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New Zealand on top at lunch on Day Three despite Chris Gayle’s 50, 1st Test

Chris Gayle has crossed the fifty-run mark © Getty Images (File Photo)
Chris Gayle has crossed the fifty-run mark © Getty Images (File Photo)

Jun 10, 2014

West Indies finish the morning session of Day Three of the first Test at Kingston, Jamaica at 97 for the loss of three wickets. Chris Gayle has reached his fifty and is forging a strong partnership with Shivnarine Chanderpaul, but New Zealand have won another session in this Test match, this time thanks to their spinners; Mark Craig and Ish Sodhi.

The New Zealand bowlers started off right on the money. The pacers, Tim Southee and Trent Boult started off in brilliant fashion bowling a probing line and length from ball one. Southee to Chris Gayle, in particular, was an exciting contest as Gayle kept on poking at deliveries outside his off stump, only to miss 95 percent of them. On the other end, Boult was bowling at some considerable pace and troubling Kieran Powell.

Despite their wonderful efforts, neither of the two could claim for a wicket. There were a few close calls, but both Gayle and Powell survived. The first 10-15 overs yielded just 10-odd runs, but the openers kept their calm and preserved their wickets. Then James Neesham and Mark Craig replaced the pace duo, and that eased the scoring sails a bit.

Gayle could finally find the middle of the bat, and Powell too scored a few runs. But Craig was getting enough turn out of the pitch to keep him interested in flighting the ball and inviting strokes from the batsmen. Soon Ish Sodhi replaced the rather ineffective Neesham from the other end. Sodhi has got appreciable bounce and turn so far from the pitch. And then came the flurry of breakthroughs.

Criag, in the 28th over of the innings struck dual blows as he accounted for the wickets of Powell and No. 3 Kirk Edwards in the space of three balls. First he trapped Powell in front of the middle stump. The umpire had no hesitation in raising the finger. Powell asked Gayle is he should review it, Gayle said no. Then Kirk Edwards, who stayed for just two balls in the middle. He got a thick outside edge, and Ross Taylor took a good diving catch to his right.

These two wickets sort of opened the floodgates for New Zealand as Sodhi then, in the next over, accounted for the prized wicket of Darren Bravo. Bravo too lasted just six balls in the middle and did not disturb the scorers before handing a simple return catch to Sodhi off the latter’s bowling.

Gayle has got gradually fluent with his strokemaking as the match has progressed. He is now accompanied by Shivnarine Chanderpaul in the middle.

Brief scores:

New Zealand 508 for 7 decl. (Kane Williamson 113 James Neesham 107; Sulieman Benn 3 for 142, Shane Shillingford 3 for 145) lead West Indies 97 for 3 (Chris Gayle 59*, Mark Craig 2 for 23) by 411 runs.

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