'A terrific knock all around' | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 03, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 03, 2019

'A terrific knock all around'

For the third time in his career as Black Caps batting coach, Craig McMillan sat back and soaked in the pleasure of watching his troops making history.

The first came in Wellington in 2014, when the Black Caps smashed 680-8 against India to set a new mark for their highest Test innings score. Nine months later, they topped it with 690 against Pakistan in Sharjah, and on Saturday, they re-set the record once more, crushing an incredible 715-6 before declaring against Bangladesh at Seddon Park in Hamilton.

McMillan has had the best view in the house for all three performances, and was elated with his side's performance in this Test.

"It was right up there [with the best]. Obviously it was historic in the amount of runs scored, and the contributions throughout the innings makes it very special, and one that the guys are really proud of."

It was an innings set up by a 254-run partnership between twin centurions Jeet Raval and Tom Latham on Friday, but Saturday was dominated by Kane Williamson, who reached his second double century, crafting an exquisite unbeaten 200 which left McMillan singing his praises.

"He was sublime today – whenever the Bangladeshi bowlers missed, he hurt them, he was very efficient when they offered scoring opportunities and created those partnerships that we talk a lot about.

"It's not easy, and it takes a lot of hard work behind the scenes that allows him to play like that. He's very hard to bowl at as he bats 360 degrees – all around the wicket. Bowlers only have to err a fraction with Kane, and he hurts them, and we saw that today – a terrific knock all around."

While Williamson could have gone on to threaten his high score of 242 – and even Brendon McCullum's 302 if the Black Caps were feeling really ambitious - McMillan explained the reasoning to pull the pin with plenty of time left up their sleeve.

"The milestones weren't an issue at all. We wanted to bat for a period where we could see the wear and tear in the surface – starting to see those cracks open up and develop a little bit. [Williamson] obviously reached that milestone and thought 'Now's the time' – and we wanted the bowlers to have a decent crack, not just a short hour at the end of the day.

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