Sri Lanka were 26 for 2 by the close of play at Wellington’s Basin Reserve. Sri Lanka had lost the first Test by two wickets in Christchurch on Monday.
Williamson also scored a century, his 27th in Tests, in the second innings of that match, but Saturday’s magnificent effort in the company of Nicholls was an entirely different order of dominance.
After a rain-disrupted day one, Williamson resumed on 26 not out with his country 155-2 and barely put a foot wrong until he holed out in the deep in the late afternoon with 215 runs to his name.
The 32-year-old became the first New Zealand batsman to score 8,000 Test runs as he marched to his sixth double century, pounding 23 fours and a couple of sixes in the 296-ball innings.
Nicholls pillaged runs at a slightly lower rate at the other end as he worked his way out of a recent form slump with his highest Test score of 200 not out. It was the first time two New Zealand batsmen had scored double centuries in one innings.
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Sri Lanka are not the first team to regret winning the toss and choosing to bowl on an apparent greentop only to watch the Black Caps batting for a couple of days.
Daryl Mitchell scored a quickfire 17 and Tom Blundell 17 not out after Williamson’s departure as New Zealand swung the bat to inflate their tally before the declaration.
Seamer Lahiru Kumara (0-164) of the visiting bowlers suffered the most but Asitha Fernando and Kasun Rajitha were both also well into three figures in the debit column.
New Zealand on 🔝 at stumps on Day 2 against Sri Lanka!Watch #NZvSL live on https://t.co/CPDKNxoJ9v (in select reg… https://t.co/tOI0P2dJJm
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Matt Henry wasted little time in showing them how to bowl on the track, tempting opener Oshada Fernando into a push at the ball which Blundell gobbled up behind the wickets.
Doug Bracewell then celebrated his return to Test cricket after a gap of nearly seven years with the wicket of Kusal Mendis, who departed for a duck after Doug Conway took a brilliant catch at point.
Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, who was 16 not out, and nightwatchman Prabath Jayasuriya, unbeaten on four, will resume on Sunday with Sri Lanka a hefty 554 runs in arrears.
(With inputs from Reuters)