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March 13, 2006
Chris Gayle may rue hitting a powerful six in the second innings at Auckland as it was a hit that not only lost the ball, but could have cost his side the game. The match-turning incident came midway through the fourth day of the first Test between West Indies and New Zealand at Eden Park, resulting in West Indies frittering away a great position.
The big-hitting Gayle, who put on a 148-run opening stand with Daren Ganga, swung Daniel Vettori into the stands, losing the ball in the process. Alarmingly the replacement cherry started to reverse swing, something the New Zealand bowlers were unable to extract with the previous ball. From having all wickets intact and needing just 143 to win, West Indies were rattled by the reverse-swing and crumbled to a close 27-run defeat.
Shane Bond, the wrecker-in-chief with four quick wickets, including that of Brian Lara, acknowledged the turn-around provided by the replacement ball. "The turning point was Chris [Gayle] whacking the ball up on the roof and we got a new ball and it reversed a few overs later and we exploited it well, we never gave up and we got the result," Bond told AFP.
Stephen Fleming, the New Zealand captain, concurred: ''We were able to get more swing and put more pressure on them. We finally started to hold our catches and we got into them a bit. 'Shane Bond bowled very well with the swing he was able to achieve and that let us get wickets and keep the pressure on.''
Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the West Indies's captain, also reckoned the change of ball made a difference. ''I don't want to say much about that but the new ball did swing around,'' he added. ''The lost ball was 35 overs old and this ball was 12 or so but there's not much I could say about it.''
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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