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New Zealand’s top-order took charge and made the West Indies bowlers look tepid on Day One of the first Test. R Vishal looks back at the events that unfolded and writes about the talking points from Jamaica.
Chris Gayle’s 100th Test
Arguably West Indies cricket’s finest player of the 21st century across formats, Chris Gayle became only the ninth cricketer from the Caribbean to complete a century of Tests. Playing in his home ground in Jamaica on the momentous occasion, Gayle was felicitated by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB). New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum handed over a souvenir in a ceremony before the start of the game.
Tom Latham solves New Zealand’s opening woes
The Christchurch-born southpaw had played only a solitary Test before the game and the team management was vindicated for their selection. Tom Latham was selected ahead of another young opener in Hamish Rutherford. Latham should be lauded for the patience in grinding down the West Indies attack. After plenty of dress rehearsals to find the right pair of openers, Latham’s knock puts him in good stead. Peter Fulton though, continues to disappoint and his miserable run with the bat continued.
Kane Williamson’s stock rises
With runs being hard to come by in the first session, Kane Williamson stepped out and got the scoreboard ticking after lunch. Williamson’s batting gears reversed towards the end of the day’s play with Ross Taylor finding the gaps with ease. He was stuck on 93 for an astounding 33 deliveries before racing to his century with two back-to-back boundaries. This bloody-minded approach exemplified the makings of a thoroughbred Test cricketer — choosing an appropriate time for a respective approach. In the last couple of years, Williamson has been amongst the top run-getters for New Zealand. More feathers adorned his hat in the day when he reached 2,000 Test runs and joined an illustrious list of cricketers to reach the landmark before turning 24. Williamson and Latham shared a 165-run stand for the second wicket.
TV Replays come to New Zealand’s rescue
Shortly after lunch, it looked like rookie opener Latham threw his wicket away with a poor shot of Jerome Taylor. But alas! Replays showed that the West Indian fast bowler had overstepped and the ball ended up being a no-ball.
Comebacks — Jerome Taylor roars, spinners flop
Jerome Taylor came back into the side after a five-year absence and made an impact straight away. The pacer bowled a stump to stump line and was remarkably accurate. The hosts got off to a great start when he induced an edge of Fulton for new captain Denesh Ramdin to take the catch. He should have had Latham’s wicket too and was the pick of the bowlers.
The tweakers, Sulieman Benn and Shane Shillingford — also making a return, were unimpressive. Despite the pitch being slow and conducive to spin, the duo were negated easily by the batsmen and erred in line on a number of occasions. Benn and Shillingford also showed a lack of attacking intent to induce batsmen to make mistakes.
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