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West Indies level series against Kiwis
He is no nightwatchman but yesterday Kraigg Brathwaite became a watchman as the Man of the Match stood at the non-striker’s end and looked on as Chris Gayle blasted the West Indies to a series levelling ten-wicket victory against New Zealand on the fifth day of the second Test match at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain. After New Zealand’s tail continued their rear guard action that took the game way into the afternoon, the West Indies were set a winning target off 93 runs. With the rain an ever-present threat, Gayle ran amok and smoked the Kiwi attack, lashing an unbeaten 80 to take his team to victory at 95 without loss off just 13.2 overs. Brathwaite, who scored his maiden Test century in the the first innings, remained unbeaten on 14 at the other end.
Gayle decided to throw away caution to play his natural game and balls started to fly into the stands. He struck his 80 off 46 balls with seven boundaries of which six were sixes. He brought up a rasping 50 off just 28 deliveries, falling short of Jacques Kallis world record of 24 balls. When the left-hander cut Kane Williamson to the fence for the winning runs it represented the first West Indies win at the Oval, since 2008, when they got the better of Sri Lanka. Earlier, West Indian anxiety continued as the Kiwi pair of BJ Watling and Mark Craig upheld their brilliant ninth-wicket partnership. They frustrated the home team in humid conditions for over two hours until pacer Kemar Roach ended their association that was worth 99 runs. He had Craig caught by wicketkeepr/captain Denesh Ramdin for 67, made in 184 minutes off 167 balls with nine fours.
Another 20 runs were added for the final wicket before Ramdin pouched his fifth catch of the innings to send back Boult for eight, leaving Watling unbeaten on 66 in a marathon 387 minutes in which time he faced 216 balls, striking four fours. Roach ended with 4/74, while there were two wickets apiece for Jerome Taylor, Shannon Gabriel and spinner Sulieman Benn. After the match, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said all was not lost for his side and they were looking forward to the decider in Barbados, which starts on Thursday. “I thought we were pretty good for most of the Test match but that first innings, getting out for 220-odd was not good. West indies deserved to win. We were 160 for 3 and we were in a very good position then, we could have gone on to record 400, but there were no partnerships,” he said. “Credit to West Indies for coming back after we had them back for the first two sessions of the Test. We will cop that on the chin, we were second best, but we need to make sure we come back strongly in the next Test.”
West Indies skipper Ramdin who won his first match in charge at his second attempt said: “It was a fantastic win. The conditions were tough for the bowlers. The pitch was placid, it was one in which you had to keep working well. Sulieman Benn put on a marathon spell. We were a bit lazy in the field. We hope we don’t take it lightly against the lower order next time. Hopefully we can get a good pitch in Barbados, where batsmen can score runs and fast bowlers can take wickets.” Brathwaite who copped the Man of the Match for his maiden Test century said: “I was looking forward to it (to the hundred). I have been doing a lot of work, especially against spin. I put in a lot of hard work, stayed positive and it worked well. It was not easy (staying away from the team).”
West Indies vs New Zealand
New Zealand 1st inns 221
West Indies 1st inns 460
New Zealand 2nd inns
T Latham c Brathwaite b Benn 36
B McCullum lbw Taylor 3
K Williamson c Ramdin b Roach 52
R Taylor c Ramdin b Taylor 36
J Neesham c & b Benn 7
BJ Watling not out 66
H Rutherford lbw Taylor 13
I Sodhi c Ramdin b Roach 14
T Southee c Edwards b Roach 15
M Craig c Ramdin b Roach 67
T Boult c Ramdin b Gabriel 8
Extras: b9, lb2, w1, nb2 14
Total: all out 331
Fall of wkts: 9, 84, 108, 121, 153, 176, 193, 212, 311, 331.
Bowling: J Taylor 30-8-73-2 (1nb), K Roach 28-6-74-4 (1w), S Gabriel 23.2-3-66-2 (1nb), S Benn 58-20-78-2, C Gayle 13-3-29-0.
West Indies 2nd inns
C Gayle not out 80
K Brathwaite not out 14
Extras lb1 1
Total: without loss 95
Bowling: T Southee 4-1-21-0, T Boult 3-0-27-0, I Sodhi 2-0-21-0, M Craig 3-0-17-0, K Williamson 1.2-0-8-0.
Result: West Indies won by 10 wickets.
Man of the match: Kriagg Brathwaite.
Series levelled 1-1.