Tim Southee struck thrice for New Zealand © Getty Images (File photo)
By R Vishal
Jun 11, 2014
New Zealand were on top of West Indies at Tea with their pace spearhead Tim Southee striking thrice in the session to leave the hosts tottering at 176 for six, breaking a steady 72-run stand between Denesh Ramdin and Shivnarine Chanderpaul. West Indies now face a tall order with 133 runs needed to avoid the follow on.
In the first session of the day’s play the New Zealand spinners rocked the West Indian boat with quick strikes that didn’t allow the hosts to settle down and build regular partnerships. Craig was excellent in his debut Test and did everything what the West Indian spinners — Shane Shillingford and Suliemann Benn failed for two days on the trot.
After the triple-breathroughs, veterans Chris Gayle and the battlescared veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul were determined to buid a substantial partnership and were going steadily. Gayle reached his half-century before lunch and looked poised to add his name to the list of players to score a century on their hundredth Test. Just then, Tim Southee was rewarded for his outstanding work in the morning session. Pitching the ball on a batsmen’s dreaded corridor outside off-stump, the ball took a nick of Gayle’s bat and the Jamaican departed. He was three short of the 7000-run mark.
Two balls later, Southee produced an absolute peach. The ball swung into Marlon Samuels and was trapped plump in front of the wickets. It was an excellent display of swing by the 23-year old Kiwi pacer. With swing on display at one end, Craig continued to trouble the batsmen with his loop and flight.
Skipper Denesh Ramdin, though, went in with a positive approach at the crease and was the perfect foil Chanderpaul, who, in his typical fashion was frustrating the bowlers. Chanderpaul stood like a rock and was not leaving anything to chance. The heat may have taken a toll on the bowlers as after the initial phase of the innings, the batsmen started to found boundaries in fairly quick succession. Closing in on the Tea break, Chanderpaul got a thick edge, trying to drive Craig, but the ball went slightly wide of Ross Taylor at first slip. Southee did get another breakthough and it might turn out to be a telling blow. A slower delivery completely deceived Ramdin and the outfoxed West Indies captain’s one handed clip was safely pouched by keeper’ BJ Watling. The duo had added 72 for the sixth wicket.
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 146 for 6 (Chris Gayle 64, Shivnarine Chanderpaul 46*, Denesh Ramdin 39; Tim Southee 3 for 19, Mark Craig 2 for 47) by 332 runs
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(R Vishal is a journalist and alumnus of Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)