Kemar Roach © Getty Images (File Photo)
By R Vishal
Jun 11, 2014
New Zealand took control of the first Test against West Indies at Jamaica after a clinical bowling performance, led by Tim Southee and debutant spinner Mark Craig dismissed the hosts for 262. The Kiwis now have a gargantuan lead of 246 at the end of the day’s play but the Windies clawed their way back though disciplined bowling by their frontline pacers Jerome Taylor and Kemar Roach, who got a couple of early wickets in the last quarter of the day’s play.
Through a quality bowling performance, running through the West Indies batting order and cleaning them up for 262, New Zealand opted to bat again despite with West Indies falling 47 behind the follow-on mark. Opener Peter Fulton’s woes continued after he was caught behind, trying to chase a wide delivery from Taylor. Kane Williamson then departed for a second time in a row in misjudging a straighter delivery by Roach that crashed on his off-stump. Opener Tom Latham and nightwatchman Ish Sodhi lived dangerously at the end of the day’s play with the score on 14 for two.
Earlier in the day Chris Gayle led front from the front and looked poised to score a century on his 100th Test but departed for 64. Gayle was victim of Southee’s ruthless accuracy that had him at sea throughout his stay at the crease. Shivnarine Chanderpaul scored yet another half-century but ran out of partners during a typical gritty knock of an unbeaten 84.
Whenever wickets fell they fell in heaps for the hosts and that was their biggest Achilles Heel during the innings. There were three ducks and it was the first time since Steve Hamison’s fiery spell of seven for 12 in 2004 to clean the Windies for 47 that this occurred. After a decent partnership between Gayle and Chanderpaul, Southee followed Gayle’s wicket with a cracker of a delivery to Marlon Samuels. Samuels was beaten by the in-swinger and was caught plumb in front. Craig, too oozed confidence on debut and was the architect-in-chief in the first session of the day’s play with a double break of his own. Ish Sodhi took the important wicket of Darren Bravo.
After losing half their side for 111, Denesh Ramdin and Chanderpaul steadily built a solid partnership. The wicket of the West Indies captain at the stroke of the Tea break was a telling blow. Southee was on target yet again and Ramdin was outfoxed by a slow delivery that got a glove and looped up in the air. BJ Watling took a safe catch and a 72-run partnership was broken.
That being the last recognised batting pair, New Zealand went for the kill and were attacking relentlessly to polish off the tail. They were immediately after the Tea break when Kemar Roach edged the ball to Peter Fulton at first slip and a lower order collapse looked ominous. Jerome Taylor didn’t last long as New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum took an excellent catch. McCullum dived forward, full length and snapped the ball centimeters off the ground. Trent Boult got his first wicket of the match.
Chanderpaul, meanwhile calmly went about his business in typical fashion in vintage style. He was unperturbed by the mayhem at the other end and brought up his 63rd half-century. With that, the 39-year old Guyanese joins the top five list of maximum number half-centuries in Test cricket.
Suliemann Benn gave the sparse crowd to roar with irony with a couple of cracking shots of Boult, that reached the fence. With his Curtly Ambrose batting swagger, Benn then targeted the spinners and horns were blaring at the Sabina park. Going for one shot too many and was beaten by the flight on Craig’s delivery and was bowled to give the debutant off-spinner his fourth wicket. Shillingford, like Benn didn’t hold back and tried to clear the infield.
The second new ball was taken by the visitors and Chanderpaul cracked three boundaries of Trent Boult. The outstanding Southee took the final wicket of his second delivery in his comeback spell to finish with four wickets. Chanderpaul, yet again was robbed of a century because of a lack of partners.
New Zealand 508 for 7 decl. (Kane Williamson 113 James Neesham 107; Sulieman Benn 3 for 142, Shane Shillingford 3 for 145) & 14 for 2 (Tom Latham 8*, Ish Sodhi 4*; Jerome Taylor 1 for 4, Kemar Roach 1 for 4) lead West Indies 262 (Chris Gayle 64, Shivnarine Chanderpaul 84*, Denesh Ramdin 39; Mark Craig 4 for 91, Tim Southee 4 for 19) by 260 runs.
Catch all the latest from New Zealand’s 2014 tour of West Indies here
(R Vishal is a journalist and alumnus of Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)