Kane Williamson, Tim Southee mark their 100th Test appearance in Christchurch

Sports Friday 08/March/2024 09:33 AM
Kane Williamson, Tim Southee mark their 100th Test appearance in Christchurch

Christchurch: New Zealand's leading Test run-scorer Kane Williamson and their second-highest wicket-taker in the format Tim Southee donned their 100th Test cap on Friday, 8 March, in the ICC World Test Championship series against Australia in Christchurch.

New Zealand are after a first Test win since 2011 against their trans-Tasman rivals and will hope stalwarts Kane Williamson and Tim Southee mark the momentous occasion with big contributions.

Southee and Williamson became just the fifth and sixth Black Caps players to reach the milestone of 100 Test matches.

The two Blackcaps veterans were teammates at the ICC Men's U19 Cricket World Cup in 2008 where the team reached the semi-finals before losing to eventual champions, India.

Southee had already made his senior international debut a few weeks before the U19 World Cup, in the T20I format. He would go on to make his Test debut within a year.

Williamson, on the other hand, had to wait until 2010 to make his Test debut, but since made rapid strides across formats to evolve into one of New Zealand's greatest-ever batters.

In a recent chat on The ICC Review, former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting recalled a story on Kane Williamson.

"I think it was certainly Kane's first tour to Australia and Brendon [McCullum] grabbed me after the Test match in Hobart in the change rooms. I'll guarantee you this kid's going to be something special. He's going to be a hundred Test match player for New Zealand. He's going to be one of the best batters in the world.' And he said, don't be surprised if he goes down as New Zealand's greatest-ever player," Ponting said as quoted by ICC official website.

McCullum's prophecy turned fruit on Friday as Williamson walked out with Southee for his 100th Test match.

It has been a remarkable career for the top-order batter.

Williamson has 8675 runs in Tests, well ahead of Ross Taylor, the next best for New Zealand, and averages 55.25 in the format. No other active player has more Test hundreds than Williamson's 32.

Southee, meanwhile, has 378 Test wickets and is just over 50 wickets away from eclipsing Richard Hadlee's tally for most Test wickets by a Kiwi bowler.

"It's a huge feat to not only keep your form for a dozen years or so that you need to get through to play 100 Test matches, but to keep your body in that kind of shape there's always new guys coming through. "He's maintained his standards to be at the top of his game," opposition skipper Pat Cummins praised Tim Southee ahead of the Test.

"Kane has always been fantastic to play against -- whatever the format is he always seems like the prized wicket, so hopefully he'll have a bit of a quieter week this week (in Christchurch). Two greats of New Zealand cricket," Cummins concluded.