December 17, 1999

New Zealand resurge on day two

What a day for New Zealand at Hamilton. West Indies, 281 for one overnight, all out in the second session of the first test for 365. Only the loss of a late wicket took the gloss off the local performance.

Yesterday was a day for the batsmen, today for the bowlers.

There was no indication early in the first session that such would be the case. Adrian Griffith resumed on 103, nightwatchman Dinanth Ramnarine on 5 and the first hour passed in much the same way as the first day. Chris Cairns and Dion Nash resumed with the new ball just eight overs old, extracting some lift but with variable direction. Ramnarine, as he had the previous evening, looked uncomfortable but it took half an hour before Cairns put him out of his misery, Adam Parore taking the catch when Ramnarine fished at one outside the off stump.

The first hour produced just 15 runs off 14 overs. It also offered some shoddy ground fielding and a dropped catch when Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who replaced Ramnarine, flicked Cairns to Gary Stead at square leg. A couple of vociferous appeals as Nash hit Griffith's pads and then one past the outside edge enlivened proceedings but left David Shepherd unmoved.

The 17th over brought the first bowling change, Nathan Astle on for Cairns at the northern end, and Daniel Vettori immediately took over from Nash at the southern end.

Astle's second over was one of marked contrast. First he was hauled for four through mid-wicket by Chanderpaul before getting the little left-hander's outside edge low to Stephen Fleming at first slip. 311 for three. The West Indies captain, Brian Lara, immediately brought the bowler back to earth, cutting a gift gentle rising ball outside off forward of point for four. Astle's over delivered eight runs and a wicket.

Lara gave every sign of intending to increase the pace. His defensive shots were full of purpose while taking nine off Astle's next over. He drove Vettori for four and swept Astle's replacement, off-spinner Paul Wiseman, for another four.

But, when on a quick 24, Lara attempting one aggressive shot too many, trying to swing Vettori through mid-wicket, getting a front edge and sending the ball high to Nash running to his right from mid-on. 336 for four.

Ricardo Powell was the new arrival. But, with the batsmen having crossed, he could only stand and watch as Griffith drove and was caught behind by Parore. Two wickets in two balls; 336 for five. Griffith had added just 11 to his overnight total in 23 overs, reaching 114 in his maiden test century. A mixture of watchful defence and occasional aggression, it was an innings that was taking on increasing significance in light of the day's developments.

Jimmy Adams replaced Griffith, surviving the hattrick, but more was to come for the New Zealanders.

Cairns returned to the northern end and almost immediately induced Powell to offer a casual shot for Wiseman to pick up the catch at mid-on. 336 for six; three wickets in eight balls.

Ridley Jacobs joined Adams and the pair survived two more overs until lunch but not before Vettori enjoyed the luxury of crowding Adams with four close-in fieldsmen.

In just one session, 282 for one had become 338 for six. The 56 scored in the session was just one short of the same two hours the previous day but what a completely different game of cricket.

Lunch did not stop the rot. Three overs into the second session, Vettori had Jacobs caught by Spearman at first slip, the ball clipping the edge of a defensive prod. 345 for seven. Franklin Rose tried one unsightly heave off Cairns for an unconvincing two and then tried another and was caught in the Cairns-Wiseman trap at mid-on. 352 for eight.

Adams tried to steady what was left of the innings. He was given some hope when surviving a confident appeal for bat-pad that replays showed had clearly clipped the bat before being caught off the pad. Umpire Shepherd was unmoved.

However, the reprieve for the innings was short-lived. Nash replaced Cairns at the northern end. He was unsuccessful with a demand for a caught behind but the next ball shaved the top of Reon King's stumps, rolling the right bail gently to the ground. 362 for nine.

In the 13 overs bowled in the first hour after lunch, the New Zealand bowlers had removed three more West Indies batsmen for just 24 runs. The end was not long in coming. The first ball of Vettori's 36th over went straight through Courtney Walsh, bringing the West Indies' veteran's record of ducks to 33. All out for 365 with Adams left undefeated on 17.

Since Sherwin Campbell's departure the previous evening, all 10 wickets had fallen for just 95 runs.

Vettori, four for 83, and Cairns, three for 73, led the New Zealand bowlers. But their figures for the second day told the story: Cairns three for 14, Vettori four for 23. The two century makers, Campbell, 170 from the first day, and Griffith, stood out in sharp contrast to the rest of the West Indies batsmen. Only Lara passed 20.

The New Zealand openers dispelled any suggestion that the pitch had suddenly become a minefield. Gary Stead's unorthodox preparation for playing the pace men, a forward dip before the ball arrived, encouraged Lara to add a fourth slip. But Stead and Matthew Horne safely negotiated the 10 overs to tea with few concerns, Horne pulling Rose for the first four in the innings in the sixth over. New Zealand went to tea at 21 without loss.

The 50 opening stand came up off the 19th over as Lara brought on King for Walsh at the northern end. The change was almost immediately successful, Horne, on 32, hooking straight down Rose's throat at fine leg. 61 for one.

The drinks break, as is so often the case, brought about a wicket. On 22, Stead became Walsh's 424th victim, bowled outside his legs. 67 for two.

Fleming joined Spearman and the pair, with a steady if unspectacular approach, took the New Zealand total past 100 in the 38th over. They looked to be safely negotiating the final overs late in the day when Spearman, on 27, played outside Ramnarine's wrong-un and was clean bowled. 107 for 3.

Vettori as nightwatchman survived a testing final over from Ramnarine and the second day ended with New Zealand on 113 for three and the match in a state nobody would have predicted 24 hours earlier: evenly poised.