Laying off short ball was key - Williamson
Omitting the pull and hook shots early in his innings was what Kane Williamson has said was the key to scoring the second-innings ton that saw his side to victory in the Hamilton Test.
"All the guys like to play the pull, but like any shot, on some surfaces it's important you try to select the right ball," Williamson said. "I was a victim of that in the first innings as well, having played the pull shot a lot in previous games and thinking I could go out and do that again. I wanted to make sure I was sounder in my decision making in the second innings."
Day three of the match had seen 15 wickets fall to short deliveries as batsmen from both teams failed to contend with sustained bouncer barrages. Williamson scored the only hundred of the match, finishing on 108 not out, but was also the only batsman to cross 50 in the second innings.
He occasionally utilised the pull in his second innings, but each of those shots were controlled, and generally played towards the ground. Williamson said he adjusted his batting plan after having been out hooking for one in his first dig.
"I think in the first innings we didn't adapt to the change in the surface and the extra bounce compared to Dunedin. The bounce was a bit variable - some stood up and some kissed through quickly and quite steep to make it more difficult. I wanted to take in a sound game plan to stick to. That meant initially going under the ball when it was hard and then, as it got softer, when the bowlers had a few overs under the belt, I'd look to play the pull bit more. It was important not to get carried away with the shot."
Williamson, who broke the New Zealand records for most centuries and runs in a calendar year -- five and 1172 respectively -- during his second-innings century, said it was pleasing to be recognised but stressed team success. His tally puts him at fifth for highest run-scorers in 2015 -- behind Alastair Cook, Joe Root, David Warner and Steven Smith -- though his average of 90.15 is more than 13 runs higher than that of any other batsman to have scored 400 runs. The innings at Hamilton comprised 57% of New Zealand's fourth innings score of 189.
"It's always nice to get a score but it means more when you spend some time in the middle and make a larger contribution to a team performance," Williamson said. "The wicket wasn't easy to bat on. It wasn't the biggest chase but it seemed some distance away because both teams came up with pretty sound bowling plans."
Williamson lauded the adaptability of New Zealand's seam bowlers, who had largely bowled full in search of edges in the first innings. Nine of their second-innings wickets had come from the short ball, however, with the tenth being a run out, also partly caused by the use of a bouncer.
"We've got good swing bowlers and guys that seam the ball, but to have to basically all of them come on the other side of the wicket and bowled short to execute a plan, was very good to see," Williamson said. "It was different to all those Tests, certainly, that I've played. We had to adopt very different tactics. Sri Lanka bowled the short ball very well, and we certainly learnt from their efforts in our second innings in the field."
Dushmantha Chameera had been particularly effective for Sri Lanka with the bouncer, picking up his first five-wicket haul in the first innings, and taking 9 for 115 in the match.
"Chameera's a very talented bowler," Williamson said. "Anyone that bowls with good pace is an asset to a side. Coming over here on slightly greener surfaces that we feel are suited to our bowlers, he bowled very well on them. I'm sure he will get a lot out of coming over here, playing in these conditions, and continue to improve."
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando