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‘The pitch eased out after lunch’

Auckland: New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson credited his team’s fantastic turnaround on the opening day of the first Test against India to the pitch, saying that it eased out considerably after a “tough” opening session here on Friday.

The Black Caps recovered from 54 for three at lunch to be 329 for four at stumps and Williamson, who smashed 113, said the pitch helped his team’s cause from the second session onwards.

“Naturally we wanted to win the toss which never ever seems to happen but it was tough initially which you expect with the new ball. Certainly it got pretty easy to bat on after lunch and going into the last session, so it’s nice to be in the position we are in now,” he said at the end of the day’s play.

“At some stage or the other, the Indian bowlers were all more threatening than others. Zaheer (Khan) was very good, then (Mohammed) Shami would come in with a very good spell and when the pitch got very good to bat on, Ishant would hit the bat hard. It’s hard to point one out but at certain times in their spells, they were all very threatening and something that we had to weather a little bit,” he added.

Williamson was very effusive in his praise for captain Brendan McCullum, who was unbeaten at 143. McCullum shrugged off some patchy form to score his eighth Test hundred and put on 221 runs for the fourth wicket with Williamson after the team was reduced to 30/3 in the morning session.