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West Indies cricketers jumped off the team bus yesterday in a fighting mood and their attitude was reflected on the scoreboard at the close of the opening day of the second Test against New Zealand at the Queen’s Park Oval.
A fine all round bowling performance, led by Jerome Taylor’s 4/34, skittled out the Kiwis for 221 and left with 13 overs, the men in maroon closed on six for one after losing Chris Gayle (1) to Trent Boult.
The West Indies bowlers were rewarded for disciplined bowling on a pitch that offered assistance to those who were willing to put in the work. Taylor, back in the team after a four and half-year hiatus, was able to seam the red cherry appreciably. He received good support from Shannon Gabriel 2/43 and spinner Sulieman Benn 3/73.
New Zealander opener Tom Latham (84) recorded this third successive half century of the series. Together with Kane Williamson (42) and Ross Taylor (45 not out), New Zealand got past the 200-run plateau.
Earlier, Brendon McCullum called correctly at the toss and decided to take first strike on a good Oval pitch. The West Indies, as they have done twice in the series already, struck early as Hamish Rutherford was caught by Gayle at slip off Jerome Taylor.
After the early loss, Latham, just as he did in Jamaica when he scored twin half centuries, batted with purpose. The first 50 runs were realised off 16.4 overs as Latham and Williamson negotiated the early moisture on the pitch with the knowledge that the 33-degree heat would dry the pitch nicely for batting.
Latham was lucky to get a reprieve, as one lapse against spinner Sulieman Benn ended up hitting Gayle on his shoulder at first slip and went to ground.
He put that behind him to register his third half century soon after off 83 balls with seven fours. Williamson also batted well and the West Indies players looked ragged once they were together.
They went to lunch at 86 for one and on the resumption, five overs were played out without addition to the score. The left hand/right hand duo then started to pick the gaps and took the score to 120 before Gabriel made the breakthrough, getting Williamson, who scored a century in the first Test to hook to Jason Holder at long leg. Williamson batted for 153 minutes and faced 104 balls with five fours.
Soon after the sparse crowd on hand gave the players their biggest cheer, as the West Indies got the prize scalp of Latham. The left hander drove at a length ball which peeled off a thick edge to the lanky Benn at gully.
He batted for 229 minutes, faced 163 balls and struck ten fours. Tea was taken at 159 for three, and immediately on resumption, the previously luckless Benn finally got a wicket, sending back McCullum.
The right hander was struck in line with the stumps and initially given not out by umpire Rod Tucker. Ramdin decided to go for the review and it showed that McCullum was caught on the crease and struck on the back leg. Ball tracker showed it hitting middle near the top.
At that point, the West Indies for the very first time in the series took the ascendency, thanks to Taylor.
Bowling from the Media Centre end, where he once grabbed nine wickets against T&T, the Jamaican sent back Jimmy Neesham, BJ Watling and Ish Sodhi all to edges. Gayle snapped up two in the slips, while Ramdin nestled one.
New Zealand could not recover from Taylor’s spell of 5-0-19-3.
The West Indies lost Gayle who played down the wrong line and was bowled by Trent Boult.
West Indies vs New Zealand
New Zealand 1st inns
T Latham c Benn b Roach 82
H Rutherford c Gayle b Taylor 3
K Williamson c sub Holder b Gabriel 42
R Taylor not out 45
B McCullum lbw Benn 4
J Neesham c Gayle b Taylor 15
BJ Watling c Ramdin b Taylor 0
I Sodhi c Gayle b Taylor 0
T Southee lbw Benn 10
M Craig c Bravo b Gabriel 4
T Boult lbw Benn 1
Extras b4, lb6, w2, nb3 15
Total all out 221
Fall of wkts: 16, 120, 146, 161, 192, 198, 210, 215, 221.
Bowling: J Taylor 15-5-34-4 (1nb, 1w) K Roach 17-1-61-1, S Gabriel 12-2-43-2 (2nb,1w), S Benn 28.4-6-73-3.
West Indies 1st inns
C Gayle b Boult 1
K Brathwaite not out 5
S Benn not out 0
Total for one wkt 6
Fall of wkt: 4.
Bowling: T Boult 4-2-4-1, T Southee 3-1-2-0.