On Tuesday, as New Zealand took charge of the second Test against Pakistan, Kane Williamson underlined his ranking as the world’s premier batsman with a masterful double century on a landmark.
Williamson was in classic form between the showers at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, batting for nine hours 33 minutes for his 238 and leading New Zealand to an imposing 659 for six declared to lead Pakistan by 362.
The visitors were still in trouble at one down for eight at stumps, with Kyle Jamieson in the first innings contributing to his five-wicket haul by dismissing Shan Masood for a duck.
It would affirm their position as the number one side in the world for the first time if New Zealand wins the test, to go with the elevation of Williamson as the number one batsman, and hold alive their hope of making the World Test Championship final.
It was a persistent performance by Williamson, who is just the second New Zealander to score four double centuries, after Brendon McCullum.
After the first of two rain stoppages, he should have been out for 177 on the first ball, but as has occurred many times in the test, the chance was put down—this time by Azhar Ali, who had dropped Henry Nicholls short of his century earlier in the day.
Since New Zealand were limited to 71 for three on Monday’s second day, Williamson and Nicholls had rebuilt the innings.
By the time Nicholls was refused for 157 early in the afternoon session, the pair had put on 369, New Zealand’s third-best all-time partnership and a mark for the fourth wicket.
For three, 11 runs in arrears and with favourable weather for the bowlers who had cloud cover and a ball just five overs old, the day resumed with New Zealand 286.
But he had a response for every proposal Pakistan set to deny Williamson, with a selection of strokes from silky touches to solid drives.
Ross Taylor and Stephen Fleming preceded him along the way to become just the third New Zealander to cross 7,000 runs.
Three overs before tea, the end came for Williamson when he skied a short ball from Faheem Ashraf and was caught by Masood in the deep.
Williamson has scored 251, 129, 21 and 238 in four innings out of three tests over the past month.
On 92 and 133, Nicholls, dropped, was plagued by a calf strain that left him hobbling between the wickets.
But he was always capable of attacking, with boundaries delivering 48 of his 68 runs on day three, before a short Mohammad Abbas ball top-edged and caught on a wide, fine leg.
With Williamson delaying the announcement until the all-rounder scored his maiden century, Daryl Mitchell clobbered 102 off 112 balls.