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Patient Kiwis take honours
The West Indies fans packed Sabina Park, Kingston, hoping to see Chris Gayle celebrate his 100th Test match with a commanding performance, but instead they had to endure a frustrating day for the home team.
New Zealand closed the opening day of the three-Test series on a commanding 240 for two, bouyed by an elegant century from the talented Kane Willamson and a patient 83 from Tom Latham.
Hardly anything went right for the hosts, and Denesh Ramdin in his first match as captain lost the toss on a pitch that he would have preferred to bat on.
There was a buzz around the ground as the returning pacy pair of Jerome Taylor and Kemar Roach had the new 'cherry' in hand. The duo stuck to a disciplined line and length and the first roar from the crowd came in the ninth over, when hometown boy Taylor sent back Peter Fulton. Angling in from wide on the crease, Taylor got one to leave Fulton (1) and he was back in the hut.
That was the only success for the morning session as Latham and Williamson took over. They batted with circumspect in the morning session as the pitch was slow and although holding no terrors, strokeplay was difficult.
The two were willing to grind it out and in the afternoon session they blossomed. Latham registered his maiden Test half century and together with Williamson added 163 runs for the second wicket off 62.1 overs.
Just as he was looking good for his first Test century, Latham fell to off-spinner Shane Shillingford. The Dominican who turned the ball appreciably, tossed one on leg stump, and Latham looked to work it against the turn. He got a leading edge and it looped back for Shillingford to complete the simplest of catches.
Latham batted for 260 minutes, faced 206 balls and struck 10 fours in his innings. After he left the West Indies would have harboured hopes of making serious inroads into the Kiwis batting but it was not to be. Ross Taylor who has been in the form of his life over the past year, came in and played very positive cricket. His approach helped Williamson on his way to his sixth Test century.
As the 23-year old Williamson entered the nervous 90s he stalled but Taylor was at the other end beating the ball. Williamson faced 33 scoreless deliveries while on 93 before moving on to his century with two late cuts from the left arm orthodox spinner Sulieman Benn.
His ton came in 258 balls with 10 fours and he closed the day on 105 having faced 263 balls and striking 11 fours.
Today he was resume batting with Taylor who had 34 off 66 balls with six hits to the fence.
The West Indies for once were excellent with their over-rate and actually bowled 92 overs. Fifty two (52) overs were went down by the spinners, with Benn bowling 19 on the trot either side of lunch.
West Indies vs New Zealand
N Zealand 1st Inns
T Latham c&b Shillingford 83
P Fulton c Ramdin b Taylor 1
K Williamson not out 105
R Taylor not out 34
Extras b5, lb5, w5, nb2 17
Total 2 wkts (92ovs) 240
Fall of wkts:9, 174.
Bowling: J Taylor 17-7-22-1 (2nb), K Roach 17-4-56-0 (1w), D Bravo 1-0-2-0, S Benn 28-8-75-0, M Samuels 5-1-13-0, S Shillingford 24-3-62-1.