Cricket

NZ Vs AUS, 2nd Test Preview: Kiwis Look To Save Series; Milestones Beckon For Kane Williamson, Tim Southee

Kane Williamson is the leading scorer for New Zealand in tests. After last week's first test which Australia won by 172 runs, Williamson has 8,675 runs in tests, almost 1,000 more than the next-best Kiwi, Ross Taylor

(Kerry Marshall/Photosport via AP)
Australia's Mitchell Start, second left, flinches after New Zealand's Kane Williamson, left, and Will Young, right, collide and Williamson is run out on the second day of their cricket test match in Wellington, New Zealand, Friday March 1, 2024. (Kerry Marshall/Photosport via AP)
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Leading batter Kane Williamson and captain Tim Southee will play their 100th cricket tests for New Zealand in the second test Australia in Christchurch from Friday which the Black Caps must win to save the series. (NZ Vs AUS, 2nd Test Streaming | More Cricket News)

The contributions that Williamson and Southee have made to New Zealand cricket — over the last 16 years in Southee's case and 14 years in the case of the 33-year-old Williamson — are immeasurable.

Williamson is the leading scorer for New Zealand in tests. After last week's first test which Australia won by 172 runs, Williamson has 8,675 runs in tests, almost 1,000 more than the next-best Kiwi, Ross Taylor.

He also has 6,810 runs in one-day internationals and 2,547 runs in Twenty20s for more than 18,000 runs across all international cricket formats.

Southee has 378 test wickets, second only to Richard Hadlee (431) on New Zealand's all-time list.

He has 221 wickets in ODIs, placing him third behind Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills, and earlier this season became the first bowler from any nation to take 150 wickets in T20 internationals.

With his 100th test appearance, Southee will become only the fourth player and second New Zealander to play 100 matches in all three formats.

He also will be the first fast bowler since Stuart Broad in 2016 to reach the 100-test milestone. With Williamson, Southee will bring the total number of players who have reached 100 tests to 78. Ravichandran Ashwin of India and Johnny Bairstow of England also are set to reach the milestone.

Of all his test matches, Williamson might look back with least relish on the opening match of the current series. He was run out for a second-ball duck in the first innings at the Basin Reserve and made 9 in the second innings.

That followed a golden run in which he made centuries in seven of his eight previous tests, including a double century against Sri Lanka and a century in each innings of the first test against South Africa earlier this season.

Southee also has recently been lacking form. He took 2-138 in the first test against Australia and only one wicket in each of the two tests against South Africa.

At 35 Southee is edging towards the end of his career as New Zealand unveils a new generation of young quicks, including Will O'Rourke who took New Zealand-best match figures of 9-93 on debut against South Africa and Ben Sears who will make his debut at Hagley Oval.

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Williamson is still in his prime, though he recently has had to deal with a long string of injuries.

Both players hope they can make a significant contribution from Friday as New Zealand faces its first series defeat at home since 2017.

“I think trying to help the team move forward is a really motivating factor for me,” Williamson said. “The art of batting, I'm still learning. Every day you have different conditions.

“As a player, it's trying to get some clarity on your strengths and your weaknesses and while putting time and effort into improving those, also accepting that things won't be perfect and it's about how can we be effective.”

New Zealand will need both Southee and Williamson to be more effective after the first test. The Black Caps posted totals of 179 and 196 in Wellington, struggling against offspinner Nathan Lyon who took 10 wickets in the match.

Hagley Oval is likely to provide a bounce early and turn later. New Zealand will have to decide whether to play four seamers and to leave out a specialist spinner for the third match in a row.

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