Hamilton: Half-centuries from Tom Latham and skipper Kane Williamson proved crucial for New Zealand as they kept the West Indies bowlers at bay on the opening day of the first Test here at Seddon Park on Thursday.
At stumps, New Zealand’s score read 243/2 with Williamson and Ross Taylor at the crease. While the skipper was unbeaten on 97, giving him company was senior campaigner Taylor on 31.
With rain delaying the start on the opening morning, Windies, who elected to bowl first, got an immediate reward in the form of debutant Will Young’s wicket with Shannon Gabriel dismissing him in the fourth over.
Williamson then joined Latham and the duo started rebuilding the Kiwi innings. Their patient knocks carried New Zealand to the end of the opening session with an 85-run stand.
Latham’s resilience saw him scoring his 19th Test fifty as New Zealand looked steady on the first day after an early blow.
Meanwhile, skipper Williamson completed 1,000 Test runs at Seddon Park. He joined Taylor as the only cricketers with 1,000 or more runs at the venue.
Kemar Roach finally ended Latham’s stint at the crease as the 154-run partnership between Williamson and Latham came to an end against the run of play. Taylor and Williamson ensured New Zealand didn’t suffer any further loss.
Personally for Williamson, this is his 33rd Test as captain moving him ahead of Daniel Vettori (32 Tests) into third on the all-time New Zealand skipper list.
Former skipper Stephen Fleming leads the list with 80 Tests as captain followed by JR Reid with 34 Tests. Brendon McCullum is fifth on the list with 31 Tests.
Also, on the opening day of the first Test, both New Zealand and West Indies wore black armbands in honour of Kemar Roach’s late father Andrew Smith.
Cricket West Indies and the Windies team also extended deepest condolences to Roach and his family on the passing of his father.
Brief Scores: New Zealand 243/2, [Kane Williamson 97*, Ross Taylor 31*, Kemar Roach 1-53] vs West Indies