Kane Williamson held fort for New Zealand along with Tom Latham © Getty Images (File photo)
Kingston: June 8, 2014
New Zealand displayed discipline and caution over the first two hours of the first Test against the West Indies to reach 62 for one at the lunch interval after choosing to bat first at Sabina Park in Jamaica on Sunday.
Opening batsman Tom Latham (37 not out) and Kane Williamson (17 not out) survived a determined examination from the bowlers after fast bowler Jerome Taylor marked his return to international cricket following a four-and-a-half year absence by having Peter Fulton caught at the wicket for one.
Taylor and fellow paceman Kemar Roach then gave way to the specialist slow bowlers with the combination of Sulieman Benn, Shane Shillingford and Marlon Samuels accounting for 18 of the 32 overs bowled in the session. But the vigil of the New Zealanders, and particularly Latham, was not without incident.
Wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin, leading the West Indies for the first time, requested a referral of an lbw appeal in Samuels’ first over, the “not out” verdict being upheld by television umpire Ian Gould.
The TV official was called upon shortly after to examine the replays one more time when Latham challenged the verdict by on-field umpire Richard Illingworth to rule him caught at short-leg by Kieran Powell off Benn a few overs later.
To the disappointment of the West Indies players and Latham’s relief, the decision was overturned.
Fans at Sabina Park were in celebratory mood at the start of the day with local hero Chris Gayle being honoured for becoming just the ninth West Indian, and second Jamaican after former fast bowler Courtney Walsh, to play 100 Test matches.
While the hard-hitting opening batsman is less than 100 percent fit as he continues to receive treatment for a bulging disc in his spine, his determination to play in front of his adoring home fans won out in the selectors’ final consideration over his fitness.
Acutely aware of a pitch expected to offer considerable assistance to the slow bowlers, both teams opted for two specialist spinners with New Zealand giving a debut to 27-year-old off-spinner Mark Craig alongside leggie Ish Sodhi, who is appearing in only his seventh Test.