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The third day of the first Test in Jamaica saw New Zealand dominating the day’s play and a late resurgence from the West Indies bowlers too. R Vishal takes a look back at the events that panned out at Kingston.
Chris Gayle vs Tim Southee:
After Test cricket’s 99-day absence, this was a fascinating duel that would have bought connoisseurs on their feet. Chris Gayle, despite not being spectacular was playing a measured innings and was determined to celebrate his landmark 100th Test with a century. However, Tim Southee had other plans. With a hint of swing, the New Zealand pacer was relentless and nearly got the West Indian opener’s edge as many as five times in the first session of the day’s play. Gayle was going strong at 64 in the post lunch session and Brendon McCulllum unleashed Southee for one more time. This time the bowler was rewarded for his persistence as the ball pitched on the ‘corridor’ outside off-stump and the batsman had to play a shot. Gayle edged it to the ‘keeper and two balls later Marlon Samuels was out with a magnificent in-swinger that trapped him plumb in front of the wickets.
Mark Craig makes excellent start to international cricket:
A few years earlier, off-Spinner Mark Craig was suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome — an illness that saps the energy out of a person leaving a him/her constantly tired. International cricket looked like a distant dream but his superlative efforts have put New Zealand on track for a win in the first Test. Craig’s got sharp turn from the wicket — a polar opposite to the ineffectiveness of the West Indian spinners. With McCullum’s aggressive approach, the men surrounding the bat were constantly on their toes. Despite bowling some loose deliveries, Craig made a lasting first impression and was unfortunate to have missed out on a five-for. He may just turn out to be Daniel Vettori’s long term successor as New Zealand’s spin spearhead — a role that is still left vacant in the team. Craig finished with figures of four for 91.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul — the last man standing, again:
Batsmen failed to make an impact around Shivnarine Chanderpaul but the Guyanese has seen this happen plenty of times in his 20-year career. Chanderpaul‘s tried and tested methods were in full cry. When Southee was getting his swing going, the southpaw was patient and frustrated the bowlers. Later in his innings, he was aggressive and found the boundaries at will. Chanderpaul was particularly severe on Trent Boult — off whom he smashed three boundaries in an over. One major criticism that has haunted the veteran is his reluctance to ward off the tail from frontline bowlers. Here again, he had no qualms about giving tail-enders the strike and missed another century as he was stranded on an unbeaten 84 as West Indies folded out for 262.
Kane Williamson’s misjudgment and Peter Fulton’s wretched form:
Amazingly, for the second time in the game, Kane Williamson was bowled while leaving the ball. Suleiman Benn was the beneficiary in the first innings and here it was Kemar Roach who scalped New Zealand’s No 3 in the second essay. Peter Fulton has been given a long rope by the selectors and the opener has been going through a nightmarish run. In the second innings, Fulton fished outside off-stump for a wide delivery and ended up nicking the ball to the ‘keeper for a second-ball duck. It will be surprising if he plays the second Test.
West Indies fight back through their pacers:
After a five-year hiatus, Jerome Taylor made a creditable comeback in the first innings. His tidy and stump-to-stump accuracy had the visitors’ batsmen on the back-foot again and played a key part in getting two wickets towards the end of the day’s play. Kemar Roach was impressive too although the wicket that he got had more to do with Williamson misreading the length of the delivery.
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