Ramdin, Chanderpaul revive WI
West Indies 289 for 6 (Ramdin 107, Chanderpaul 94*, Anderson 3-25) v New Zealand
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
It is their collapses that are spectacular these days, and West Indies didn't disappoint on that front again, losing 4 for 9 to convert a solid start of 77 for 1 to 86 for 5. But what followed was even more spectacular, and substantial. Denesh Ramdin and Shivnarine Chanderpaul stunned New Zealand with a sixth-wicket partnership of 200 that came at just over four an over. Ramdin's exit late in the day after his fourth Test hundred gave New Zealand some respite, but Chanderpaul was closing in on his 29th century, and West Indies had two specialist spinners and two competent part-timers to exploit a slow pitch which afforded turn and bounce for slow bowlers even on day one.
Just under half an hour of typical chaos after lunch when those four wickets fell seemed to justify Brendon McCullum's decision to bowl. But the relative comfort with which West Indies batted on either side of that short period showed that the Seddon Park pitch had been of little help to New Zealand.
There was some swing for large parts of the day, and the occasional seam, but under mostly bright sunshine, the surface lacked the bite that had been there in Wellington. New Zealand weren't as disciplined as they had been in the previous Test. Ramdin and Chanderpaul were never tied down, and hit boundaries freely, helped along by some uncharacteristically sloppy New Zealand fielding and catching.
Ramdin was put down twice on 57 and 92 at midwicket and short cover, and Chanderpaul escaped with several airy nudges that just beat leg gully. Both batsmen took their chances, and prospered. Ramdin was imperious through cover and point, driving the fast bowlers at will for fours. The off-side infield would think they had an opportunity, but by the time someone dived or stuck out his hand, the ball would have sped towards the boundary. Ramdin repeatedly unsettled the legspinner Ish Sodhi, slog-sweeping and pulling him powerfully.
Chanderpaul was troubled by Sodhi's turn and bounce initially, the fielder at leg gully always in with a chance. But he survived, and drove the quick bowlers smoothly down the ground. New Zealand tried the short ball often against Chanderpaul, with a deep square leg, fine leg and leg gully, but he took them on, pulling confidently.
There was a flurry of boundaries just before and after the second new ball was taken, before Ramdin edged Corey Anderson behind in the 87th over to fall for 107. The previous wicket had gone 299 balls ago, when New Zealand had found themselves on top, out of nowhere.
West Indies showed again they could collapse regardless of the pitch, conditions or bowling. Kraigg Brathwaite, playing his first Test since April 2012 in place of Darren Bravo, had helped the visitors navigate the first session for the loss of only Kieran Powell, who had only himself to blame for trying an upper-cut while swaying away from a bouncer. Brathwaite, dropped on 13 and 15, and Powell had survived for more than an hour and put on 41.
It was Tim Southee who kickstarted the drama soon after lunch. Brathwaite had been tentative often but had survived through some pluck and some fortune to proceed to 45. But when Southee dug it in short, Brathwaite's awkward style conspired to send the ball to gully. Southee was bowling some big outswingers now, and Kirk Edwards feathered one of them behind while trying to leave it, and was given out after New Zealand reviewed. Marlon Samuels flayed irresponsibly at his ninth delivery to edge to gully for a duck and Narsingh Deonarine missed a clip to be caught in front.
Yet again, it was down to Chanderpaul, and he wasn't going to throw it away easily on such a pitch. Refreshingly, even Ramdin wasn't willing to.
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo