Best strikes as NZ rebuild
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Tino Best helped West Indies overcome a century, third-wicket stand between Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor, as New Zealand continued their recovery in the second Digicel Test on Thursday here.
The livewire Best has been the most successful Windies bowler so far with 2-26 from 12 overs, as the New Zealanders reached 152 for three in their first innings at the break, after they were sent in to bat on the opening day.
Best, extracting true bounce from the Sabina Park pitch, scalped Taylor, when the Black Caps’ captain chased a wide, short, rising delivery and was caught behind from a top-edge for 60. He batted 131 minutes, faced 100 balls and struck 10 fours, putting on 103 with Guptill.
But the home team failed to make further inroads into the batting, as Guptill, not out on 60, and Kane Williamson, not out on 17, defied them for the remainder of the session.
After there was brief delay to the re-start following rain during the lunch interval, a short ball from Roach was smashed through mid-wicket for four by Taylor, taking him to his 50 from 91 balls, and he celebrated with rasping cut through backward point for another four.
But Best struck just when it appeared that Taylor was getting into a groove before Guptill swung a delivery from off-spinner Sunil Narine through mid-wicket for his third four to reach his third 50 of the series from 119 balls.
Just prior to the break, Narsingh Deonarine, bowling his part-time off-spin, should have tightened the screws on the visitors, but he failed to hold onto a head-high return chance with Kane Williamson on 17.
Before lunch, compatriots Kemar Roach and Best Best had New Zealand wobbling on 11 for two in the first half-hour, but Guptill and Taylor led a recovery for New Zealand, taking them 74 for two at the interval.
Roach made the breakthrough, when he had B.J. Watling caught at first slip for two, playing defensively forward to a pitched-up delivery, although TV replays seemed to suggest that he may have delivered a front-foot no-ball.
Best followed up in the next over, when a well-pitched delivery that moved away squared Brendon McCullum up and he was caught behind for a fourth-ball duck from a thin edge.
The two West Indies fast bowlers were tamed however, when Taylor came to the crease and joined Guptill.
Best came close to removing Taylor early in his innings, when the batsman fended a snorter into no man’s land between gully fielder Marlon Samuels and backward point fielder Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Approaching lunch, Narine was the grieving bowler, when Guptill, on 27, glanced a delivery from the off-spinner down the leg-side just past wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin.
Injuries forced both sides to make changes to their line-ups from the previous Test, which West Indies won by nine wickets last Monday at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua, taking a 1-0 lead in the two-Test series.
West Indies brought Best in to replace injured fellow fast bowler Ravi Rampaul, while New Zealand included Watling, Tim Southee and Trent Boult for the injured pair of left-handed opener Daniel Flynn and left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori, along with out-of-favour Chris Martin.
NEW ZEALAND 1st Innings
B.J. Watling c Gayle b Roach 2
M. Guptill not out 62
B. McCullum c wkpr Ramdin b Best 0
*R. Taylor c wkpr Ramdin b Best 60
K. Williamson not out 17
Extras (b4, lb1, nb6) 11
TOTAL (3 wkts) 152
K. Williamson, D. Brownlie, +K. van Wyk, D. Bracewell, T. Southee, N. Wagner, T. Boult to bat
Fall of wickets: 1-10 (Watling), 2-11 (McCullum), 3-114 (*Taylor)
Bowling: Roach 10-1-45-1 (nb1); Best 12-1-26-2; Sammy 10-1-31-0 (nb2); Narine 18-6-42-0 (nb3); Samuels 1-0-2-0; Deonarine 1-0-1-0
WEST INDIES: C. Gayle, K. Powell, A. Fudadin, M. Samuels, S. Chanderpaul, N. Deonarine, +D. Ramdin, *D. Sammy, S. Narine, K. Roach, T. Best
Toss: West Indies
Umpires: M. Erasmus (South Africa), P. Reiffel (Australia)
TV umpire: R. Kettleborough (England)
Match referee: R. Madugalle (Sri Lanka)
Reserve umpire: G. Brathwaite (West Indies/Barbados)