New Zealand v West Indies, 2nd Test, Wellington December 9, 2013

WI bullish after Dunedin fightback

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Match Facts

December 11-15, 2013, Wellington
Start time 10.30am (2130GMT previous day)

The Big Picture

Dunedin ended as one of those Tests that would take some explaining if one day we find life on another planet: five days of sweat and toil, then it rains and everyone troops off with a draw. Yet it was also a terrific example of what makes Test cricket so brilliant. There were two double centuries, some artful swing bowling, some skillful spin, some terrific catches and some drops, plus just a little bit of controversy.

After two-and-a-half days of being comprehensively outplayed there was a fear that, like in India, West Indies would not provide much of an opposition. Now they have shaken off the jetlag, chipped off the rust and - apart from the odd cold - started to get used to New Zealand weather. While New Zealand skulked out of Dunedin frustrated and bemoaning their luck, West Indies had a spring in their step not only because the rain saved them but also because they helped save themselves.

Now, though, they need to play as they did for the second half of that Test all over again - and from the start. Consistency is what coach Ottis Gibson and captain Darren Sammy are striving for, to make performances of Darren Bravo's ilk more the norm than the surprise.

They remain second-favourites in this series, largely due to the problems in their pace-bowling attack. The quicks are likely to get a pitch to help them in Wellington, but it remains to be seen whether Tino Best, Shannon Gabriel and maybe Sheldon Cottrell have the patience and skill to exploit them. Sammy, seemingly recovering well from his injury, could be the man best suited.

In the corresponding Test against England in March, following another long spell in the field in Dunedin, New Zealand were slow starters (it is the last time England reached 400 in a Test). There may be a little bit of neither the batsmen or the bowlers really wanting first use of the pitch, one lot because it could move all over the place and the second because of their workload. Some spicy pitches, though, are just what Test cricket needs.

Form guide


(Most recent first)

New Zealand DDDLL
West Indies DLLWW

Watch out for

Trent Boult bowled some superbly skillful spells in Dunedin - he also bowled a lot of overs. Both in Dunedin and early in the year Auckland his efforts with the ball have deserved more than a draw. He wants a chance to rekindle the team song. "The boys are always eager to sing that and a handful of guys haven't actually sung that song yet." Boult has shown the ability to swing the ball when others struggle; in helpful conditions he could be lethal.

Darren Sammy came into the first Test under significant pressure after a poor series in India and he responded impressively with bat and ball. Before his injury he was the most consistent West Indies seamer and his 80 in the second innings was a vital part of saving the Test. On flat pitches he is not a third-seamer in Test cricket, but if the Wellington surface offers some help for those who find a consistent line and length he may just be the man.

Team news

Kane Williamson scored 140 in a Hawke Cup match over the weekend and came through the bowling and fielding aspects of the outing. He will replace Aaron Redmond at No. 3. Elsewhere it is likely to be as-you-were with Brendon McCullum favouring a balanced attack.

New Zealand (probable) 1 Hamish Rutherford, 2 Peter Fulton, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Brendon McCullum (capt), 6 Corey Anderson, 7 BJ Watling (wk), 8 Ish Sodhi, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Neil Wagner, 11 Trent Boult

West Indies' pace-bowling options are limited. Shannon Gabriel was poor in Dunedin but Sammy suggested that they will show faith in him. Apart from Kieran Powell all the batsmen made at least one contribution in the first Test although Denesh Ramdin needs to produce more at No. 7.

West Indies (probable) 1 Kieran Powell, 2 Kirk Edwards, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 6 Narsingh Deonarine, 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Darren Sammy (capt), 9 Shane Shillingford, 10 Tino Best, 11 Shannon Gabriel

Pitch and conditions

It's green. How green it remains on Wednesday morning will be the key factor. Often there is the promise of more than actually eventuates. Either way, the captain winning the toss is almost certain to bowl. The forecast, as often for Wellington, is mixed with the first day set to be perfect but the risk of some rain later in the match. All the more reason for a lively pitch.

Stats and trivia

  • Craig McMillan, the former New Zealand batsman, was drafted into the current set-up as a batting coach for the two warm-up days to this Test as Bob Carter was away at a wedding.

  • New Zealand have not won a Test at the Basin Reserve in their last seven attempts since thrashing Bangladesh in 2008. In 2006 they beat West Indies by 10 wickets.

  • New Zealand have two more chances to avoid 2013 being only the third time they have not won a Test in a calendar year having played at least 10 matches.

Quotes

"We've seen some very good spinners come to New Zealand in recent history and it's not necessarily a place where they really prosper. I wouldn't be too upset if they played two spinners. I would be very surprised if they did."
Having looked at the pitch, Brendon McCullum would like to be confronted with two spinners

"I think they were playing their best cricket and yet still they didn't get the victory they deserved. We are keen to put pressure on them."
Darren Sammy has taken plenty of encouragement from his team's fightback in Dunedin

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on December 12, 2013, 2:06 GMT

    No macullum Cant sit out he is a type of playr which can take a loosing game to a winning position . I am big fan of ryder But still The macullum is a world class playr one of the best ones.

  • regofpicton on December 10, 2013, 21:40 GMT

    I cannot imaging a worse solution to the "problem" of draws than John McLean's D/L variant. Don't you follow test cricket John? Draws are NOT a problem. They are one of the great features of the game. Just have a look at the article "Its a draw" posted on cricinfo only a couple of days ago.

  • dummy4fb on December 10, 2013, 21:27 GMT

    So Sammy and Gibson think a green pitch will improve their two worst westindies bowlers. And leave out their best bowler. (Narine) I mean this is just painful for a die hard westindies fan. I foresee this test with serious disappointment toward our fast bowlers and some more brutal attacks toward Sammy when they come out to bat! Because I am sure Bravo is not hungry enough to go for back to back double tons! Narine should had played instead of Narsingh. They shoulda went a batsman short and attacked with these two deadly bowlers. (shane&Narine) As shane warne said if it seams it spins.

  • AvmanM on December 10, 2013, 20:40 GMT

    Being saved by rain does not = fightback.

  • More.blocks.than.a.leggo.box on December 10, 2013, 20:16 GMT

    WI have to play two front-line spinners + Deonarine as a third option regardless of the pitch. The medium pacers will get the same treatment as Dunedin.

  • heavy_cav_1066 on December 10, 2013, 20:15 GMT

    As stated in the article, Deonarine's inclusion would probably mean the West Indies going in with the same balance of the bowling attack as in the last game - three seamers and two spinners. Bad luck for Sunil Narine, but playing on a green pitch with just two seamers would mean bringing a spinner in to bowl within the first hour. Is Braithwaite available for selection or does Kieran Powell get another game?

  • android_user on December 10, 2013, 19:55 GMT

    rain is part of the test..nz lacks depth. in the bowling

  • dummy4fb on December 10, 2013, 19:32 GMT

    This my piece for this game: Their effort at Dunedin was resolute and the game ended with a draw after incessant rainfall ended proceedings prematurely but the next and penultimate test between West Indies and New Zealand promised to be fascinating at Wellington from Wednesday, tonight Caribbean time. Both teams have expressed deep confidence of doing well since their batsmen and bowlers churned out excellent performances in the first-test encounter. The travelling team West Indies can once again count on their experienced and inform batsmen to take up the mantle. A maiden double-century from Darren Bravo changed the complexion of that match after the hosts dominated things for a huge portion of the contest. New Zealand would have been indebted to two of their stalwarts, Ross Taylor for his magnificent double ton and skipper Brandon McCullum, who fashioned a century too. Curators have prepared a rather unusual pitch, which seems saturated with green grass. Forward short-leg?

  • dummy4fb on December 10, 2013, 17:57 GMT

    Narine needs to play for Gabriel. WI needs wickets.

  • cricfan91185178 on December 10, 2013, 17:13 GMT

    Fancy blaming the rain for not making it over the line.nz should bowled them out on friday..nz lacked the killer instinct, no pressure on the batsmen,..@22many may mccmillian has the lastest metservice app on his phone..teams weather man.

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