Ramdin, Chanderpaul lead WI recovery
HAMILTON, New Zealand – Denesh Ramdin collected his fourth Test hundred and Shivnarine Chanderpaul was eyeing his 29th, as they pulled West Indies out of the depths of another depressing batting slump in the third Test against New Zealand on Thursday here.
Ramdin made 107 and Chanderpaul was unbeaten on 94, as West Indies, sent in to bat, reached 289 for six in their first innings at the close on the opening day on a hard, true Seddon Park pitch in conditions similar to a Caribbean Christmas.
The pair carried out a salvage operation after the West Indies top-order crashed against disciplined New Zealand bowling and were wobbling on 86 for five in the first hour after lunch.
Both Ramdin and Chanderpaul frustrated the New Zealand bowlers and had their slices of good fortune, as they shared a new West Indies sixth-wicket record of 200 for Tests in New Zealand, eclipsing 165 between Gordon Greenidge and Jeff Dujon 26 years ago.
Ramdin was 57, when he essayed a slog/sweep at leg-spinner Ish Sodhi and Kane Williamson at mid-wicket failed to hold a shoulder high chance.
He was also dropped on 94, when he tried to collect his third straight four off left-arm fast-medium bowler Trent Boult and Tim Southee failed to hold onto the ball.
Undeterred and guided by the veteran Chanderpaul, the 28-year-old West Indies wicketkeeper/batsman brought up his century when he flashed a delivery from Boult over backward point for his 18th boundary, celebrating with a leap and a wave of the bat.
Choosing discretion as the best part of valour in the closing overs, Ramdin was caught behind following umpires Ian Gould and Nigel Llong checking to see if it was a “bung-ball”.
Ramdin, whose 148-ball innings lasted 3 ½ hours, was trying to keep out a full length delivery that flew from the edge to the ‘keeper off Corey Anderson, whose 3-25 from 14 overs made him the pick of the New Zealand bowlers.
Chanderpaul typically accumulated his runs, passing quintuple Nelson of 11,111 Test runs when he reached 34 and finished the day four runs short of pass Australian Allan Border’s 11,174 Test runs.
Before lunch, West Indies had defied the dismissal of Kieran Powell and made a steady start, as they reached 71 for one at the interval.
Brathwaite, playing his first Test in 20 months in place of the injured Darren Bravo, opened with left-hander Powell and they comfortably batted through the first hour with little incident.
But Powell was caught behind for 26 about 45 minutes before lunch, when he tried to upper cut a short, rising delivery from left-arm medium-fast bowler Neil Wagner.
Edwards, moving down to the more familiar No.3 position, came to the crease and dropped anchor, keeping the New Zealand attack at bay.
Brathwaite was fortunate on 13, when he essayed a loose drive at a delivery from Wagner and Southee at cover muffed a head-high chance.
Apart from this blemish, Brathwaite batted with typical aplomb, mixing sound defence with aggression, gathering five boundaries including a couple crunching pulls off long-hops from leg-spinner Ish Sodhi in the final over before the interval.
His dismissal in the third over after lunch however, triggered a mid-innings crisis, as the Windies, sent in to bat, reached 142 for five at tea.
Brathwaite, Kirk Edwards, Marlon Samuels and Narsingh Deonarine fell for the addition of nine runs in the space of 34 deliveries.
Brathwaite was caught at gully off Southee for 45, trying to get on top of a short, rising delivery.
Edwards, who scored half-centuries opening the batting in each of the two preceding Tests, was caught behind two overs later off the same bowler for six, following a New Zealand review of umpire Lloyd’s not-out verdict.
TV sound replays suggested Edwards got a faint nick, although infra-red imaging technology failed to spot anything significant on his bat.
The decline continued, when Marlon Samuels was caught at gully off Anderson for nine in the next over from an ill-advised, loose drive at a delivery outside the off-stump.
The slump reached its zenith, when left-hander Narsingh Deonarine was adjudged lbw for two to Anderson, moving too far inside the line to work a delivery into the leg-side.
The West Indies left-hander reviewed the decision and TV replays suggested the ball would have clipped the top of the leg-stump, supporting umpire Gould’s original verdict.
Ramdin came to the crease and got into stride quickly with an extra-cover drive off Boult, but it typically took the obdurate Chanderpaul much longer before he straight drove Wagner for his first boundary.
Over the next 3 ½ hours, the two continued to punctuate periods of consolidation with the odd boundary, as they gradually brought some respectability back to the West Indies batting.
New Zealand named an unchanged line-up for the Test, but West Indies brought Brathwaite, off-spinner Sunil Narine and left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul in to replace Bravo, the suspended Shane Shillingford and fast bowler Shannon Gabriel.
Bravo was struck on the left forearm while batting in the nets on the eve of the match on Wednesday, Shillingford has been sidelined by the ICC due to an illegal bowling action and Permaul was preferred ahead of Gabriel on a pitch which West Indies reckon will favour spin bowling later in the match.
The visitors trail 0-1 in the three-Test series, following a defeat by an innings and 73 runs in the second Test which ended last Friday at the Basin Reserve in the New Zealand capital of Wellington.
Rain forced a draw in the first Test which ended two Saturdays ago at University Oval in the South Island city of Dunedin.
The previous Test between the two sides at this venue – almost 14 years ago to the day – offers little comfort to West Indies, having lost by nine wickets, after their batting was undermined by Chris Cairns with a match haul of 10-100.
The Test is also remembered for the dramatic West Indies first innings batting collapse that occurred following a sensational opening stand between century-makers Sherwin Campbell and fellow Barbadian Adrian Griffith that dominated most of the opening day.
WEST INDIES 1st Innings
K. Brathwaite c Williamson b Southee 45
K. Powell c wkpr Watling b Wagner 26
K. Edwards c wkpr Watling b Southee 6
M. Samuels c Williamson b Anderson 0
S. Chanderpaul not out 94
N. Deonarine lbw b Deonarine 2
+D. Ramdin c wkpr Watling b Anderson
*D. Sammy not out 0
Extras (b2, lb6, w1) 9
TOTAL (6 wkts) 289
S. Narine, V. Permaul, T. Best to bat
Fall of wickets: 1-41 (Powell), 2-77 (Brathwaite), 3-78 (Edwards), 4-82 (Samuels), 5-86 (Deonarine), 6-286 (+Ramdin)
Bowling: Boult 19-1-67-0; Southee 20-1-56-2; Wagner 20-4-66-1; Corey Anderson 14-3-25-3; Williamson 4-0-14-0; Sodhi 13-0-53-0
NEW ZEALAND: H. Rutherford, P. Fulton, K. Williamson, R. Taylor, *B. McCullum, Corey Anderson, +B. Watling, T. Southee, I. Sodhi, N. Wagner, T. Boult
Toss: New Zealand
Umpires: I. Gould (England), N. Llong (England)
TV umpire: P. Reiffel (Australia)
Match referee: R. Mahanama (Sri Lanka)
Reserve umpire: D. Walker (New Zealand)