West Indies hit back with crucial wickets
The advantage swung back and forth on a fascinating second day at Auckland, at the end of which the game was balanced on a knife edge with neither New Zealand nor West Indies being able to capitalise when they held the upper hand. West Indies stemmed an early-morning collapse and looked set to surge ahead but frittered away the chance to consolidate, conceding an 18-run first-innings lead. New Zealand rebuilt after an early loss in the second innings but gave it away with some indiscrete strokeplay, ending the day 116 ahead with six wickets in hand.
West Indies however might feel that they ended the day on a high. They had one bowler, Jerome Taylor, struggling with a hamstring, and another, Ian Bradshaw, warned for running on to the danger area on the pitch. After the loss of an early wicket, New Zealand had strung together a 56-run partnership. But just when the tide seemed to be turning other way, Bradshaw and Fidel Edwards produced a three-wicket burst, with generous assistance from the New Zealand batsmen of course.
Jamie How, who had played aggressively for his 37, latching on to anything loose on his pads and once flat-batting Edwards down the ground, top-edged a hook, which Denesh Ramdin caught, sprinting behind, ten yards from the fine-leg boundary. Edwards then struck twice, inducing Peter Fulton to inside-edge on to his stumps and Scott Styris, the first-innings centurion, to pull straight to Bradshaw at deep fine-leg. New Zealand could have been in deeper trouble hadn't Ramdin dropped a straightforward leg-side chance off Stephen Fleming on zero. Fleming edged and prodded his way to 19.
Earlier, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Dwyane Bravo had bailed West Indies out with contrasting fifties after New Zealand had dismissed Brian Lara and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, cheaply. The much-touted battle between Shane Bond and Lara lasted just one ball. Lara was early on the pull shot and toe-ended it to Carl Cachopa, the substitute fielder, at square leg. Shivnarine Chanderpaul, with his square-on stance, was troubled as the bowlers kept the ball full to him. He steered three fours through gully and point but was out to a needless shot - nicking one down leg side from Franklin.
Despite the precarious position, Sarwan rode his luck on any width outside off stump and was severe on Chris Martin. New Zealand had an opportunity to set West Indies back further but Martin fluffed a return catch off Sarwan when he was on 42. Sarwan had chanced his arm against Franklin and Bond and collected risky fours overs gully and slips, but he was more assured against Martin, who offered him free hits. While Sarwan was playing his shots, Bravo nudged, pushed and rotated strike. Once settled, he cashed in with consecutive fours off Martin and two lucky ones through slip off Bond.
Bravo started the second session with two boundaries but thereafter New Zealand slowed down the pace. Franklin bowled a testing spell during which he had Bravo repeatedly wafting outside off stump. When Sarwan fell to a top-edged hook to fine leg while trying to force the pace, West Indies were still 94 runs short of New Zealand's score. Dwayne Smith came in with a reputation to live up to and started in belligerent fashion. He flayed and missed outside the off stump and biffed fours down the ground before Martin ended his joy ride with one that took the edge after rising steeply.
Daniel Vettori had inexplicably bowled just two overs in the first 60 and he wrapped up the tail in his second spell to end with figures of 2 of 7 from 7.2 overs. Vettori's frugality forced Bravo to seek runs at the other end and he perished while doing so as West Indies folded for 257.
Brian Lara c (sub) Cachopa b Bond 5 (60 for 3)
Pulled off the toe end to square leg
Shivnarine Chanderpaul c McCullum b Franklin 13 (90 for 5)
Edged down leg side
Ramnaresh Sarwan c Franklin b Bond 62 (179 for 6)
Top-edged a hook to fine leg
Dwayne Smith c McCullum b Martin 38 (238 for 7)
Edged one that rose steeply
Dwayne Bravo c Bond b Martin 58 (247 for 8)
Chipped to mid-on
Denesh Ramdin c & b Vettori (252 for 9)
Deceived by flight, leading edge
Fidel Edwards c McCullum b Vettori 4 (257 for 10)
Outside edge while pushing forward
Hamish Marshall c Ganga b Bradshaw 1 (11 for 1)
Low catch at gully off the outside edge
Jamie How c Ramdin b Bradshaw 37 (66 for 2)
Top-edged a hook, keeper ran towards fine leg
Peter Fulton d Edwards 28 (73 for 3)
Played on an inswinger
Scott Styris c Bradshaw b Edwards 5 (88 for 4)
Falls to the hook trap
George Binoy is editorial assistant of Cricinfo