NZ on course for victory

Hosts are six without loss in reply, needing 122 to win against West Indies in Hamilton Test

By (AFP)

Published: Mon 23 Dec 2013, 12:04 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 8:01 AM

New Zealand’s Trent Boult celebrates with Kane Williamson the wicket of Kieran Powell. — AFP

New Zealand wiped out the West Indies second innings inside one session with a vicious spell of swing bowling on Saturday to take a vice-like grip on the third Test. At stumps at the end of the third day, New Zealand were six without loss in reply, needing 122 to win.

The West Indies, already down 1-0 in the series, were all out in their second innings for 103, after taking an 18-run lead on the first innings. The dramatic collapse came a day after the West Indies claimed control of the Test when Sunil Narine’s spin variations mesmerised the New Zealanders.

Only the staunch defiance of Ross Taylor, who made 131 — his third century in three consecutive Tests — enabled New Zealand to reach 349 in reply to the West Indies’ 367. Narine finished with career-best figures of six for 91, but the gloss was quickly taken off his achievement by yet another batting collapse as New Zealand traded spin for pace and swing.

Trent Boult, the chief destroyer when New Zealand won the second Test, removed the West Indies top order with three wickets for one run in the space of 13 deliveries. “There’s genuine excitement,” Taylor said of the prospect New Zealand will claim back-to-back victories.

“To keep (the target) down to 122 was outstanding. The way they (Boult and Tim Southee) bowled and the aggression they showed, they need a lot of pats on the back for the hostility they showed.” Kraigg Brathwaite (seven) fell to a ball that shot back between bat and pad, Kieran Powell (nought) edged a ball to third slip and Kirk Edwards (one) was caught down the leg side.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul was back in the middle with the West Indies at three for 13 but he could not reproduce his century-making form of the first innings. In another mini-breakthrough, Corey Anderson had Marlon Samuels (eight) caught behind and Chanderpaul (20) was caught by Kane Williamson diving to his right at third slip off the bowling of Neil Wagner.

After 18 overs, the West Indies were five for 46 and their buoyant mood at finding a pitch favourable to their spin attack had long evaporated. Denesh Ramdin (18) and Darren Sammy (24) added some fight but the innings ended when Southee came back for a second spell and took the last three wickets in four balls. Boult finished with four for 23 and Southee three for 12.

New Zealand had Taylor to thank for being as close as they were at the end of the first innings. He batted for nearly five-and-a-half hours for his 131 which featured 16 fours and two sixes. For most of his time in the middle Taylor was a model of precision and patience, deftly picking up ones and twos.

More news from Cricket