Blackcaps v Pakistan: Kane Williamson credits teammates as record double century gives New Zealand hope of pushing for victory

Kane Williamson's record-breaking double century has given the Blackcaps the chance to push for what would be only New Zealand's third test victory on Pakistan soil.

As the Blackcaps piled on a huge 612/9 declared in their first innings for a lead of 174 runs in Karachi, Williamson recorded his 25th test century, and fifth double century, finishing with an unbeaten 200 as new captain Tim Southee declared.

Strikes from Michael Bracewell and Ish Sodhi have reduced Pakistan to 77/2 in their second innings, still 97 runs away from parity.

And with one day to play, the Blackcaps would appear as the side in the stronger position to take a 1-0 lead in the best of two series.

Kane Williamson celebrates his double century against Pakistan.
Kane Williamson celebrates his double century against Pakistan. Photo credit: Getty Images

For Williamson, though, the double century completes a remarkable return to the status among the world's premier batters.

The 32-year-old's innings was his first since relinquishing the test captaincy to Southee earlier this month, allowing Williamson to concentrate solely on his batting.

The results have been immediate, as Williamson notched his first test century since January 2021 - coincidentally also against Pakistan - while the conversion on to 200 took him to the most double tons by a Kiwi.

A century in Pakistan also saw Williamson score 100 or more in the 10th different country. Only one player in the history of the game, former Pakistan captain Younis Khan, has reached three figures in more, with 11.

But rather than accept any personal praise for his efforts, Williamson - as always - was quick to deflect to the contributions of his teammates.

In particular, Williamson added partnerships of 65 with Daryl Mitchell (42), 90 with Tom Blundell (47) and 154 with Ish Sodhi, who scored a career-best 65 with the former captain at the other end.

"Any time you go out to bat, you want to prepare as well as you can, and commit to your plans," Williamson said.

Kane Williamson bats in Karachi.
Kane Williamson bats in Karachi. Photo credit: Getty Images

"That was the focus here in this match. It was nice to spend a lot of time with a number of other guys who made valuable contributions.

"Coming into today, we knew we wanted to bat longer to get a few more on the board. The contribution from Ish Sodhi with the bat was really, really important.

"It was a nice first innings total, [but] for us there's still a lot of work to do.

"We've got a few wickets to try and get tomorrow."

Now, the Blackcaps' focus shifts to the final day at Karachi's National Stadium, where New Zealand will need to take the final eight wickets, in the hope of either chasing a small target, or victory by an innings.

And despite his own success, Williamson asserts there is still plenty for the Blackcaps to do before they can celebrate. 

"It's hard to judge really, but for me it was nice to be out there, being part of a number of partnerships that were really valuable for us getting a competitive total," Williamson continued. 

"It's put us in a reasonable position, but we know there's a lot of hard work to do.

"In terms of a first innings total as a batting unit, we were pleased with the efforts. But we know that day five of any test, so many things can unfold.

"We're looking forward to that."

Should the Blackcaps prise a win on day five played on Friday (NZ time), the Kiwis would take an unassailable 1-0 series lead before game two at the same venue, beginning on January 2.

The Blackcaps have never won a test series in Pakistan, with their best result being a draw in 1996/97.

However, New Zealand did seal a 2-1 away series win over Pakistan in 2018 - albeit coming on neutral soil in the UAE.