Best strikes, but slow going for WI
WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Tino Best gave West Indies their only breakthrough before tea, as their plans of putting a dent in New Zealand’s batting hit a snag in the second Test on Wednesday here.
Best claimed the scalp of Kane Williamson for 45, but a half-century, fourth-wicket stand between Ross Taylor, unbeaten on 70, and opposing captain Brendon McCullum, not out on 37, helped the New Zealanders reach 186 for three in their first innings at the break on the opening day at the Basin Reserve, after they were sent in to bat.
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Best has been the most successful Windies bowler so far, taking 2-47 from 11 overs and made the breakthrough about 40 minutes after lunch, following a period when runs appeared to be coming easily for the home team’s batsmen.
Best had Kane Williamson caught at second slip for 45, trying to force a rising delivery through the off-side, bringing an end to a third wicket stand of 88 with Taylor.
After this, the Windies failed to maintain a consistent line and length, allowing Taylor to keep in the groove to reach his 50 from 80 balls with the penultimate of his eight fours, a pull through mid-wicket off Shannon Gabriel, and McCullum to settle in.
Sammy came close to removing his opposite number, when McCullum, on 28, pulled a short ball to deep mid-wicket, but a despairing dive from Narsingh Deonarine only succeeded in him getting his fingertips to the ball, as it sped into the boundary for the last of the batsman’s five fours.
Before lunch, West Indies made a bright start to the Test, after they were greeted by a green-top pitch and chilly, overcast weather, but a crucial dropped catch was a blemish.
Sammy and Best provided the Windies with scalps in the first hour, but Taylor was given a reprieve before he had scored and proceeded to rebuild the innings with Kane Williamson, as the New Zealanders reached 79 for two at the interval.
Best was left grieving in the second over – his fourth – of a second spell immediately following the drinks break, when Taylor edged a loose drive at a delivery outside the off-stump and Kirk Edwards muffed a shoulder-high chance at third slip.
The tide then started to turn against West Indies, when Taylor and Williamson chose discretion as the best part of valour, navigating their way through the remainder of the morning period without further incident.
Best had been in the thick of the action from the very first ball of the match, when he appeared to give the match a rousing start and umpire Paul Reiffel, a former Australia fast bowler, adjudged opener Peter Fulton lbw.
The Windies fast bowler and his teammates were however, left disappointed, when the decision was overturned following a review initiated by Fulton with television replays showing he had inside-edged the ball onto his front pad.
The Caribbean side had another chance for an early scalp, but Sammy dropped left-handed opener Hamish Rutherford, on eight, at second slip off Gabriel in the sixth over of the morning with the home team 14 without loss.
Sammy made up for his indiscretion in the next over though. He persisted with a line outside the off-stump and a good length, and Fulton eventually sparred at the first ball of the sixth over and was caught behind for six.
Sammy and Gabriel bowled tightly to keep the early pressure on the New Zealand top-order batsmen before Best returned for a second spell from the pavilion end and had Rutherford caught behind for 11 trying to steer a rising delivery through the slips followed by that crucial dropped chance to Taylor.
West Indies are fielding an unchanged line-up, but the New Zealanders have brought Williamson in to replace Aaron Redmond.
The three-Test series is level 0-0, following a draw in the first Test which ended last Saturday at University Oval in Dunedin.
The Windies have lost their last two Tests at this venue, but the Black Caps have had a hard time playing in their capital city – failing to win on the last seven occasions dating back to third Test of their 2008-9 home series against India.
The visitors’ previous victory at this venue by an innings and 322 runs was under the captaincy of fast bowling legend Courtney Walsh. It was nearly two decades ago and was also the last time they won a Test – and consequently, a Test series – in this country.
NEW ZEALAND 1st Innings
P. Fulton c wkpr Ramdin b *Sammy 6
H. Rutherford c wkpr Ramdin b Best 11
K. Williamson c *Sammy b Best 45
R. Taylor not out 70
*B. McCullum not out 37
Extras (b12, lb5) 17
TOTAL (3 wkts) 186
C. Anderson, +B. Watling, I. Sodhi, T. Southee, N. Wagner, T. Boult to bat
Fall of wickets: 1-14 (Fulton), 2-24 (Rutherford), 3-112 (Williamson)
Bowling: Best 11-0-47-2; Gabriel 13-4-31-0; Sammy 18-3-63-1; Shillingford 9-1-23-0; Deonarine 2-0-5-0
WEST INDIES: K. Powell, K. Edwards, D.M. Bravo, M. Samuels, S. Chanderpaul, N. Deonarine, +D. Ramdin, D. Sammy, S. Shillingford, T. Best, S. Gabriel
Toss: West Indies
Umpires: I. Gould (England), P. Reiffel (Australia)
TV umpire: N. Llong (England)
Match referee: R. Mahanama (Sri Lanka)
Reserve umpire: G. Baxter (New Zealand)