Kane Williamson called it “special” after surpassing Ross Taylor on Monday to become New Zealand’s highest Test run-scorer.
Williamson’s century steered New Zealand to 483 all out in their second innings and set England a target of 258 runs to win the second Test in Wellington.
The 32-year-old former captain earned two standing ovations at the Basin Reserve during a superb innings which brought up his 26th Test century.
He raised his bat fleetingly after reaching 29 not out early on Monday to pass Taylor’s record of 7,683 runs.
Williamson left the field to more applause when he fell for 132 to part-time seam bowler Harry Brook.
Williamson was typically modest about his place in the history books.
“It’s not something I have thought a whole lot about but it’s an honour if you look at the names on that list,” he said.
“I admired a lot of them growing up, then played alongside some of them, but it’s special to be in that company.”
Stephen Fleming, also a former Black Caps captain, sits third on 7,172 runs.
Williamson reached the milestone in his 92nd Test and 161st innings, considerably quicker than Taylor’s 112 Tests and 196 visits to the crease.
Now-retired Taylor was quick to compliment Williamson.
“Congratulations, Kane,” Taylor posted on Twitter. “This achievement is a testament to your hard work and dedication to Test cricket, of which I was privy to for a number of years.”
Williamson, a right-handed batsman, started the two-match England series needing only 39 runs to clinch the record.
But he totalled only 10 runs through his first three innings, forming part of a New Zealand top order that struggled against the English seam attack.
He sits 35th on the all-time Test leaderboard, which is topped by Indian great Sachin Tendulkar with 15,921 runs.
NZ's top-scorers in men's Tests
Stats for men’s Test matches only