting opener Oshada Fernando into a push at the ball which Blundell gobbled up behind the wickets.
Doug Bracewell then celebrated his return to test cricket after a gap of nearly seven years with the wicket of Kusal Mendis, who departed for a duck after Doug Conway took a brilliant catch at point.
Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, who was 16 not out, and nightwatchman Prabath Jayasuriya, unbeaten on four, will resume on Sunday with Sri Lanka a hefty 554 runs in arrears.
New Zealand 1st innings
T. Latham c Jayasuriya b Rajitha 21
D. Conway c & b de Silva 78
K. Williamson c sub b Jayasuriya 215
H. Nicholls not out 200
D. Mitchell c & b Rajitha 17
T. Blundell not out 17
Extras (b2, lb17, nb8, w5) 32
Total (for 4 wickets; 123 overs) 580/d
Fall of wickets: 1-87 (Latham), 2-118 (Conway), 3-481 (Williamson), 4-530 (Mitchell)
Bowling: K. Rajitha 32-6-126-2 (6nb), A. Fernando 26-6-110-0 (2w, 1nb), L. Kumara 25-1-164-0 (3w), D. de Silva 19-3-75-1 (1nb), P. Jayasuriya 21-1-86-1
Sri Lanka 1st innings
O. Fernando c Blundell b Henry 6
D. Karunaratne not out 16
K. Mendis c Conway b D. Bracewell 0
P. Jayasuriya not out 4
Total (for two wickets, 17 overs) 26
Fall of wickets: 1-13 (Fernando), 2-18 (Mendis)
Bowling: T. Southee 6-3-5-0, M. Henry 7-3-15-1, D. Bracewell 3-2-1-1, M. Bracewell 1-0-5-0
Toss: Sri Lanka
Umpires: Richard Illingworth (ENG), Chris Gaffaney (NZL)
TV umpire: Michael Gough (ENG)
New Zealand’s Kane Williamson (left) celebrates 200 runs with teammate Henry Nicholls on day two of the second Test against Sri Lanka at the Basin Reserve in Wellington yesterday. (AFP)