New Zealand in Bangladesh 2013-14

Williamson's spin conquests a plus for New Zealand

His confidence while playing spin on the subcontinent has made Kane Williamson an important, inspirational part of the New Zealand squad

Mohammad Isam

October 18, 2013

Comments: 18 | Text size: A | A

Kane Williamson plays a straight drive, Bangladesh v New Zealand, 1st Test, Chittagong, day 1, October 9, 2013
Kane Williamson's ease against spin-bowling is heartening for New Zealand, but he still needs to work on consistency © AFP
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One of the most assuring sights for New Zealand in the Chittagong Test was the ease with which Kane Williamson batted against the Bangladesh spinners. Spending time at the crease was necessary to adjust to conditions - as Peter Fulton, BJ Watling and Ross Taylor demonstrated - but New Zealand's batting unit would have gained more confidence through Williamson's performance.

Allrounder Corey Anderson, who made his Test debut in Chittagong, was one of the New Zealand players inspired by Williamson's knocks of 114 and 74.

"It was [inspirational], especially for me," Anderson said. "I am pretty new, so he put his hand up and showed us how it is done. You want to try and do the same thing. Kane is an incredible batter. Hopefully he can produce the same sort of numbers he did in the first Test. We thought he was going to double up, but he got out in a [freakish] way."

Next week, in Dhaka, Williamson will once again have to bring his confidence against spin to the fore. Brendon McCullum and Taylor are the senior batsmen in the line-up but Williamson's technique and mental strength against the spinners stand out. These traits have seemingly inspired the likes of Hamish Rutherford, Corey Anderson, and even Fulton, who are new to these conditions.

Fulton had to work hard for his two fifties despite batting against pace, a mode of attack easier to deal with in the subcontinent. He batted for 235 and 218 minutes in the match, but looked ungainly at times and scoring options were at a minimum. Taylor, Watling and No. 11 Trent Boult scored fifties and showed confidence in parts.

But Williamson was untroubled by the Bangladesh attack as he crossed fifty and then reached his third Test hundred in the subcontinent on the first day. It was worrying for the home side, until Shakib beat his defenses late in the evening. As soon as Williamson fell, McCullum followed suit and, on the second morning, New Zealand lost their way before Watling made the most of a reprieve.

It becomes hard to bat in the middle with a tail-end batsman when the top-order is all at sea against a particular type of bowling; here Williamson's confidence had an indirect influence. Watling and Boult clearly understood that their task was to extend the New Zealand innings.

In the second innings, too, Williamson and Fulton put on 101 runs for the second wicket after Rutherford's early loss. Williamson was not visibly dominating the attack, but his ease assured the other batsmen that spin could be played well.

It's worth noting that New Zealand has persisted with him at No. 3 for the past two years. In the last five years, Williamson is the only New Zealand batsman to have batted for more than 20 innings at No. 3. McCullum, Hamish Marshall, Jesse Ryder and Daniel Flynn are among several top-order batsmen to have tried out in the position, but their stays haven't lasted more than 14 innings. Williamson has also found success in the subcontinent at No. 3 - two of his four centuries, first against Sri Lanka last November and now in Chittagong, have come at this position in this part of the world.

Williamson remains, however, an unfulfilled talent. In 29 innings at No. 3, he has those two centuries and averages little under 35. His six fifties in the position show that while he is good at getting starts, he still has to work on converting those into substantial innings. He burst on to the scene with a Test hundred on debut, soon after a maiden ODI century against Bangladesh in 2010. But his overall batting average of 34.19 from 26 Tests remains below-par for a batsman with obvious talent.

In the second Test in Dhaka, he will have another opportunity to add to his growing confidence and lift that average a little bit. This time, if he gets there, he will have to kick on from a century and make it bigger knock. If Bangladesh are to be stymied at home, a big innings from Williamson would certainly give New Zealand the right platform to build on.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

RSS Feeds: Mohammad Isam

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (October 21, 2013, 2:17 GMT)

Like i said in my past Blogs Kane Williamson in my view should be at number 3 in tests and in 0ne day games not sure about 20twentys and now we have a lot more youger guys playing and reaqlly stepping up with the chances of Jesse Ryder looking to return to the nz team where would he bat and a useful spin bowler to

Posted by tauhid_aks on (October 20, 2013, 12:12 GMT)

Now, then.gyusuf6 bro we hope to win, and we are confident that a turning pitch will give us chances, but we should not get overconfident. I am still worried if the turning pitch will backfire or not. I have been disappointed too many times by the team, so even though I expect a win, even a draw will mean that it could have been much worse for us.

Posted by jimbond on (October 20, 2013, 6:45 GMT)

@hokeypokey: Actually I meant Taylor, Ryder was typed in inadvertently.

Actually Shakib is a bit of a riddle. He is better than most bits and pieces players, but would definitely not make most teams as a specialist batsman or bowler(he would however make it into the Bangladesh team as a batsman or as a bowler). Hence would not make it into many playing 11s. If we look at most of the "class' allrounders they were probably good enough to be in the team on the basis of one talent, and if they failed in the other, it was still a bonus. Eg. Kallis (batting), Watson (batting), Hadlee, Kapil Dev, Imran Khan (bowling), Sobers (batting)

Posted by gyusuf6 on (October 20, 2013, 4:03 GMT)

@Posted by corzaNZ on (October 19, 2013, 21:11 GMT) I'm sorry i did not mean to come across like that. But people like Gagg have no respect for Bangla cricket and that bothers me a bit. I have a lot of respect for NZ team and they have some really good players in the team and 2nd test will be a good match up, i hope. Good luck to both of the teams!!!

Posted by corzaNZ on (October 19, 2013, 21:11 GMT)

One thing i dont get is how come Bangladesh fans get very defensive whenever someone argues against them all makes a comment about them. @gyusuf6 you shouldnt claim that Bangladesh can smash NZ into pieces, just wait for the test to start and enjoy the contest. And yes before you mention it Bangladesh won 4 nil 3 years ago but hey that was 3 years ago.

Posted by gyusuf6 on (October 19, 2013, 19:40 GMT)

@Posted by Gagg on (October 19, 2013, 7:25 GMT) Mate, How do you consider a proper pitch??? A fast and bouncy pitch like you all produce???LOL. Look when an asian team visits you guys you all make pitches that suits you and when you all visit subcontinent you should expect pitches that suit the home team. So deal with it!!! Shakib's #1 best test allrounder status is recognised by many test cricketers and well known cricket Guru's and you NO NAME person think that these cricket guys have flaws in their views!!! You really make me laugh!!!! Bangla spinning track also can thrash your team into pieces and i assure you majority of the neutrals will agree with me too.....

Posted by gyusuf6 on (October 19, 2013, 19:39 GMT)

@Posted by Gagg on (October 19, 2013, 7:25 GMT) Mate, How do you consider a proper pitch??? A fast and bouncy pitch like you all produce???LOL. Look when an asian team visits you guys you all make pitches that suits you and when you all visit subcontinent you should expect pitches that suit the home team. So deal with it!!! Shakib's #1 best test allrounder status is recognised by many test cricketers and well known cricket Guru's and you NO NAME person think that these cricket guys have flaws in their views!!! You really make me laugh!!!! Bangla spinning track also can thrash your team into pieces and i assure you majority of the neutrals will agree with me too.....

Posted by SyedAreYouDumb on (October 19, 2013, 19:38 GMT)

@gagg I beg to differ. Shakib could walk into any team just on his bowling, he's an excellent bowler. He has 5 wicket hauls in England and SA as well. But I do agree he is a good batsman, not an excellent one.

Posted by i_golam on (October 19, 2013, 14:51 GMT)

Just don't understand why Bangladesh not taking any advantage by making spinn friendly pitch ? India & Lankans are doing this since long & the same for Australia / NZ / SA but first pace pitch is the only distinction there ! Hoping for A good turning pitch in Mirpur !!! In a turning pitch ... bowler like Shakib Gazi & Razzak can take 20 wickets in any given day ! So now when the team is so balanced ... I think its time for team BD to attack !!

Posted by The_Ashes on (October 19, 2013, 11:53 GMT)

@Gagg:- Vettori is not really an all-rounder. An all-rounder is one that can perform well bat and ball across all the forms. Vettori seems to only do okay in tests but then again playing a staggering 111 tests and still averaging 30 with the bat and 34 with the ball is simply an underachievement. Whereas in contrast to Shakib his overall average is getting better and better with every test he is playing now. You're right he is not at the moment in the lines of Imran, Botham etc but he has only played 31 tests till date so lets just wait till he plays 50 tests and then we can see. So no I don't agree with you points as teams like India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan also plays in these wickets :P also New Zealand prepared deliberately flat pitches at home against England earlier in the year didn't they? :) double standards I guess :P

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