West Indies v New Zealand, 1st Test, Antigua July 24, 2012

Test lightweights scrap for rare success

44

Match facts

July 25-29
Start time 1000 (1400 GMT)

Big Picture

Midway through the limited-overs leg of the tour, you felt sorry for New Zealand as, bereft of several seniors, they slid from defeat to defeat. Their stand-in captain Kane Williamson, all of 21 years old and looking even younger, earnestly defended his inexperienced team after Chris Gayle effortlessly dished out half-century after half-century.

Two senior batsmen, Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum, were available in the final two ODIs, and New Zealand will be further boosted by the arrival of two old hands, their man-for-all occasions Daniel Vettori and their pace spearhead Chris Martin. Their presence lifts a bowling line-up that looked pretty fragile during large parts of the one-day series, as does the inclusion of Neil Wagner, a man in whom New Zealand fans have placed an almost inordinate amount of faith.

New Zealand pulled off one of their greatest Test victories last year against Australia, and competed against South Africa in a home defeat. It's been more than a decade since they won a Test series away from home (excluding Bangladesh and Zimbabwe), and while they enter these contests as underdogs, it still presents them with their best opportunity for an overseas victory.

For that they need to find answers to the same players who gave them plenty of headaches in the limited-overs matches: Gayle and Sunil Narine. Gayle returns for his first Test in more than 19 months, and West Indies will hope that solves their top-order troubles; in recent series, West Indies have typically been three for almost nothing, leaving the middle-order facing a salvage job. Shivnarine Chanderpaul has been their rescuer-in-chief for years now, and his presence solidifies a batting line-up that was explosive but inconsistent in the one-dayers.

The focus will also be on Narine, who continued to be a match-winner in limited-overs matches, but is yet to show whether he can be similarly effective in the five-day game. His Test debut in England was a disaster, but on more familiar surfaces and in more comfortable temperatures, Narine should prove more dangerous. If he clicks, West Indies' chances of only their second series win in more than nine years (excluding Zimbabwe and Bangladesh) will be considerably bright.

Form guide

(Completed games, most recent first)
West Indies DLLLD
New Zealand DLDWW

Watch out for...

Neil Wagner, the South Africa-born left-arm seamer, has dominated the domestic scene in New Zealand in recent years. The days remaining till he qualified to represent New Zealand were eagerly counted down, and he was picked as soon as he was available. He impressed in the practice match, and with fast bowlers Trent Boult and Mark Gillespie injured, he is expected to make his Test debut.

Kemar Roach was on-song against Australia in the home series earlier this year, and troubled England's batsmen as well before pulling out of the tour with an ankle injury. The warm-up game against the New Zealanders was his first match since then, and he showed he was ready to go with a four-wicket burst in the first innings. With his raw pace, Roach provides West Indies with a genuinely threatening spearhead.

Pitch and conditions

There were runs available in the warm-up match on the same ground if batsmen had the required patience, but there should be plenty of opportunity for the bowlers on this surface. Chris Martin, the New Zealand fast bowler, said: "The warm-up game showed us that if we're in the right areas for long enough the up-and-down nature of the pitch is probably going to get us results."

Team news

Gayle's return and the form of Marlon Samuels, who scored plenty of runs in the recent England Tests, means the batting burden on Chanderpaul is reduced. One of the harder decisions West Indies will have to take is who between Ravi Rampaul and Tino Best to pick.

West Indies: (probable) 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Adrian Barath, 3 Kieran Powell, 4 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 5 Marlon Samuels, 6 Narsingh Deonarine, 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Darren Sammy (capt), 9 Sunil Narine, 10 Ravi Rampaul/Tino Best, 11 Kemar Roach

With Trent Boult injured, Wagner is expected to start, possibly the only change from the XI that lined up for the final Test against South Africa.

New Zealand: (probable) 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Daniel Flynn, 3 Brendon McCullum, 4 Ross Taylor (capt), 5 Kane Williamson, 6 Dean Brownlie, 7 Daniel Vettori, 8 Kruger van Wyk (wk), 9 Doug Bracewell, 10 Neil Wagner, 11 Chris Martin

Stats and trivia

  • New Zealand last lost a Test against West Indies in Barbados in 1996. Since then, they have won five and drawn five.
  • Chris Gayle is just 63 runs away from surpassing Gordon Greenidge as the highest run-getter for West Indies against New Zealand. Gayle has scored 820 runs in seven Tests at 74.54.

Quotes

"A warm-up game is a warm-up game. We got what we wanted out of it. We were lucky to come away with the draw but most of the batsmen had a decent bat out there and the bowlers got a good trundle for one innings."
New Zealand's Ross Taylor doesn't want to read too much into his team's showing in the tour match

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 777aditya on July 25, 2012, 17:48 GMT

    TINO BEST is not playing?! - bowled well and batted out of his skin against England recently - come on WI, show some heart!!!

  • on July 25, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    @mrpontintoyou...when WI were "killing" other teams, we did not suggest that those teams go to a lower division!!! Sure we have had a prolonged bad patch but we are on the rise!! Our biggest problem has been the WICB. If the right team is selected, we can compete with ANY team in the world. A team of Gayle, Barath, Sarwan, Darren Bravo, Chandrapaul, Samuels, Ramdin (capt), Taylor, Roach, Ramphal and Narine will give any team in the world a strong fight for their money!!!

  • on July 25, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    West Indies all the way but why oh Why isnt Tino Best playing after last time nearly getting 100s in his last test and taking wickets

  • on July 25, 2012, 13:54 GMT

    West Indies should take this series 2-0. The WI are playing with a lot of confidence at the moment. No doubt Gayle's return has given this team a boost!! The WICB may not like Gayle but it is obvious the players love him. This is a good time to recall Sarwan as well, he will solidify the number 3 slot and with Gayle, Samuels and Shiv, they give the West Indies a formidable lineup. The call between Best and Ramphal to me is not as tough as most people think. If you look at the last 2 years of WI test cricket, Ramphal has almost always gotten that early breakthrough for WI. Best has real pace and brings lots of energy to the field but is too emotional and lacks focus at times...Go Windies!!!

  • rsgarcia on July 25, 2012, 13:53 GMT

    @MrPontingToYou, be careful what you wish for. Australia might just slide down to that second tier sooner than you think, given those impending retirements, your fragile newbies and your current test ranking. It's ridiculous to talk of two tiers. How will lower ranked teams get better if they don't play the best? Such selfish talk ignores the reality of sport. If all are given a fair chance to play, the best will rise to the top. It's how Jamaica is now a track and field world player after years of nothing when the USA dominated. When I hear two tier talk, I hear teams who are desperate to hold on to their top spots and eyeing improving lower ranked teams with anxious eyes.

  • on July 25, 2012, 13:48 GMT

    rampaul should be in the team.... the decision should be between best and roach

  • SNIFFLEATHER on July 25, 2012, 13:15 GMT

    MrPontingToYou...

    Perhaps YOU should be demoted to a second level of posting, after your recent post

  • Baundele on July 25, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    Excluding Bangladesh from the stats is good for West Indies. Their whitewash against Bangladesh can be forgotten about. ;)

  • Jester01 on July 25, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    "Lightweight" thats a bit harsh... So that will that make England "Mini flyweight" seeing that the Kiwi's didn't lose by an innings to SA when they visited their shores. I'm a SA supporter but can't wait for Chris Gayle's return to the test arena. Good luck to both teams.

  • mar2000 on July 25, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    Will i be hearing the same when WI are back at the top and the now top half is at the bottom.

  • 777aditya on July 25, 2012, 17:48 GMT

    TINO BEST is not playing?! - bowled well and batted out of his skin against England recently - come on WI, show some heart!!!

  • on July 25, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    @mrpontintoyou...when WI were "killing" other teams, we did not suggest that those teams go to a lower division!!! Sure we have had a prolonged bad patch but we are on the rise!! Our biggest problem has been the WICB. If the right team is selected, we can compete with ANY team in the world. A team of Gayle, Barath, Sarwan, Darren Bravo, Chandrapaul, Samuels, Ramdin (capt), Taylor, Roach, Ramphal and Narine will give any team in the world a strong fight for their money!!!

  • on July 25, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    West Indies all the way but why oh Why isnt Tino Best playing after last time nearly getting 100s in his last test and taking wickets

  • on July 25, 2012, 13:54 GMT

    West Indies should take this series 2-0. The WI are playing with a lot of confidence at the moment. No doubt Gayle's return has given this team a boost!! The WICB may not like Gayle but it is obvious the players love him. This is a good time to recall Sarwan as well, he will solidify the number 3 slot and with Gayle, Samuels and Shiv, they give the West Indies a formidable lineup. The call between Best and Ramphal to me is not as tough as most people think. If you look at the last 2 years of WI test cricket, Ramphal has almost always gotten that early breakthrough for WI. Best has real pace and brings lots of energy to the field but is too emotional and lacks focus at times...Go Windies!!!

  • rsgarcia on July 25, 2012, 13:53 GMT

    @MrPontingToYou, be careful what you wish for. Australia might just slide down to that second tier sooner than you think, given those impending retirements, your fragile newbies and your current test ranking. It's ridiculous to talk of two tiers. How will lower ranked teams get better if they don't play the best? Such selfish talk ignores the reality of sport. If all are given a fair chance to play, the best will rise to the top. It's how Jamaica is now a track and field world player after years of nothing when the USA dominated. When I hear two tier talk, I hear teams who are desperate to hold on to their top spots and eyeing improving lower ranked teams with anxious eyes.

  • on July 25, 2012, 13:48 GMT

    rampaul should be in the team.... the decision should be between best and roach

  • SNIFFLEATHER on July 25, 2012, 13:15 GMT

    MrPontingToYou...

    Perhaps YOU should be demoted to a second level of posting, after your recent post

  • Baundele on July 25, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    Excluding Bangladesh from the stats is good for West Indies. Their whitewash against Bangladesh can be forgotten about. ;)

  • Jester01 on July 25, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    "Lightweight" thats a bit harsh... So that will that make England "Mini flyweight" seeing that the Kiwi's didn't lose by an innings to SA when they visited their shores. I'm a SA supporter but can't wait for Chris Gayle's return to the test arena. Good luck to both teams.

  • mar2000 on July 25, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    Will i be hearing the same when WI are back at the top and the now top half is at the bottom.

  • Silva-Surfa on July 25, 2012, 11:42 GMT

    Quite insulting to call both teams lightweights. Yes NZ have always been a average team on paper, but a organised collective unit with some very good or world cllass players always made them respectable and the Windies have struggled for a long time, but they've marked their legacy in the game and shouldn't be regarded as lesser because of conceited-ignorance!!..speaking of the heavyweights, it was good to see England get slapped back down to earth because comparisions were being made to the dominant West Indies and Australia teams, who ruled for well over a decade in their eras, they've got a very good team, but certainly not great!..Regarding this match it's the same old debate involving Sammy's presence unbalancing the team. If he doesn't get dropped eventually, then the only soluton is for him to bat six, play a extra batsman or bowler depending on the wicket and for him to take full responsibility as the genuine allrounder, instead of a part-time one.

  • SwingandSeam on July 25, 2012, 11:35 GMT

    Why do so many people want Tino Best to play. His career average is appalling (47 nearly). If all the bowlers were on the same standard, then the opposition would be scoring in the region of 1000 runs per match. Even a team full of 11 Brian Laras would have problems overturning those kind of totals. Pick Rampaul for sure.

  • sawifan on July 25, 2012, 11:18 GMT

    @MrPontingToYou... i take it from your name you're an Aussie (as I am, and also a massive Punter fan). You comment is quite stupid given our boys were beaten recently by the Kiwi's in a test in Australia... anyway, looking forward to seeing Gayle score a big ton!

  • waitara on July 25, 2012, 11:13 GMT

    @mrpontingtoyou - utter rubbish!

  • baumy on July 25, 2012, 11:07 GMT

    Well the Kiwis should more guts in their efforts against SA recently than another so called "#1 team in the world". Just who are the light weights?? How many wickets did England take in the recent test?

  • stlucian on July 25, 2012, 10:16 GMT

    lets go boyz,we all in .let us see who the real cricketers are .it is one think to perform in the shorter form of the game but test cricket is a man game

  • on July 25, 2012, 10:13 GMT

    Testing! Ignore.... They may be lightweights, but either one of these teams will take more than two opposing wickets & more than likely thrash the 'so called' #1 team if they play them tomorrow :-) Well enough with the farce of the 'heavyweights' over there, let's get down to some real cricket over here. It looks like we have Gayle/Shiv in one corner versus Taylor/McCullum/Vettori in the other. I think Vettori will give the Kiwis the edge. Don't think the Windies will play both Powell & Barath. More than likely Fudadin @ 3, Samuels @ 4 & Shiv @ 5. Tough call between Rampaul & Best.

  • iamsuperman on July 25, 2012, 10:13 GMT

    Lightweights? When did West Indies become light weight? Everyone one will be happy to call England lightweight at the end of 2012 !!!!!

  • on July 25, 2012, 9:22 GMT

    NZ should play Southee in place of Brownlie or Flynn. I don't see those two scoring much more than he would, plus he isn't a bad swing bowler. He will have a point to prove against the likes of Wagner and Bracewell (not to mention Boult when he returns) so go in with 4 pacemen plus Vettori, it's our best bet to beat these boys.

  • on July 25, 2012, 9:17 GMT

    Russell should be in this team along with Dwyane Bravo, neither Powell or Barath should be here.

  • cskfangg on July 25, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    Its time for WICB to wakeup and leave sammy out from playing Tests , he may be a handy player but he always occupies the place of a genuiune fast bowler. Give captaincy to someone else, may be samuels or Gayle(but he is WI problem child) If DMBravo is fit please make him play at No.3 in place of powell.

    My team will be : Chris Gayle, Adrian Barath, powell ,Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Marlon Samuels(capt), Narsingh Deonarine, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Tino best , Sunil Narine, Ravi Rampaul , Kemar Roach.

  • stickywicketnick on July 25, 2012, 8:57 GMT

    Scott Styris did get asked to come back into the T20, but he declined. He is going to be helping out as a batting coach during the tournament as is Shane Bond. Who cares about the T20 World Cup anyway? It's on every two years!

  • Big_Bat on July 25, 2012, 8:43 GMT

    Windies looks like having a good side, just imagine if Sammy was out and Best/Edwards was in his place, it would definately be a stronger side.

  • vaughanw on July 25, 2012, 8:11 GMT

    Might be a good toss to loose, because black caps can probably put more pressure on the West Indies if we bowl first, but I dont think anyone will want to bat last here, so Rosco surely would bat first! Wagner will def debut - hes the best strike bowler in NZ first class cricket (last 3 years), Southee who? Actually I hope he does realise his potential...but Bracewell will be 3rd seamer surely and hopefuly he can build on a fantastic 1st year!! (He was key in all NZ's test wins last season!). Here is hoping for bags or runs from McCullum, Taylor and Williamson! My only real concern is how they play Narine. I fear Guptil maybe badly exposed in this series though I would love him to prove me wrong! Think McCullum and Flynn should swap positions. Inevitably we will be one down inside 5 overs so he may as well open anyhow!! Good luck boys!!

  • MrPontingToYou on July 25, 2012, 7:37 GMT

    both teams should be playing in a second level of test cricket, with the likes of b'desh and zimbabwe.

  • everfaithful77 on July 25, 2012, 7:10 GMT

    I don't think NZ and WI are LIGHTWEIGHTS at all after the HIDING England received from South Africa. West Indies last drew with Pakistan and came very close to winning matches in series against India, Australia and England. The top 8 teams are much closer than you think although the points table might not reflect this. The differences are more based on experience and pitch conditions rather than player skills. England is very strong at home as is India but look what happened when they played overseas against Pakistan and Australia respectively. They both got a terrible BEATING. Australia is a team in transition and still very fragile as clearly shown in their recent MELTDOWNS vs SA and NZ. The situation will get even more interesting after the impending retirement of aging GREAT batsmen like Ponting, Kallis and Tendulkar. The key for teams like WI and NZ is to keep searching for and recruiting young SPECIAL TALENTS that could give them the CUTTING EDGE to climb up the test table.

  • on July 25, 2012, 5:16 GMT

    where is tim SOUTHEE ??????????????????????????

  • waterboy786 on July 25, 2012, 4:13 GMT

    scott styris 100 of 37 precious balls.... t20 world cup coming up... genuine all rounder.... useful experience... in top form at the moment... no need for brownlie or flynn.... call scott styris back and slot him into that 5th or 6th position for strong finishes and game winning knocks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and bowl him if needed be... also a good all round bowler!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LETS JUST CALL STYRIS BACK... AND WIN THIS T20 CUP!!!!!!!!!!!

    GO THE BLACKCAPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    thank you and hope you take my advice.

  • CaptainPiha on July 25, 2012, 3:09 GMT

    Big questions: 1. Can Wagner hack it at test level? (Fingers crossed yes) 2. Will Gayle remember how to play test cricket? (Fingers crossed no) 3. Can Narine's fingers last for 30 overs? (Please lord no) 4. Can NZ's top order get their feet out of the toilet bowl and play line and length for more than 100 balls. (Ummm, no) 5. Can Kanye Williamson fulfil his destiny as the greatest NZ batsman since Martin Crowe? (yes!)

  • waterboy786 on July 25, 2012, 0:58 GMT

    100 OF 37 BALLS..... T20 WORLD CUP COMING UP.... POTENTIAL ALL ROUNDER WITH EXPERIENCE.... BRING SCOTT STYRIS BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ramcharitarvishal on July 25, 2012, 0:29 GMT

    As a WI fan, I believe the probable eleven looks okay without Tino, he is mor one day material in my opinion. I am sure we would see a very interesting competition, especially with the return of Vettori and Martin from NZ side and a more mature Chris, Samuels, Narine on WI side. Go WI, let's take the test series tooo!!!!!!

  • TeamSelector on July 24, 2012, 23:32 GMT

    They may be lightweights, but either one of these teams will take more than two opposing wickets & more than likely thrash the 'so called' #1 team if they play them tomorrow :-) Well enough with the farce of the 'heavyweights' over there, let's get down to some real cricket over here. It looks like we have Gayle/Shiv in one corner versus Taylor/McCullum/Vettori in the other. I think Vettori will give the Kiwis the edge. Don't think the Windies will play both Powell & Barath. More than likely Fudadin @ 3, Samuels @ 4 & Shiv @ 5. Tough call between Rampaul & Best.

  • Flighted_kiwi on July 24, 2012, 22:43 GMT

    New Zealand should play to their strengths and, at the moment, their bowling (plus fielding) is their strength. They will have 2 very experienced bowlers operating with a couple of exciting relative newcomers (at test level). The attack is varied and has some genuine wicket takers. If NZ bat first then present form indicates that they will be on the back foot for the rest of the match. Thus I believe they should bowl first if they win the toss. The weight of expectation is huge on the WI team. From the comments of some of their fans you'd think all they have to do is turn up to win. And if anything goes wrong the anti-Sammy brigade will be merciless in asking for his head. So if NZ can bowl first and take early wickets they will likely place huge pressure on the WI. Go the Black Caps!

  • Rising_Edge1234 on July 24, 2012, 22:39 GMT

    Lightweights..ha ha ha. Fitting. Let's see who'll be the lightweight champion of the world. Let's get ready to rumblllllllle

  • obatsalem1979 on July 24, 2012, 21:13 GMT

    chanderpaul prefers to bat number 5,so i think he will go back where he is comfortable.

    i had the same probable 11,with rampaul ahead of best. rampaul is slower,but he is more consistent. yes rampaul might only get top order batsmen,thing is,tino best is too erratic,he could easily bowl two beamers and be banned from bowling in an innings.

    in jamaica,i could see a roach,best and fidel edwards bowling attack.

  • Maccanui on July 24, 2012, 21:13 GMT

    It's difficult to see NZ losing this one. And another great chance for the lads to work on their tans.

  • HongKongKings on July 24, 2012, 20:03 GMT

    How is James Franklin not in the ODI or Test Teams

  • warneneverchuck on July 24, 2012, 19:38 GMT

    Love to see both the teams do well always. So may be the beat team win this team as competitimg with each other now

  • denessa on July 24, 2012, 18:07 GMT

    ALL THE BEST TO CHRIS AND THE REST OF THE TEAM....PLAY HARD GUYS YOU CAN DO IT........

  • Akshaythekaxk on July 24, 2012, 17:58 GMT

    Still a far better contest than India - Sri Lanka

  • keerthi_kumar08 on July 24, 2012, 17:43 GMT

    west indies is going to win.....

  • SwingandSeam on July 24, 2012, 16:58 GMT

    There should be no question about it, but Rampaul should be picked ahead of Tino Best, although I would have liked tao see Delorn Johnson get a chance. Tino has managed a bowling average of nearly 47 runs per wicket since his debut 9 years ago, and really has no right being in considered for Test cricket. He has improved of late, but someone else deserves a chance.

  • LeftBrain on July 24, 2012, 16:48 GMT

    Low profile yes, but should be intereting as two teams can pull it off if one or two of their seniors fire. Vettori, Taylor or Martin here or Gayle, Shiv, Roach their. Should be an interesting and closely fought contest. A better contest than say, the one played earlier this week at Oval.

  • StevieS on July 24, 2012, 16:44 GMT

    This has to be Guptill's last chance, unfortunately he going to be one of those players that score heavily in first class cricket but his short comings are exposed by better international bowlers.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • StevieS on July 24, 2012, 16:44 GMT

    This has to be Guptill's last chance, unfortunately he going to be one of those players that score heavily in first class cricket but his short comings are exposed by better international bowlers.

  • LeftBrain on July 24, 2012, 16:48 GMT

    Low profile yes, but should be intereting as two teams can pull it off if one or two of their seniors fire. Vettori, Taylor or Martin here or Gayle, Shiv, Roach their. Should be an interesting and closely fought contest. A better contest than say, the one played earlier this week at Oval.

  • SwingandSeam on July 24, 2012, 16:58 GMT

    There should be no question about it, but Rampaul should be picked ahead of Tino Best, although I would have liked tao see Delorn Johnson get a chance. Tino has managed a bowling average of nearly 47 runs per wicket since his debut 9 years ago, and really has no right being in considered for Test cricket. He has improved of late, but someone else deserves a chance.

  • keerthi_kumar08 on July 24, 2012, 17:43 GMT

    west indies is going to win.....

  • Akshaythekaxk on July 24, 2012, 17:58 GMT

    Still a far better contest than India - Sri Lanka

  • denessa on July 24, 2012, 18:07 GMT

    ALL THE BEST TO CHRIS AND THE REST OF THE TEAM....PLAY HARD GUYS YOU CAN DO IT........

  • warneneverchuck on July 24, 2012, 19:38 GMT

    Love to see both the teams do well always. So may be the beat team win this team as competitimg with each other now

  • HongKongKings on July 24, 2012, 20:03 GMT

    How is James Franklin not in the ODI or Test Teams

  • Maccanui on July 24, 2012, 21:13 GMT

    It's difficult to see NZ losing this one. And another great chance for the lads to work on their tans.

  • obatsalem1979 on July 24, 2012, 21:13 GMT

    chanderpaul prefers to bat number 5,so i think he will go back where he is comfortable.

    i had the same probable 11,with rampaul ahead of best. rampaul is slower,but he is more consistent. yes rampaul might only get top order batsmen,thing is,tino best is too erratic,he could easily bowl two beamers and be banned from bowling in an innings.

    in jamaica,i could see a roach,best and fidel edwards bowling attack.