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Williamson ton takes New Zealand's lead to 171 over England

Sahir  Usman
By Sahir Usman
November 30, -0001 • 00:00 AM View: 1643

Auckland, March 23 - New Zealand strengthened their position in the little play that was possible on the second day of the first cricket Test here, reaching 229/4 in their first innings in reply to Englands 58 on Friday.

Stumps were called early on a day when the players and the groundstaff took turns coming in and going out of Eden Park, but in the 23.1 overs of action, home skipper Kane Williamson completed his 18th Test century -- the most by a New Zealander -- and the hosts' lead stretched to 171.

Williamson and Henry Nicholls, the overnight batsmen, added 31 runs to the team's tally on the second morning before Williamson was trapped leg before on 102 by James Anderson. 

By then, one of the rain breaks had already played out, before which Williamson had reached his century with a dab to gully off Anderson. He got to the mark off 196 balls, with 11 fours and a six.

Only 10 overs had been bowled before the interruption, and the break didn't go well for New Zealand as Williamson's long vigil ended soon after the resumption.

Stumper B.J. Watling then joined hands with Nicholls and took New Zealand unscathed to 229/4 in 92.1 overs when another bout of rain -- longer than the previous one -- caused a four-hour delay and, despite the occasional bursts of hope, the eventual suspension of play. 

Nicholls was on 49 when the action for the day ended, one run short of a seventh 50-plus score in Test cricket, while Watling was unbeaten on 17.

The highlight of the day, of course, was Williamson, who surpassed Ross Taylor and Martin Crowe to become the first New Zealander to score 18 Test centuries.