Williamson tops world rankings with crucial ton

HAMILTON (New Zealand) • New Zealand phenomenon Kane Williamson shot to the top of the Test batting rankings yesterday, following his match-winning century against Sri Lanka.

He also ended 2015 with an astounding Test average of 90.15 in the calendar year, well clear of the next best, 76.83 by Australian Adam Voges.

The modest 25-year-old, who claims he is not obsessed by statistics, was unbeaten on 108 as New Zealand reached their target of 189 in the second Test in Hamilton for the loss of five wickets.

The win wrapped up the series 2-0 for New Zealand after their 122-run victory in the first Test, where Williamson had scores of 88 and 71 before a rare blemish in the first innings of the second Test when he was out for one.

He started the Hamilton Test as the third-ranked Test batsman behind England's Joe Root and South African AB de Villiers, but passed both with his unbeaten century.

But following a Test in which he reached a number of milestones, Williamson was uncomfortable being the focus of attention.

"From my perspective, the most pleasing thing is each game (when) you set out (what) you want to contribute as best you can to a team performance," he said. "You talk about (record) years and things. It's very difficult to look at it like that."

Williamson, a focused and technically correct batsman who is viewed as the heir apparent when New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum steps aside, scored five Test centuries this year, including two in Australia and one against England.

He compiled a New Zealand record 1,172 runs in a calendar year with his four to bring up his century against Sri Lanka. That took him past the previous record of 1,164 set by McCullum last year.

His five centuries took him to 13, equal with Ross Taylor as the second best by a New Zealand batsman and four behind the national record held by Martin Crowe.

In all formats, Williamson has scored 2,633 runs so far this year.

The feat puts him fifth on the all-time list headed by Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara (2,868 runs last year) with three one-dayers still to play in 2015.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 22, 2015, with the headline 'Williamson tops world rankings with crucial ton'. Print Edition | Subscribe