Former New Zealand Test captain Kane Williamson has added another feather to cap in his illustrious career during Day 1 of the ongoing first Test against South Africa at Bay Oval in Mount Manganui on Sunday, January 4.
Williamson became the first New Zealand batter to complete 30 centuries in Test Cricket. The 33-year-old achieved the feat in his 169th inning of the format. He completed his century when he pulled the shot ball to the mid wicket off South African pacer Tshepo Moreki in the 79th over of New Zealand's first innings batting.
Additionally, the talismanic batter transcended Ricky Ponting (170 innings) and Sunil Gavaskar (174 innings) to become the fourth fastest player to record 30 Test centuries. Kane Williamson is now ranked behind legendary Sachin Tendulkar (159 innings), Steve Smith (162 innings) and Mathew Hayden (167 innings) on the list.
Kane Williamson registered his 17th Test century at home, which is also most by New Zealand batter in this format of the game. Interestingly, no other Kiwis batter has scored more than 19 centuries in Test Cricket. Also, the right-handed batter has the most number of centuries by New Zealand batter in International Cricket (44*).
Currently, Williamson has the joint second-highest number of centuries alongside Joe Root in Tests among active cricketers. Australia's talismanic batter Steve Smith leads the chart with 32 tons, while Team India's star batter stands at third with 29 centuries.
Kane Williamson and Rachin Ravindra put New Zealand in driver's seat on Day 1
New Zealand were put to bat first by South Africa in the Test series opener in Mount Manganui. The hosts lost an early wicket in opener Devon Conway for 2, dismissed by Tshepo Moreki at 2/1.
Thereafter, Kane Williamson joined Tom Latham at the crease. The pair was looking to build a good partnership after an early wicket until Latham was removed by Dane Paterson for 20 at 39/2. South Africa put themselves in a commanding position with two early wickets. However, momentum began to shift towards Kiwis after Williamson and Rachin Ravindra carried on hosts' batting.
The pair frustrated an in-experienced South African bowling attack as they are on the tour without the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Keshav Maharaj, Marco Jansen and Anrich Nortje.
Williamson and Rachin formed an unbeaten 219-run partnership for the third wicket to help New Zealand post a total of 258/2 in 86 overs on the board at the end of Day 1. Rachin Ravindra scored 118 off 211 balls, while Kane Williamson played an innings of 112 off 259 balls.
Rachin Ravindra registered his maiden century on his Test comeback after two years.