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Opinion: Kane Williamson, our first to 18 Test tons - but which was the best?

If there was ever any doubt as to Kane Williamson's standing as New Zealand's greatest ever batsman, today's century against England at Eden Park is all the proof the Black Caps' diminutive genius' doubters need to cement his place among cricket's best.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson celebrates his century against South Africa. Source: Photosport

To celebrate the Black Caps captain's record 18th Test century, it's only fair to look back at his greatest Test innings for New Zealand, celebrating Williamson's achievement.

5. 166 v Australia - Perth, 2015

After a demoralising loss in the series opener in Brisbane, the Black Caps headed to Perth with a point to prove. Australian captain Steve Smith won the toss, wasting no time in deciding to bat first at the WACA, as he and David Warner laid waste to the New Zealand attack, positing an intimidating 559/9 declared.

With their collective backs to the wall, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor responded with class. The pair added 265 for the third wicket, Williamson scoring a fluent 166, only overshadowed by Taylor's mammoth 290. The pair's gargantuan performances ensured that New Zealand would at least save the second Test match, heading to Adelaide with the series still alive.

4. 131 v India - Ahmedebad, 2010

For years, those in the know had heard of a young gun out of Tauranga by the name of Kane Williamson, predicted to be among New Zealand's best ever batsmen. Picked to debut in India at the age of 20, Williamson showed that he was more than up to the task of Test cricket, belting a fluent hundred on debut - while his idol Sachin Tendulkar could only watch on in the field.

Williamson is ranked in the top five of batsmen in all forms of the game. Source: 1 NEWS

In an innings that defied his age, Williamson occupied the crease for over six and a half hours, giving the world only a glimpse of what was to come.

3. 100* v England - Auckland, 2018

The innings that saw Williamson overtake both Martin Crowe and Ross Taylor to reach the record 18th Test ton. Winning the toss and bowling first in New Zealand's first ever pink ball Test, the Black Caps skittled England for a paltry 58 in under a session. With conditions seeming to favour the bowlers, Williamson was a class apart - reaching the dinner break with more runs than the entire England batting order combined.

He then batted superbly through the difficult dusk session, looking assured and composed against England's two all-time leading wicket takers in James Anderson and Stuart Broad - reaching the close of play 91 not out.

Steve Smith had high praise for the New Zealand captain, but denied that his side will target the Kiwi lynchpin. Source: 1 NEWS

History was made the next day - today, as Eden Park rose as one to celebrate Williamson's 18th time past three figures.

2. 192 v Pakistan - Sharjah, 2015

A match that will sadly be remembered for reasons other than what happened on the field. After the first day of play, Pakistan left the field 281/3 - looking guaranteed of posting a huge first inning score. That night, Australia's Phillip Hughes passed away, having been fatally struck whilst playing for South Australia to leave the cricketing world devastated.

Captain Brendon McCullum insisted that the match should have been called off there and then, but to no avail. Instead, New Zealand reduced Pakistan from 281/3 to 351 all out to give themselves a chance of a first innings lead.

Along with McCullum, Williamson batted without fear or consequence bringing up his - at the time - highest Test score of 192, putting on 297 for the second wicket with his captain. New Zealand would go on to seal an emphatic innings and 80 run victory, earning a 1-1 series draw away to Pakistan in the UAE - a rare feat for any international team touring that country.

1. 102* v South Africa - Wellington, 2013

Having sparkled with a hundred on debut, Williamson had to wait another 10 Tests before reaching three figures once again, but boy was it worth it.

Needing to bat out the last day to salvage a draw against easily the best bowling attack in the world - with the likes of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander at their best - Williamson defied all odds to last over six hours. A duck for Brendon McCullum and with Ross Taylor out injured, Williamson stood up when his country needed him most, batting out the last day on a tricky pitch where New Zealand's next best score was 39.

His 102* was the catalyst for his transformation from promising talent, to genuine world class batsman, and he hasn't looked back since.