Kane Williamson, the world’s No. 1-ranked Test batter, scored his 30th century in the format, and his first as New Zealand dominated the opening day of the first Test against South Africa at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui. Williamson and Ravindra added an unbeaten 219-run partnership for the third wicket to propel New Zealand to 258/2 at stumps against an inexperienced South Africa bowling line-up.
Williamson and Ravindra came together when New Zealand were reduced to 39/2. Tshepo Moreki drew first blood, dismissing Devon Conway second ball, after which Dane Peterson cut short Tom Latham’s encouraging start for 20. But as it turned out, that would be South Africa’s second and last reason to cheer as Williamson and youngster Ravindra sent them on a leather hunt.
With his century, Williamson went past the legendary duo of Don Bradman and Virat Kohli, who have 29 centuries each. Williamson was on 45 when he was dropped by Edward Moore to deny fellow debutant Ruan de Swardt, but overcoming this slight hiccup, the New Zealand captain equalled Joe Root‘s century tally. He struck 15 fours, completed a century off 241 balls and remained unbeaten on 112 off 159. Williamson and Ravindra weathered some anxious early moments before finding their stride and reaping the rewards of their patient approach on a pitch that eased significantly.
They played with solid discipline, conceding just two loose shots, and will resume on Monday needing only 38 more runs to etch their names in history as the holders of the highest partnership for any New Zealand wicket against South Africa. Ravindra’s 118 not out off 211 balls comes just a week after rising star Ravindra, known for his prolific run-scoring during the recent 50-over World Cup in India, was named the ICC men’s emerging cricketer of the year. Luck was on his side when Duanne Olivier grassed a tough chance at deep square leg, sparing him on 80.
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