WI eye great escape after Taylor double
DUNEDIN, New Zealand – Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels batted through the final 45 minutes to lift West Indies hopes for a “brighter tomorrow”, after Ross Taylor’s maiden Test double-hundred put New Zealand in a superior position in the first Test on Wednesday here.
Bravo was not out on 37 and Samuels was not out on 14, as the Windies clawed their way to 67 for two, replying to New Zealand’s first innings total of 609 for nine declared at the close on the second day at University Oval.
Makeshift opener Kirk Edwards and regular Kieran Powell were cheap scalps, after Taylor gathered an undefeated 217 to anchor the New Zealanders’ batting and put the onus on the visitors to save the Test over the remaining three days.
Edwards, playing in his first Test since the tour of England last June, was selected to open the batting following the delayed arrival of Kraigg Brathwaite due to visa issues.
But his return lasted only eight minutes before he was caught at second slip off left-arm fast-medium bowler Trent Boult for a seven-ball duck, edging a delivery angled across.
Similarly, left-hander Powell was attracted to a delivery angled across him from Tim Southee and was caught behind for seven, leaving West Indies wobbling on 24 for two.
Samuels joined Bravo and they absorbed the pressure of batting in the closing period of the day, sharing 43 – so far – for the third wicket with visions of great ambitions on the third day.
For close to 8 ¼ hours over the first two days however, the Windies were made to grow tired of the sight of Taylor, as he grinded away for his highest Test score.
The Caribbean side had their chances to restrict Taylor’s impact on the match, but he survived a run-out chance in the fifth over of the day, an edge that fell just short of West Indies captain Darren Sammy at second slip five overs later, and a low, sharp chance to forward short leg fielder Powell off Shane Shillingford when he was 131.
As a result, the Windies were frustrated by a succession of partnerships that revolved around Taylor which carried the Black Caps to their highest Test total against their opposition.
After Sammy gave the visitors an early breakthrough, removing New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum for 113 inside the first half hour, Taylor shared half-century stands with Bradley-John Watling, rookie Ish Sodhi and firebrand South African import Neil Wagner to inflate the home team’s total.
West Indies bowled with far more discipline than the previous day, but Watling defied them and made 41, Sodhi added 35 and Wagner got 37 in a late flourish.
Tino Best was the most successful Windies bowler with 3-148 from 34.1 overs, Narsingh Deonarine claimed 2-76 from 22 overs and Sammy scalped 2-79 from 23.1 overs before he pulled up lame with a tight right glute.
Before lunch, West Indies were frustrated by Taylor and Watling, as the New Zealanders reached 445 for five at the interval, after their tighter bowling reap them a couple of early wickets.
Sammy benefitted from the early pressure, after the Black Caps resumed from their bedtime total of 367 for three, and McCullum and Taylor established a record fourth-wicket stand for the hosts against West Indies of 195.
The West Indies captain bowled McCullum with a perfectly-pitched delivery that moved back to extract the off-stump, after the home team captain had struck 14 fours and three sixes from 134 balls in close to three hours.
Three overs later, Best had the little-known left-hander Corey Anderson caught behind down the leg-side for a 14-ball duck to leave the New Zealanders 385 for five.
Sammy was forced to leave the field with his injury after the first delivery of his 24th over and the pressure eased, as Watling joined Taylor and they batted through to lunch.
To add to West Indies frustrations, both batsmen had a number of close calls, edging a couple deliveries past the stumps and just short of fielders with Taylor a huge dose of good fortune about 20 minutes before the interval.
The Windies also lost their remaining umpire decision review, when Gabriel struck Watling, on 10, on the back pad with a full-length delivery which the technology, on appeal, suggested would have missed leg-stump.
West Indies had more success with the ball before tea, but it was overshadowed by Taylor crossing the 200-run threshold for the first time in his Test career, as New Zealand continued the grind.
Three wickets – two to Deonarine’s uncomplicated off-spin – gave the Windies their best period of the match, but Taylor and Wagner carried the hosts to 575 for eight at the break.
The visitors had early success after lunch, when Best had Watling caught at second slip for 41, edging a forcing back-foot shot, following an 84-run stand for the sixth wicket with Taylor, and Deonarine followed up with the scalp of Tim Southee caught at forward short leg for two from bat-pad.
West Indies met further resistance when Sodhi, playing his third Test and his first on home soil, added 76 for the eighth wicket with Taylor to slow the Caribbean side’s progress.
Some of the discipline the Windies exhibited before lunch deserted them after the interval and this allowed the Black Caps’ batsmen, Taylor in particular, to indulge themselves.
This was highlighted by fast bowler Shannon Gabriel conceding four boundaries in one over that cost 18, as Taylor steadily progressed to his milestone.
Deonarine made a timely intervention, when he held a return catch from a leading edge to dismiss Sodhi for 35 about half-hour before tea before Taylor glanced him to fine leg for three to reach his milestone from 295 balls.
West Indies were put out of their misery about 20 minutes after tea, when Wagner failed to beat Darren Bravo’s throw from deep mid-wicket to bowler Best and was run out going for a second run, prompting the New Zealand declaration.
NEW ZEALAND 1st Innings
(overnight 367 for three)
P. Fulton c Edwards b Sammy 61
H. Rutherford c Deonarine b Shillingford 62
A. Redmond c Samuels b Best 20
R. Taylor not out 217
*B. McCullum b Sammy 113
C. Anderson c wkpr Ramdin b Best 0
+B.J. Watling c Edwards b Best 41
T. Southee c Bravo b Deonarine 2
I. Sodhi c and b Deonarine 35
N. Wagner run out (Bravo/Best) 37
Extras (b10, lb10, nb1) 21
TOTAL (9 wkts declared) 609
T. Boult did not bat
Fall of wickets: 1-95 (Rutherford), 2-117 (Redmond), 3-185 (Fulton), 4-380 (McCullum), 5-385 (Anderson), 6-469 (Watling), 7-472 (Southee), 8-548 (Sodhi), 9-609 (Wagner)
Bowling: Best 34.1-5-148-3; Gabriel 27.5-4-148-0; Sammy 23.1-4-79-2 (nb1); Shillingford 46-7-138-1; Deonarine 22-0-76-2
WEST INDIES 1st Innings
K. Edwards c Fulton b Boult 0
K. Powell c wkpr Watling b Southee 7
D.M. Bravo not out 37
M. Samuels not out 14
Extras (lb8, nb1) 9
TOTAL (2 wkts) 67
S. Chanderpaul, N. Deonarine, +D. Ramdin, *D. Sammy, S. Shillingford, T. Best, S. Gabriel to bat
Fall of wickets: 1-4 (Edwards), 2-24 (Powell)
Bowling: Boult 8-5-7-1; Southee 7-1-15-1; Wagner 6-2-27-0 (nb1); Sodhi 3-0-10-0
Position: West Indies trail by 542 runs with eight first innings wickets standing
Umpires: N. Llong (England), P. Reiffel (Australia)
TV umpire: I. Gould (England)
Match referee: R. Mahanama (Sri Lanka)
Reserve umpire: C. Gaffaney (New Zealand)