West Indies draw first blood

West Indies have taken the first Test against the BLACKCAPS with a nine wicket win at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Anitgua.

The West Indies made short work of the visitors to dismiss them early on day five for 272. Their fourth innings target of 102 proved no problem and the home side claimed a one - nil lead in the two match Test series.

Gayle was his usual self in the West Indies pursuit, smashing 64 off 49 balls. Bracewell made the lone breakthrough for New Zealand, snaring the wicket of Keiran Powell for 30 – but it wouldn’t be enough.

After 19.3 overs Assad Fudadin confirmed the West Indies advantage, with a single confirming a resounding nine wicket win.

The BLACKCAPS had started the day on 199 for three, just 28 runs ahead of the West Indies first innings total of 522.

The visitors soon lost captain Ross Taylor, out LBW for 21, but night-watchman, Neil Wagner, and Dean Brownlie patiently saw their side through to lunch, adding just 26 runs during the period but managed to preserve their wickets.

Disaster struck just after the break with Wagner’s 103 ball vigil ending when he was caught behind for 13 while Brownlie edged a delivery to first slip for five. 

Vettori lasted 30 deliveries before he was nicked out for 13 and Doug Bracewell was given LBW without scoring.

With only one wicket remaining, Kruger van Wyk looked for the boundary with the diminutive wicket-keeper batsman hitting 30 runs before he was bowled out, leaving New Zealand ahead by just 101.

Kemar Roach was the best of the West Indian attack with five for 60. 

The BLACKCAPS now travel to Kingston for the second Test at Sabina Park where they will try level the series.

Day four: Intriguing final day looms

The BLACKCAPS claimed back the lead on the fourth day of the first Test at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Anitgua, but will face an up-hill battle on the fifth day.

The West Indies will be looking to tear through the New Zealand batting line-up early in tomorrow’s play, with New Zealand holding just a 28 run advantage with seven wickets in hand.

Having dismissed West Indies for 522 earlier, the BLACKCAPS needed a further 171 runs to level the first innings totals.  

Martin Guptill and Daniel Flynn managed to put on 47 for the first wicket but it was once again Sunil Narine who got the breakthrough.  New Zealand’s adversary managed to get a delivery to straighten, trapping Flynn LBW for 20.

Guptill though continued to close the gap on the West Indies advantage alongside Brendon McCullum. The pair put on 127 for the second wicket and were only two runs away from overtaking the West Indies, until Guptill (67) ballooned one from Narine into the hands of Assad Fudadin at short leg.

With only a few overs left McCullum (84) departed having cut a ball off Kemar Roach back onto his stumps. It was a massive blow for the BLACKCAPS who would have been desperate to keep as many wickets as possible heading into the final day.

Night watchmen Neil Wagner joined captain Ross Taylor in the middle for the final overs of the day and managed to hold on and see New Zealand finish 199 for three.

Their resilience will be well tested on the final day as the BLACKCAPS try to hold on for a draw.

Earlier New Zealand had dismissed the West Indies on the stroke of lunch to leave them with five sessions remaining to bat.

The West Indies had started the day at 442 for six and their batsmen showed their intent early, with an aggressive partnership taking them through to 497 before Chris Martin struck.

New Zealand’s strike bowler had Narsingh Deonarine bowled out for 79 before the veteran seamer assisted with a run-out to get rid of Sunil Narine for four.

The loss of wickets didn’t deter Darren Sammy who continued to pepper the boundary, bringing up his 50 with a well struck six off Daniel Vettori.  However, an attempt to replicate the stroke of the very next ball brought about his downfall as the ball flew of the top-edge and comfortably into the hands of the bowler.

A successful review gave Doug Bracewell the wicket of Ravi Rampaul, LBW for one, handing him figures of two for 96.

Martin ended the innings with three for 134 while Kane Williamson chipped in with two for 47.

Day three: West Indies edge in front

The West Indies hold a 91 run advantage over the BLACKCAPS in the first Test at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.
Openers Chris Gayle and Kieran Powell continued to punish the New Zealand bowling attack, putting on 254 for the first wicket. With some help from the middle-order the West Indies managed to end day three at 442 for six.

The BLACKCAPS bowling performance though improved dramatically as the day went on. Two quick wickets from Chris Martin saw Marlon Samuels and Shivnarine Chanderpaul depart cheaply, somewhat restricting the West Indies lead.

Earlier both Gayle and Powell brought up centuries to put their side in a commanding position. Gayle brought up his 150 and the West Indies were only 97 behind the BLACKCAPS with all ten wickets in hand.

It was at that point the BLACKCAPS made their first breakthrough – one they desperately needed.

It came in the way of part time bowler Kane Williamson. Williamson had Gayle dropped at slip earlier, but finally saw the back of the dynamic opener when he tried to clear him over long-off, only to fall short into the hands of Brendon McCullum.   

Fellow centurion Powell fell to debutant Neil Wagner not long after and New Zealand had the chance to fight their way back into the match.

The visitors missed a run-out opportunity to dismiss Fudadin, but an inside edge onto his stumps from Samuels and snick through to the keeper from Chanderpaul gave the BLACKCAPS some encouragement.

Unfortunately by this point the West Indies were only 16 runs behind at 335 for four.

A partnership between Fudadin and Narsingh Deonarine saw the home side surpass the BLACKCAPS total. At 410 for four the West Indies looked to be in a good position to build a big first innings lead.

New Zealand however finished the day strongly, with Williamson taking another crucial wicket and Doug Bracewell picking up his first scalp of the match.

In almost a replication of Gayle’s dismissal, Fudadin holed out to McCullum in the deep, while new batsmen Denesh Ramdin sent the bails flying when he edged a short delivery from Bracewell back onto his stumps.

Darren Sammy (8*) survived an extremely tight stumping appeal and along with Deonaire (54*) saw the West Indies through to the end of the day without further loss.

Both Martin and Williamson collected two wickets apiece, while Wagner claimed his first Test wicket and Bracewell got one at the end of the day as well.

It will be a case of damage control tomorrow for the BLACKCAPS, as they try to finish off the West Indies batting line-up and limit their first innings lead.

Day two: West Indies battling back

The West Indies fought back on day two of the first Test match as they made a solid start with the bat having dismissed the BLACKCAPS for 351.

An unbeaten stand of 145 between Chris Gayle and Kieran Powell leaves New Zealand with a lead of 206, but the visitors will be desperate to make an early break through on day three.

Gayle made his intentions clear in the first over of the West Indies innings, smashing 16 runs. Between himself and Powell, the pair took the game away from the BLACKCAPS.

It wasn’t all plain sailing for the West Indies batsmen though, with a number of close lbw decisions not going the BLACKCAPS way. Gayle was also let off the hook on 36, when Daniel Flynn put down a catch at point.

From that point on it was all the West Indies, as they negotiated the New Zealand bowling attack to great effect. Gayle finished the day on an unbeaten 85, while Powell also brought up his half century with 58 not out.

Tomorrow the home side will look to surpass the BLACKCAPS first innings total. 
Earlier, Night-watchman, Neil Wagner, was unable to add to his overnight score of four, becoming Sunil Narine’s fourth victim in just the third over of the morning.

Kane Williamson and Dean Brownlie forged a lengthy partnership lasting 17 overs, but only managed to put on 40 with runs proving hard to come by.  The new ball brought about the downfall of both set batsmen with the extra movement playing a part in both dismissals. 

Williamson looked to defend off the back-foot with a Kemar Roach delivery catching the inside edge and deflecting onto the stumps to send him on his way for 19.

It was away swing that undid Brownlie, as he was caught behind off the bowling of Ravi Rampaul for 23.

After starting the day on 232 for four New Zealand managed to eke out a further 55 runs for the loss off three wickets in the first session of the day.

The scoring rate briefly picked up at the start of the middle period with 21 runs added quickly but it was short lived as Vettori skied a Darren Sammy short ball to mid-wicket for 17.

Narine removed Kruger van Wyk for 11 in the very next over to leave the tourists struggling on 309 for nine.

Doug Bracewell then freed his arms with the solid all-rounder blasting a quick-fire 39 to take the New Zealand total through to 351. 

After whacking Narine and Sammy all around the park he was caught on the boundary off Rampaul’s first delivery but did a fine job in wrestling back some momentum ahead of the fielding effort.

Narine finished with five wicket but it took the off-spinner 43 overs at a cost of 132 runs.  New ball bowers, Roach and Rampaul, ended up with two apiece.

Day one: BLACKCAPS on top

New Zealand finished day one of the first Test with a strong platform, despite the loss of their two established batsmen at the end of the day.

The visitors battled hard at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium at Antigua and will be happy with their position going into the second day, sitting at 232 for four.

The New Zealand openers got off to a solid start with a 97 run opening stand between Martin Guptill and Daniel Flynn.  Apart from a couple of ambitious LBW appeals the pair looked comfortable at the crease, passing the patience test and taking the team to lunch with 71 on the board.

The middle session brought about two wickets but yielded 88 runs.  Flynn was the first to fall, caught at backward point on 45, while Brendon McCullum managed 25 before being caught at mid-wicket by Narsingh Deonarine off the bowling of Kemar Roach.

Captain Ross Taylor and Guptill, who brought up his ninth Test half-century, safely negotiated a difficult period with New Zealand going to tea at 159 for two.

A determined West Indies attack dried up the runs in the post-tea period, with the BLACKCAPS batsmen having to counter reverse swing and sharp turn.

Guptill survived a very close LBW shout by Ravi Rampaul who struck the opening batsmen on the toe with an in-swinging yorker.  The on-field umpire gave the decision not out, prompting Darren Sammy to gamble his team's last review, with the TV official adjudging the ball to be marginally outside the line of off-stump. 

Taylor and Gutpill continued to edge New Zealand into the box seat and were looking dominant at 223 for two. However, Sunil Narine had been building pressure and it soon told, as the wily spinner struck twice late in the day.

Taylor (45) was a touch unlucky as the ball took touches off both his bat and his pad, before dribbling on to his stumps. 

The biggest blow though was undoubtedly Guptill , who fell victim to Narine just 3.3 overs from the end of the day and only three runs away from his century. Having shown remarkable patience throughout his 97, Guptill looked to bring up his ton with a maximum, but could only manage a top-edge to be caught at mid-on. The 25 year-old was visibly distraught.

Night watchmen Neil Wagner and Kane Williamson successfully saw out the remaining overs and will feel their side are on top tomorrow when they begin day two at 232 for four.

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