Williamson could be our greatest ever batter : McCullum

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A 69 in the first innings, a match-flipping 242 not out in the second, and two outstanding catches won Kane Williamson the Man-of-the-Match award, as well as the top spot in ESPN Sportscenter’s Plays. But plenty more words of praise were headed his way. He was not dismissed for fewer than 54 through the series, and having now become the quickest New Zealand batsman to 3,000 Test runs, may become his nation’s best ever with the bat, Brendon McCullum said.

“It’s hard to put this on his shoulders while the guy is so young, but I firmly believe Kane could go down as New Zealand’s greatest ever batter,” McCullum said. “He’s a phenomenal talent and such a level-headed guy, who just thinks first and foremost about the team and how he can contribute. He’s ticking off some amazing statistics along the way and he’s doing it in quite a strong leadership position within our group as well.

“That speaks volumes for the guy at the age of 24, that he’s held in that regard within the group. His batting in all three forms of the game is world class. He was batting in my backyard the other day against my boy. I said to my boy, ‘In 10 years’ time you’re going to appreciate how good this experience was.’ Kane’s a phenomenal fellow and a gun player and we’ll see a lot of him in the next few years.”

Williamson had shown characteristic poise and control as he transformed New Zealand’s poor outlook in Wellington into a position of strength, alongside BJ Watling. Focus and stoicism are among Williamson’s greatest attributes, McCullum said.

Despite the 0-2 result, Mathews said there were heartening performances from Sri Lanka’s young batsmen.

“We have a lot of positives: the way Dimuth Karunaratne, Lahiru Thirimanne and Dinesh Chandimal batted. It was very pleasing to see them score some runs. It’s going to be a big ask to fill Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara’s shoes, when he retires, but I think slowly but surely the youngsters will learn”

“Kane’s passionate, but he’s level with his emotions. At times, he can be a little bit mistaken for not being passionate or caring – he just gets in his zone. But you don’t fight that hard unless you care about something.

“He does have blood in his veins. He’ll be in that dressing room now, enjoying being around his teammates and have a big smile on his face. He’ll be trying to shove off all the accolades to everyone else, but he’s got to sit with these ones.”