West Indies square series despite late fightback

West Indies square series despite late fightback

Day five: West Indies 460 and 93 (Chris Gayle 80) beat BLACKCAPS 221 and 331 (BJ Watling 66 not out, Mark Craig 67, Kane Williamson 52) by 10 wickets at Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

The West Indies have won the second Test despite a courageous innings from BLACKCAPS wicketkeeper BJ Watling. The nuggety 28-year-old batted for over a day to ensure not only the match went to the fifth day, but that the West Indies had to bat again – comfortably chasing 93 runs to win.

Resuming the fifth day at 257-8, Watling and his rear guard partner Mark Craig went about their business as they both brought up their half centuries early in the morning session. 

Craig did appear to have nine lives as he was firstly dropped by Sulieman Benn and the following ball went right through the hands of Chris Gayle. He also escaped a review for a catch which showed the ball came off the arm guard.

But not long after the drinks break Craig’s lives ran out as he edged a Kemar Roach delivery which was taken by Denesh Ramdin. The review confirmed his dismissal and Craig was gone for 67. 

His partnership with Watling put on an invaluable 99 runs – the highest for the ninth wicket against the West Indies.

The last man in, Trent Boult, added eight runs to the total before he was gone getting a touch on a rising delivery from Shannon Gabriel. The innings was all over at 331, leaving the home side to chase 93 runs in two sessions for victory.

Rain had briefly interrupted play during the morning session, and after more showers it took an hour after the lunch break for play to resume. But once it did the West Indies made sure the weather wasn’t going to upset their victory hopes.

Gayle smashed six sixes and seven fours to reach 80 not out as he raced his side through to the target of 93 – almost as if he had a bus to catch.

The BLACKCAPS now head to Barbados for the third Test with the series evenly poised at 1-1. The final Test starts on Thursday 26 June (Friday 27 June NZ time) at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown.

Day four: West Indies 460 trail BLACKCAPS 221 and 257-8 (Kane Williamson 52, BJ Watling 38*) by 18 runs at Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

The BLACKCAPS are alive in this Test, with BJ Watling and Mark Craig performing a rear guard action to overtake and pass the West Indies' total. The day was dominated by the home team's bowlers - the BLACKCAPS spent the day with their backs to the wall, but Watling's mastery of batting with the tail has ensured they've given themselves another chance to fight on day five.  

After resuming 166 runs behind at 73-1, there was a desperate need for the in-form pair of Tom Latham and Kane Williamson to push on from their steady start the previous night. Sadly Latham got one of those simply unplayable deliveries from Sulieman Benn that rocketed up from a foot mark, came off Latham’s gloves and was caught by Kraigg Brathwaite at second slip. Latham was gone for 36.

Williamson made steady progress to bring up his 50 before he played at one from Kemar Roach that he didn’t need to and was caught by Denesh Ramdin for 52.

Jimmy Neesham continued the capitulation as he fell to a brilliant caught and bowled from the giant Benn stretching low to his right. At lunch the BLACKCAPS were 129-4, still 110 runs behind.

Ross Taylor looked comfortable and on his way to another big score but he was beaten by a Shannon Gabriel delivery that he had a big drive at but only got a slight touch to which was gloved by Ramdin, departing for 36. 

Opener Hamish Rutherford, who missed most of yesterday with a stomach upset, went lbw not playing a shot to Jerome Taylor. This left BJ Watling and the tail chasing 63 runs to make the home side bat again.

Ish Sodhi was undone by the new ball, slashing at a wide one from Roach and sending it through to Ramdin for a catch. 

Tim Southee was still happy to take the bowlers on, hitting Gabriel for three boundaries in an over as the BLACKCAPS endeavoured to make the Windies bat again. He went to a spectacular Kirk Edwards catch at mid off for 15. 

Watling and Craig set about overcoming the deficit and avoiding the innings defeat, in the face of some accurate seam bowling from Roach and Gabriel. Despite the odd scare, they played sensibly and overhauled the West Indies' total to ensure they would have to bat again. The pair put on a partnership of 44, and saw out the last overs through the extended last period to frustrate Ramdin and his bowlers, ensuring they'll be lacing up the boots for day five.  

Day three: BLACKCAPS 221 and 73-1 (Williamson 38*, Latham 30*) trail the West Indies 460 (Kraigg Brathwaite 129, Darren Bravo 109, Jermaine Blackwood 63, Trent Boult 3-75, Ish Sodhi 4-96) by 166 runs at Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

The BLACKCAPS have fought belligerently on day three of the second Test against the West Indies, with Tom Latham and Kane Williamson showing great determination in the final session. 

Following a four wicket-bag from Ish Sodhi to dismiss the West Indies for 460, the BLACKCAPS were left with a considerable 239 run deficit to overcome. The visitors made a fine start to that challenge though, with Latham (30*) and Williamson (38*) helping their side close the day at 73-1. 

Earlier, with the West Indies resuming at 310-5, Trent Boult broke through early with the wicket of night watchman Kemar Roach for six, as he lobbed one to Jimmy Neesham at mid-wicket.

It was one-way traffic for the rest of the morning session, until just before lunch Ish Sodhi made the crucial breakthrough to remove the rock Shivnarine Chanderpaul for 47. 

The left hander offered no shot to one pitched outside off and despite a big lbw shout he wasn’t given. The BLACKCAPS reviewed the decision and with plenty of turn on the delivery, the ball tracker showed it would have hit leg stump.

After lunch it looked like debutant Jermaine Blackwood and skipper Denesh Ramdin had settled in for the afternoon, until Sodhi got the debutant to feather one to Ross Taylor at first slip.  In the next over Neesham got Ramdin in the same fashion caught at slip by Taylor.

Sodhi immediately wrapped up the innings at 460 as Jerome Taylor tried to slog him down the ground and was caught by Mark Craig coming in from the long-off boundary.

The fine batting effort had given the home side a lead of 239 - a massive challenge for the BLACKCAPS to get back into the match.

In New Zealand’s second innings, Brendon McCullum was moved up the order to open alongside Latham due to Hamish Rutherford having a stomach upset.

But the skipper would only add four runs before being trapped lbw by Taylor, reducing the visitors to the precarious position of 9-1. 

In desperate need of a partnership, Williamson came to the middle and was cautious early on. Both he and Latham battled hard to keep the West Indies bowlers at bay and slowly began to look comfortable at the crease. 

While runs were hard to come by, the pair saw out 35 overs together in the middle and in doing so kept the BLACKCAPS hopes alive. 

They’ll need to bring the same hard-nosed approach tomorrow if the New Zealand side want to keep their series lead. 

Day two: West Indies 310-5 (Kraigg Brathwaite 129, Darren Bravo 109, Trent Boult 2-30) lead the BLACKCAPS 221 by 89 runs at Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

The West Indies had the best of day two, with two century makers in Kraigg Brathwaite and Darren Bravo. Their partnership of 182 runs gave their team the lead, but the BLACKCAPS fought back to take both their wickets late on. Five wickets is the bowlers' challenge in the morning to limit the West Indies' lead, which stands at 89 at the end of day two. 

After resuming at 6-1, the West Indies dominated the morning session with 118 runs scored. Tim Southee looked dangerous from his first ball of the day and after a couple of close calls he soon had night watchman Sulieman Benn back in the shed lbw for four.

But it was another 93 runs before the punishing partnership of Kirk Edwards and Brathwaite was broken with the third ball from leg-spinner Ish Sodhi. Watling took a sharp catch and Edwards was gone for 55. It had been a dominant display of batting from the home side with the bowling of Jimmy Neesham and Mark Craig far too regularly dispatched to the boundary.

Only a couple of overs after lunch the heavens opened and rain stopped play for an hour. When play resumed, Brathwaite and Bravo continued the good progress for the West Indies as they went through to 209-3 at tea.

The last session was tough going for the bowlers, and began with Brathwaite, then Bravo bringing up their hundreds - it was Brathwaite's first, and Bravo's first in the West Indies, and he was absolutely delighted to do it at his home ground. Kane Williamson, who'd got through seven overs, made the breakthrough and ended the 182 run partnership when he got Bravo to hit high to mid off where Craig dragged the catch in. 

Trent Boult had been off the field with an illness, but came back to take the new ball along with Southee late in the day, and both fast men were able to create chances. Boult saw off Brathwaite who popped a length inswinger back to the bowler, ending his fine innings at 129. 

There was late drama as Southee appeared to have Shivnarine Chanderpaul caught behind, but replays showed it was off the thigh pad. 

This was a much improved day for the West Indies with a solid bating performance that's given them the lead. Some quick wickets in the morning, especially that of immovable object Chanderpaul, will the the priority for the BLACKCAPS. 

Day one: BLACKCAPS 221 (Tom Latham 82, Ross Taylor 45*, Kane Williamson 42) v West Indies 6-1 at Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

Tom Latham has strengthened his grip on a BLACKCAPS opening position after scoring his third consecutive half-century on day one of the second Test against the West Indies. 

Latham top-scored with 82, as the BLACKCAPS were limited to 221 in their first innings at Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain. In response, the BLACKCAPS got an early breakthrough to reduce the West Indies to 6-1 and maintain a 215 run lead.  

Earlier in the day, Brendon McCullum won the toss and chose to put his side in to bat just as he did in Kingston. The skipper and coach Mike Hesson gave the two spinners Ish Sodhi and Mark Craig the nod again, as opposed to bringing in a third seamer. 

That meant there was just one change to the BLACKCAPS starting XI for the match with Hamish Rutherford coming in to open the batting in place of Peter Fulton.

Sadly Rutherford didn’t last long as he went for three runs, edging one to Chris Gayle at first slip off the bowling of Jerome Taylor. But fellow opener Tom Latham and Kane Williamson steadied the ship with Latham bringing up his 50 just before lunch.

It was slow progress after lunch as the pair brought up the century partnership, before Williamson tried to hook a bouncer from Shannon Gabriel, but got a top edge and was caught at fine leg for 42. 

Latham looked like he might bring up his maiden Test century, but as he was on the verge of his highest Test score he got a thick edge to a Kemar Roach delivery and the tall frame of Sulieman Benn took a great catch in the gully. 

Just before the tea break there was high drama with Ross Taylor edging a ball from Roach between the keeper and first slip, and then Kirk Edwards put down the next ball at short mid-on. The visitors went to tea with a big sigh of relief at 159-3.

However, the final session of the day would be a painful one for the BLACKCAPS, losing their remaining seven wickets for just 62 runs. 

McCullum was the first to go, a successful review by Benn trapping him lbw. That brought new sensation Jimmy Neesham to the crease, but an edge on 15 saw him depart early as well. 

From that point forward Taylor would see a number of partners come and go in quick succession. He and Southee saw their side past the 200 mark, but soon after, the BLACKCAPS innings came to a close, with Taylor stranded on 45. 

For the West Indies, Jerome Taylor was the best of the bowlers with four scalps to his name, while Benn claimed three victims. 

With an under-par total, the BLACKCAPS were in desperate need of wickets and Trent Boult delivered early. In the third over, Boult ripped Gayle’s off-stump from the ground, with the dangerous opener unable to keep out the vicious yorker.

While looking threatening, Boult and Southee weren’t able to make any further break-throughs, but will be encouraged by the swing they got heading into tomorrow. 

With a total which is below that of what they targeted, the BLACKCAPS will be after a supreme performance with the ball on day two. 

Action begins at 2am New Zealand time on SKY Sport. 

BLACKCAPS: Hamish Rutherford, 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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