Thu, 24 Jan 2019
21
Dubai

Williamson's fluency allowed me to keep going - Latham

ESPNCricInfo
16 Dec 2018, 19:42 GMT+10

3:40 AM ET

The tempo at which his team-mates - particularly Kane Williamson - built their own innings, helped Tom Latham get through some tough spells, and assisted in his getting to a seventh Test hundred.

Latham went to stumps on 121 off 256 balls - his strike rate a respectable 47 for the day - but had been much slower at the start of his knock. He had been 16 off 86 balls at one stage, and also went through another period - when he was on 50 - in which he did not score a run for 17 balls.

Williamson, meanwhile, made 91 off 93 balls. To the pair's 162-run second wicket stand, Latham's contribution was only 67.

"At the start of my innings, I wasn't playing that quickly, but the way Jeet Raval played and the way Kane came and played - that took the game to the opposition and kept the scoreboard ticking over," Latham said. "It was good for me. I could just keep going. The most important thing we talk about was making those partnerships big ones, and I managed to get a good one with Kane.

Williamson had signaled his aggressive intentions early, hitting three fours off the first three deliveries he faced. Two of those strokes were especially memorable back-foot punches either side of point, off the bowling of Lahiru Kumara. He would go on to hit 10 fours in his innings, and had little trouble finding gaps in the outfield in between the boundaries.

"Kane came out and hit the ball fantastically well - I guess he's a world-class player and is hitting the ball unbelievably well in all conditions," Latham said. "You look at some of the shots he plays - from ball one - those early boundaries set the tempo for his innings and he kept doing that. He's a fantastic player and one to get a few more tips off. When guys are going like that it's almost easier to give them the strike and let them do their thing."

For Latham, this was his first trip to triple figures since January 2017, and breaks a relatively lean spell that goes back at least six innings. In the three Tests in the UAE, Latham mustered only one 50, and averaged 16.5 across the three Tests. Which is why, he said, it was important to start slowly and build from there.

"The slow start was about trying to get them to bowl to me as much as possible. Coming from the UAE where the conditions were a lot different, it was important for me to try and wait to score when the ball was a lot straighter, or when it was shorter or fuller.

"I didn't have the results I wanted in the UAE, but I felt like I was hitting the ball alright. The biggest thing was the trust in my own game, and the trust that I can do it at this level. It's been a while since I made a big score, but it was nice that I managed to do that straightaway."

Sign up for Dubai News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!