Williamson praises ‘superb’ New Zealand despite England draw

New Zealand captain
Kane Williamson has praised the “superb cricket” by New Zealand
despite settling with a draw against England at Lord’s in the first Test.

The Black Caps were in charge from the outset as opener
Devon Conway marked his Test debut with a brilliant 200.

Veteran seamer Tim Southee then took 6-43 as New Zealand,
who after this series face India in the inaugural World Test Championship final
later this month, established a first-innings lead of over a hundred runs.

But Friday’s total washout frustrated New Zealand’s bid for
only a second Test-match win at Lord’s to set alongside their 1999 success at
the ‘home of cricket’.

Williamson’s sporting declaration at lunch on Sunday’s final
day left England with a target of 273 in 75 overs.

Neil Wagner took 2-27 but even the lion-hearted left-arm
quick was unable to prevent England grinding their way to 170-3 in 70 overs by
the time a draw was agreed.

“I thought the guys played some superb cricket
throughout to give us that potential opportunity,” Williamson told
reporters.

“Unfortunately it wasn’t to be today, losing a day to
weather doesn’t help the cause.”

‘Docile’

He added: “We declared for a reason and that was to try
and push for a victory. Although it seemed unlikely for a period, if one spun
out of the rough or you were able to open up and end then anything could happen
reasonably quickly, and we were holding on to that hope for as long as we
could.

“But clearly things became quite docile out
there.”

Looking to the second Test, the star batsman said: “We
know the quality England have and they’re a very difficult side to beat. It’s
important we to get back to our plans, starting afresh at a new ground, and
look to execute.”

But the Black Caps will travel to Birmingham buoyed by two
memorable individual efforts from in what was their first match at Lord’s since
an agonising Super Over loss to England in the 2019 World Cup final.

“Devon has shown his class – a debut Test at ‘the home
of cricket’ and he just looked so comfortable,” said Williamson. To score
a double century is an incredible feat.”

As for Southee, the skipper said: “Tim led the attack
beautifully.”

Meanwhile England captain Joe Root defended the hosts’
obdurate approach to the run-chased.

“You look at the declaration, it looked like quite a
generous one in many ways,” he said. “But, you look at the run-rates
throughout the game — no one has scored over three an over throughout the
whole game even when the pitch was at its absolute best.

“Once we got through an initial phase it just didn’t
feel like it was a realistic opportunity for us to win the game.”

England’s Dom Sibley batted for more than five hours on
Sunday for his 60 not out, having failed to reach double figures in his six previous
international innings.

Root, who shared a stand of 80 with Sibley after the loss of
two quick wickets, lauded the Warwickshire opener’s “great resilience and
character”.

The England skipper added: “He really did trust his
defence, trust his game and showed that he has the mental capacity for Test
cricket.

“Sometimes you learn a lot about players in those
situations and those environments, on a surface like that where it was up and
down.”

Author: desi123

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