So, congratulations Mitchell Santner. A maiden test century – your highest first-class score, no less, hitting 126 – how are you feeling?

"Yeah - not bad."

Well, you were part of a record partnership with BJ Watling – your name goes in the books as part of New Zealand's highest seventh-wicket stand. That must be an honour.

"Yeah - that's nice, aye?"


But surely finishing the day with those incredible figures – 8.4-4-6-3 – must have been a huge boost to your confidence.

"It was nice to take a few wickets."

Overall though, this has to the best day of your cricketing career, yes?

"It's probably up there."

On a day in which the Black Caps broke a slew of records, add another to the list – "Most understatements in a post-match interview".

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Superb on the pitch, Santner wasn't too keen on talking himself up off it, instead deflecting praise on to Watling, and stressing that there's plenty of work left to be done if New Zealand are to claim another test victory.

Both are worthy points. Watling was just as excellent in his record knock of 205 – "he faced over 400 rocks", exclaimed an impressed Santner – and seven wickets are still required for the Black Caps to take down England in the first test.


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But, Santner is the main reason that they're so close to victory, with his 261-run partnership with Watling coming with him as the final recognised batsman, and the three wickets before stumps following a period in which the New Zealand seamers struggled to get purchase from the Bay Oval wicket.

The Black Caps celebrate one of Mitchell Santner's three wickets. Photo / Photosport
The Black Caps celebrate one of Mitchell Santner's three wickets. Photo / Photosport

The 27-year-old said his partnership with Watling was much harder than it looked, and explained why they were so cautious at the start, adding just 58 runs in the first session.

"If we came out early trying to score runs and lost a few [wickets], then we might have only had a lead of about 80, and they're back in the game, so our plan was to bat once, and bat big.

"England didn't make it easy, they came out and had six maidens in a row – but we tried to keep bringing the bowlers back and eventually wore them down a little bit."

Mitchell Santner celebrates his century. Photo / Photosport
Mitchell Santner celebrates his century. Photo / Photosport

Also wearing down was the pitch, with cracks and footmarks opening, which Santner took full advantage of before stumps.

"It doesn't tend to spin that much in New Zealand, so it's nice to see some footies and spin for me.

"Watching the way [Jack Leach] bowled, there was a bit of spit and turn, but once the ball gets a little bit soft it's still going to be hard to get them out. It's not going to be easy to get seven wickets on that."

A tricky task, but one Santner and the rest of the New Zealand bowlers are up to – especially after Santner produced one of the great all-round days in New Zealand test cricket history.

Not that he'll publicly admit it.