British High Commissioner Tim Stew
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Kiwis batting for survival at the Oval
West Indies continued their batting revival on the third day of the second cricket Test against New Zealand at the Queen's Park Oval in Port-of-Spain, yesterday and at the close the visitors were 73 for one—still trailing by 166 runs with nine wickets standing.
After debutant Jermaine Blackwood cracked 63, the veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul 47 and skipper Denesh Ramdin 32, the West Indies finally fell for 460, for a lead of 239 runs.
New Zealand facing an uphill task began their second innings with skipper Brendon McCullum opening with the inform Tom Latham, as regular opener Hamish Rutherford was still suffering from a stomach bug. Information from the Kiwi dressing room is that he would bat in position number seven.
After Jerome Taylor sent back McCullum for three via the leg before route, Latham and Kane Williamson, who have been the mainstay of the New Zealand batting this series, came together to frustrate the West Indies.
Using the same methods that they adopted from ball one of the series, the duo patiently took the score to 73 for one at the close. Latham was unbeaten on 30 off 110 balls with four fours and Williamson was 38 not out off 118 balls with five fours.
Earlier, the West Indies resumed on the bedtime score of 310 for five and continued to add to their lead. The overnight pair of Chanderpaul and Kemar Roach batted for 46 minutes in the morning session and added 23 runs. The Barbadian was then dismissed but had performed an admirable role although getting just six runs.
Then in walked Jermaine Blackwood, the 60th man to make his Test debut for the West Indies in the last 10 years. Only England with 61 has given out more caps in this period.
Blackwood looked very good and displayed little or no nerves in this first match. He played a wonderful straight drive for six that gave him the early confidence and he looked as if he belonged in Test cricket. Chanderpaul not to be outdone, advanced down the pitch to hit a maximum as well but just before the break, he shouldered arms and was given leg-before to leg-spinner Ish Sodhi for 47. He batted for 155 minutes, faced 93 balls and struck five fours and a six.
Lunch was taken soon after with the score at 396 for seven with Blackwood on 31 not out and Ramdin on five.
Soon after the resumption, West Indies brought up 400-run mark which represented the 22nd time that they have done so over the last decade. The next milestone that came up soon after was Blackwood's fifty, which was made in 116 minutes off 93 balls with five fours and two sixes.
The punishment continued for the visitors in the 33-degree afternoon heat and while Ramdin and Blackwood troubled the scorers there were many red faces on the field. Blackwood was not afraid to attack and played some very attractive shots before a big leg-spinner from Sodhi ended up in Ross Taylor's hand at first slip. His first effort in Tests was 63 made in 134 minutes, 110 balls six fours and two sixes.
Ramdin soon followed for a workmanlike 32 giving Neesham his first wicket in the game. Sodhi followed up with the wicket of Taylor to end as the most impressive of the Kiwi bowlers with 4/96.
West indies vs N Zealand
N Zealand 1st inns 221
W Indies 1st inns
C Gayle b Boult 1
K Brathwaite c & b Boult 129
S Benn b Southee 4
K Edwards c Watling b Sodhi 55
D Bravo c Craig b Williamson 109
S Chanderpaul lbw Sodhi 47
K Roach c Neesham b Boult 6
J Blackwood c Taylor b Sodhi 63
D Ramdin c Taylor b Neesham 32
J Taylor c Craig b Sodhi 4
S Gabriel not out 0
Extras lb5, w3 8
Total 5 wkts 310
Fall of wkts: 4, 16, 109, 291, 310, 333, 380, 456, 460.
Bowling: T Boult 30-6-75-3 (2w), T Southee 30-9-69-1 (1nb), M Craig 29-4-111-0, J Neesham 15-1-68-1 (1w), I Sodhi 19.1-2-96-4, K Williamson 14-2-35-1.
N Zealand 2nd inns
T Latham not out 30
B McCullum lbw Taylor 3
K Williamson not out 38
Extras lb1, nb1 2
Total 1 wkt 73
Fall of wkts: 9.
Bowling: J Taylor 10-4-15-1, K Roach 6-3-9-0, S Gabriel 5-1-12-0, S Benn 13-5-17-0, C Gayle 7-2-19-0.