New Zealand in West Indies 2014 July 1, 2014

Step by step, over by over

The Test series win in the West Indies, Sportsfreak writes, has shown that the successes of New Zealand's home summer weren't a flash in the pan. Apart from the perennial problem at the top of the order and the search for a genuine world class spinner, New Zealand have all the ingredients to remain a top Test side.

But it was about more than just the individuals; it was the fight and purpose shown in the series. Remember that on Day 2 of the final test the West Indies got to 150/1 chasing 293. It was a long way back from there. But, initiated by Wagner and one of his trademark marathon spells of hostility the side climbed its way back into it. Step by step, over by over, bit by bit.

But probably the best example of the tenacity of this side came in the lost second test. After tea on the fourth day New Zealand found itself 8 wickets down and still needing another 30 runs to make the Windies bat again. But Watling and Craig were not going to make it easy. They dropped anchor and battled away for 43 overs, taking the match well into the final day.

That, in the context of that particular match, was futile but it sent a signal that this side was not going to roll over with the ease of others that had gone before.

In stuff.co.nz, Mark Geenty asks where the series win ranks among all of New Zealand's away triumphs, and concludes that it's definitely in the top five, and could even sit in the top three.

The obvious two leap out; Australia in 1985 and England in 1999, closely followed by the breakthrough series victory in the UK in 1986. Wins in Australia and England are so rare it's hard to top a series triumph against New Zealand's two sporting rivals that are sweetest to beat.

Before 2002 the West Indies remained an unconquered cricketing land for New Zealand in test series, along with India and South Africa who remain so. The breakthrough victory at Bridgetown, which ushered in a 1-0 series win (the second test at Grenada was a draw), was hugely significant in a place where New Zealand batsmen suffered so much torment, particularly in 1985 against the best fast bowling battery in history.

Today's 2-1 triumph was even better, purely because the Black Caps needed to win two tests in the Caribbean and fought back from seemingly down and out when they collapsed on day one at Kensington Oval.

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