At stumps on day one in the first day-night Test in New Zealand, the Black Caps were 175 for three and 117 runs ahead with seven wickets in hand.
England were left red-faced when they failed to cope with a swing bowling masterclass by Trent Boult and Tim Southee to be all out for just 58 after a mere 20.4 overs in Auckland. They were flirting with the world-record low of 26, set by New Zealand on the same ground against England in 1955, until number nine batsman Craig Overton spared their blushes with an unbeaten 33 at the end.
Apart from Stuart Broad taking his 400th Test wicket it was a bleak day for the tourists, who registered their sixth lowest total in Tests. But for New Zealand, Williamson commanded the Test from the moment he won the toss and opted to bowl.
He featured in the field with a superb diving catch in the gully to remove Broad, and ended the day closing in on a new record for New Zealand Test centuries. He currently shares the record of 17 centuries with Ross Taylor and the late Martin Crowe.
Williamson went to the middle after the early dismissal of Jeet Raval, when New Zealand were one for eight, and put on 84 with Tom Latham for the second wicket.
Latham had made a patient 26 off 112 deliveries but when play entered the difficult daylight-to-twilight zone he was gone in the first over after dinner to give Broad his milestone scalp.
– Stream of English batsmen –
Williamson had a nervous moment on 64 when Chris Woakes claimed a straight drive from Taylor had deflected off his hand to the stumps, with Williamson backing up out of his crease. But replays proved inconclusive and the third umpire ruled in favour of the batsman.
Taylor never looked completely at ease and on 20 he was caught at mid-wicket by Woakes to give England’s most successful Test bowler, James Anderson, his 525th career dismissal. Henry Nicholls joined Williamson and was unbeaten on 24 at stumps with the pair putting on 52 for the fourth wicket. Boult, who finished the England innings with a career-best six for 32, started their downfall when he had Alastair Cook out for five in the fifth over.
There followed a steady stream of batsmen going to and from the crease, five of them departing with a duck and only Mark Stoneman (11) able to join Overton with double figures.
After Cook, Boult claimed Joe Root for a six-ball duck, Dawid Malan for two, Ben Stokes — who faced eight deliveries on his return to Test cricket — for a duck, Chris Woakes (5) and James Anderson (1). Southee, who finished with four for 25, kept up the carnage with the wickets of Stoneman, plus Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali and Stuart Broad, who were each dismissed without scoring.