BRISBANE (Reuters) – Kane Williamson scored a defiant century to help New Zealand to 273 for seven at lunch on the third day of the first test on Saturday, still 283 runs behind Australia’s mammoth first innings tally.
Underlining his status as one of the best young batsmen in the game, the 25-year-old kept his cool in the most trying of circumstances at the Gabba, hitting 17 fours in his 11th test hundred.
He reached the milestone with a couple of runs down the leg side 20 minutes before lunch and was unbeaten on 112 at the break with Doug Bracewell (16 not out) alongside him.
Australia, who declared on 556 for four on Friday, continued to bowl well and paceman Mitchell Johnson dismissed BJ Watling for 32 before spinner Nathan Lyon sent Mark Craig back for 24.
No amount of pace or guile, however, was able to shift Williamson as the righthander used his fine footwork and powerful drive to score runs all over the ground.
Resuming on 157 for five and facing a mountain to climb just to save the first of the three tests in the series, Williamson and Watling applied themselves manfully to their task in the first half an hour.
They had extended their partnership to 67 when Johnson (3-87) struck with his first delivery of the day, eliciting an awful shot from Watling that caught a thin outside edge and carried through to wicketkeeper Peter Nevill.
That reduced the tourists to 185 for six but the Australians were unable to immediately capitalise on their breakthrough with Craig keeping Williamson company for the next 45 minutes.
They accumulated 46 runs together before Craig came down the track to try to belt Lyon out of the ground, only to misjudge the ball’s flight and send it looping to Mitchell Marsh at point.
Bracewell was fortunate to survive to the break after he was dropped in the cordon by Adam Voges off Johnson when he had scored four.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Greg Stutchbury)