New Zealand beat West Indies in the first Test by an innings and 134 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the 3-match series on Sunday. The win began New Zealand’s drive to win all four of its home tests — against the West Indies and Pakistan — this season which could lift it into the top two in test rankings, depending on the series between Australia and India.
The Blackcaps bowled out the visitors for 138 and 247 after posting 519 for 7 declared thanks to the skipper’s brilliant 251 which set the tone for the Test match.
“It was nice to spend some time out in the middle and build partnerships. It was going past the bat, fortunate for me. It was nice to get a first innings total like that and it’s nice to contribute in that way. It was really challenging technically and mentally. Nice to spend some time and get through that tough period, that’s Test cricket. Tom Latham was outstanding at the top.
“Throughout the batting order, we had valuable contributions. Every guy that came got starts, but faced 50-60 balls. It was a really nice contribution. We knew that it will be a tough challenge against WI, we were really fortunate to get off to a really good start and sort of hold onto that position. West Indies bat deep and they showed it with their lower-middle order, they applied themselves really well and a fantastic hundred by Jermaine.
“Great that the guys stuck. When the ball is moving around, you sometimes get ahead of yourself. Full credit to the bowling attack, it started to flatten out, really good all-round effort. It’s important to take the learnings and looking forward to the next Test,” Williamson said after the match.
While Williamson’s career-best 251 in New Zealand’s innings earned him the man-of-the match award, it was the way his bowlers hunted as a pack to put the visitors under constant pressure that was the defining characteristic of the match.
Williamson said the rearguard second innings fightback by Jermaine Blackwood and Alzarri Joseph, which forced the game into Sunday, did not deter the bowlers despite some frustration at several dropped catches.
“Full credit to the bowling attack. Sometimes when you hit your areas and the ball is moving around and you’re taking the edge then you sort of get a little bit ahead of yourself.
“It was a great lesson for us to try and get back to being patient and knowing you will get opportunities if you stay in your areas,” Williamson said.