Historic victory for BLACKCAPS

Historic victory for BLACKCAPS

Day four: BLACKCAPS 508-7 dec and 156-8 dec (Tom Latham 73, BJ Watling 22*) beat the West Indies 262 and 216 (Shillingford 53) by 186 runs at Kingston’s Sabina Park in Jamaica.

The BLACKCAPS have beaten the West Indies in the Caribbean for the second time in history, conquering the home side by 186 runs on day four in Kingston.

The New Zealand side have now gone eight Tests undefeated, including three straight victories over the West Indies. 

A knock of 73 from Tom Latham saw the BLACKCAPS claw their way to 156-8 declared, giving the West Indies a target of 403 for victory. However four wickets from debutant Test hero Mark Craig and three from Ish Sodhi extinguished the home side’s hopes, strangling their opposition on 216. 

Earlier, the BLACKCAPS had resumed at 14-2, but stuttered with an early morning collapse. Night watchman Ish Sodhi went in the second over of the day lbw to Jerome Taylor while Ross Taylor fell the next ball also lbw, putting Taylor on a hat-trick.

Captain Brendon McCullum survived the hat-trick delivery and added 17 runs before he was beaten by the spin of Shane Shillingford with a ball that went right through the skipper’s gate.

Latham anchored the innings to be 51 not out at lunch. Partnered with James Neesham, the pair took the BLACKCAPS to 96-5 at the end of the first session after looking in trouble at 14-4 early on day four.

After lunch the message from the shed was to push things along. Neesham went lofting one to long-on for 20, while Latham came down the track to Kemar Roach, but got an edge to a brilliant catch from Gayle at first slip. The young Cantabrian finished on 73 to go with his 83 in the first innings – a superb second Test effort from the opener.

In next was smash and bash merchant Southee, but he only lasted for three runs before he failed to get hold of Sulieman Been and was caught at long-on by Darren Bravo.

Debutant Mark Craig obviously had the message also, slogging his first ball in Test cricket for six – the first man to do so. The declaration at 156-8 came soon after, giving the BLACKCAPS a lead of 402 runs.

Gayle started the chase for 403 in his normal fashion, stroking consecutive balls to the boundary. But Southee was to rain on his 100th Test parade yet again. Firstly Southee removed Gayle’s opening partner Kieran Powell for a duck, with Latham taking a sharp catch at short mid-wicket. Then Southee got the man himself – tempting Gayle to edge one to the keeper - gone for 10. At tea the West Indies were struggling at 15-2.

Following the break, Craig decided to make his new found cult following a little bigger, making inroads almost immediately and crippling the home side’s top order. 

Kirk Edwards fell victim in Craig’s first over, looping it up to Jimmy Neesham who was fielding close in. He then put his foot on the throat with a double wicket maiden, dismissing both Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels. 

His four scalps in the second innings took him to eight wickets overall and the best figures for a BLACKCAP on debut. Add a Man of the Match award and all in all, not a bad Test debut for the Otago man, who is set to quickly become a household name. 

The West Indies tail wagged and provided the crowd with some explosive hitting towards the end, as number 11 Shane Shillingford whacked an unbeaten 53 from 29 balls and recorded the second fastest Test half-century ever.

While adding to what had been an incredible spectacle, it was simply delaying the inevitable and Kane Williamson took the final wicket to bring the match to a close with two balls remaining in the day.

It’s a victory to savour, but the BLACKCAPS attention will soon go to the second Test in Port Of Spain, where they’ll be intent to pick up a series win. 

Day three: West Indies 262 all out (Shivnarine Chanderpaul  84, Tim  Southee 4-19, Mark Craig 4-91) trail BLACKCAPS 14-2 and 508-7 dec by 260 runs at Kingston’s Sabina Park in Jamaica.

The BLACKCAPS remain in control despite some late wobbles on day three of the first Test against the West Indies.

Tim Southee and Mark Craig finished with four wickets each as the home side ended their innings 260 behind. Day four will resume with Tom Latham and Ish Sodhi at the crease and the BLACKCAPS at 14-2. 

Resuming at 19-0, the West Indies openers struggled with Southee’s early overs as he played cat and mouse with Chris Gayle in particular. But it was the spin duo of Craig and Sodhi that did the damage in the first session. Craig collected his first Test wicket having Kieran Powell lbw for 28. Two balls later the debutant sent Kirk Edwards back to the shed without scoring. A thick outside edge was caught by Ross Taylor at first slip, giving Craig a double wicket maiden over.

Sodhi, not wanting to be left out of the action, grabbed his first wicket of the match in the next over with an easy caught and bowled to have Darren Bravo also gone for a duck.

The home side had gone from 60 without loss to be 61-3. However, Gayle was ensuring it wasn’t all one-way traffic in the opening session as he brought up his half century to the delight of his home crowd at Sabina Park.

Only minutes after the lunch break, the Gayle fairytale was over with Southee finally getting a slight edge from the centurion, caught by BJ Watling. The master walked off with 64 runs under his belt. Not quite the century the Kingston crowd was yearning for but a good knock to celebrate his 100 Test milestone.

Southee had his second wicket two balls later, when Marlon Samuels was dismissed lbw for a duck.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul and new skipper Denesh Ramdin consolidated matters for the remainder of the session before Southee broke up the 72-run partnership right on the tea break as Ramdin ballooned a ball to Watling for 39. The West Indies went to tea at 176-6.

From there, it was steady progress through the tail. Kemar Roach went for four, and Jerome Taylor for seven, going to a spectacular catch by Brendon McCullum at mid off. Sulieman Benn played an entertaining 17 from 18 before he was bowled trying to hit Craig out of the ground. 

Shane Shillingford and Chanderpaul edged their team closer to the follow on mark, before Southee and the new ball accounted for the former, and Craig and Southee ended the innings with four wickets apiece.

The BLACKCAPS did not enforce the follow-on, and their negotiation of a tricky period got off to a shaky start when Peter Fulton chased a wide one from Taylor, only to get an edge and he was caught by Ramdin for a duck. 

Kane Williamson was bowled by Roach without playing a shot, to bring nightwatchman Sodhi to the crease. The West Indian attack put the pair under pressure with pace and spin, but they survived to fight on on day four. 

The BLACKCAPS are 260 runs ahead with two days to play. They'll be looking to press home their advantage on day four, while the West Indies will look to battle back into the match. Play starts at 3am Thursday NZ time. 

Day two: BLACKCAPS 508-7 dec (Kane Williamson 113, James Neesham 107, BJ Watling 89, Tom Latham 83) v West Indies 19-0 (Kieran Powell 11*) at Kingston’s Sabina Park in Jamaica.

Jimmy Neesham became the first New Zealander and eighth player in history to score back-to-back centuries in his first two Test matches, making a superb 107 on day two in Kingston. 

A 201 run sixth wicket stand between Neesham and BJ Watling (89) allowed the BLACKCAPS to declare at 508-7. The West Indies saw out the final nine overs of the day to be 19-0 without loss at stumps.

After resuming this morning at 240-2 in front of a small crowd on a sunny Kingston day, the BLACKCAPS lost early wickets with Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum all going before lunch. Taylor was the only one who really added any runs in the first session, as he went through to his 22nd half century just before drinks.

All three early wickets were taken by spin, with Williamson not offering a shot to a Sulieman Benn delivery, while McCullum was another Benn victim, this time caught at first slip by Chris Gayle. Taylor went playing a soft shot off Shane Shillingford to Kirk Edwards at midwicket. 

Neesham, in just his second Test, and Watling took the BLACKCAPS through to lunch before the pair really found their rhythm in the second session.

Neesham started lofting a few to the boundary while the nuggety Watling kept the singles ticking over as they both comfortably brought up their half centuries. Even the arrival of the crowd’s favourite son Gayle at the bowling crease couldn’t undo the pair and they swung the momentum back firmly in favour of the visitors. 

By tea the BLACKCAPS were in full control, though Neesham’s special moment would come soon after the break. The 23-year-old remained poised throughout his innings, backing up his Test century on debut against India and joining an elite club of eight to score centuries in their first two Test innings.  

A fine edge seven runs later brought his knock to a close, but the damage had been done. Watling looked certain to join Neesham and Williamson in three figures, but fell 11 runs short while trying to quicken the run-rate, leading to the declaration. Southee finished with an entertaining 21 not out from seven balls. 

It left the West Indies nine overs to negotiate, but while there were a few hairy moments for the home side, the BLACKCAPS were unable to make a breakthrough.  A dropped catch by Peter Fulton gave Kieran Powell a second life, something they’ll hope doesn’t cost them too much. 

There’s still plenty to play for at Sabina Park, with the BLACKCAPS positioned nicely to pick up their second ever Test victory in the Caribbean. 

Day one: BLACKCAPS 240-2 (Kane Williamson 105*, Tom Latham 83, Ross Taylor 34*) v West Indies at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica.

Kane Williamson's sixth Test century and Tom Latham's 83 were the high points for the BLACKCAPS as they finished day one in a strong position at 240-2 after winning the toss and opting to strap on the pads. 

At the start of the day Brendon McCullum had some luck at the toss, as he got the call right and immediately chose to put his team, including debutant Mark Craig,  in to bat. It was certainly not what the local Jamaican fans were after, as they were keen to see their famous son Chris Gayle come straight out to bat in his 100th Test.
BLACKCAPS skipper Brendon McCullum presents Chris Gayle with a pounamu to mark his 100th Test. 

There had been much debate over which openers would be selected for this match. In the end the BLACKCAPS went for the experience of Peter Fulton mixed with the youth of Tom Latham on a windy and overcast day in Kingston. Unfortunately Fulton would be undone early for just one - Jerome Taylor getting him to poke at a ball caught by the keeper Denesh Ramdin.

In contrast, his fellow opener Latham went on to score 83 in only his second Test for his country. He had earlier survived three referrals – the first shown to be bat pad after an lbw shout, the next proved he had nothing on it after being given caught in close, and the third the most fortunate – a no ball after being caught at point.

But the referrals didn’t rattle him as he went on to make his 50, before popping a return catch to Shillingford to end his innings on 83 from 206 balls. He had added 165 with Williamson for the second wicket.  

Williamson was playing his now-customary steadying role, and was very happy to get into a war of attrition with the home attack. He was patient to the extreme, typified by the 34 balls and 51 minutes he spent on 93. If he was nervous, he certainly didn't show it. 

Ross Taylor was a little more action-packed, getting a life on four after a mix up between the wickets, scrambling to make his ground after a sharp stop and throw from Gayle at mid-wicket. The arrival of the new ball upped the scoring rate, with Taylor tonking Roach for several boundaries through the off side.  Taylor was keen to get at the home bowlers in the gloomy late conditions, and before long the West Indies had reverted to their spin attack with a new-ish ball. 

Williamson avoided a long night in the nineties by clipping Sulieman Benn for two late cuts to the fence in the penultimate over to bring up his ton. It was his first against the West Indies, joining a relatively exclusive club of BLACKCAPS' Caribbean century makers.

With Williamson not out on 105 and Taylor on 34, the BLACKCAPS are in a strong position to bat once and bat big. Set the alarm for 3am tomorrow - it's sure to be worth a watch. 

BLACKCAPS XI: Peter Fulton, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum (c), James Neesham, BJ Watling (wk), Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Mark Craig, Trent Boult.

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