West Indies v New Zealand, 1st Test, Antigua, 4th day July 28, 2012

New Zealand top order bridges gap


New Zealand 351 and 199 for 3 (McCullum 84, Guptill 67) lead West Indies 522 (Deonarine 79, Sammy 50) by 28 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

After playing catch-up for two days, New Zealand finally showed more control over a sustained period to entertain thoughts of saving the game, after West Indies held the initiative with a 171-run first-innings lead. Half-centuries by Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum helped redress the balance as New Zealand comfortably erased the deficit and ended the day 28 ahead with seven wickets in hand, including that of Ross Taylor.

West Indies began the day trying to muster as much as they could with their four remaining wickets to try and bat New Zealand out of the game. Narsingh Deonarine and Darren Sammy helped themselves to half-centuries on a fourth-day pitch which didn't hold too many demons. West Indies batted out the entire first session, went past 500 and secured a 150-plus first-innings lead for the first time since the Multan Test of 2006.

With five sessions left in the Test, West Indies had enough time to extend their domination and push for a win. However, their seamers weren't able to sneak in the early breakthroughs and New Zealand's opening pair batted positively. They seemed to adopt a wait-and-watch approach to prevent the West Indies bowlers from gaining an early advantage, considering the scoreboard pressure.

New Zealand had the entire lunch break to regroup before they came out to bat, having bowled out the hosts at the stroke of lunch. Martin Guptill began with a sweetly-timed punch off the back foot which beat the bowler to get the innings going. The seamers at times bowled too full and on the pads to Guptill, who easily flicked them away to the leg side. There was a silly mid-on in place for the checked drive and Guptill nearly chipped it to that fielder.

Kemar Roach ran in hard to work up pace and beat the bat on occasion, but couldn't sustain the pressure long enough. Daniel Flynn was strong on the front foot, punching a half volley down the ground and opening the face of the bat to steer it past the slips. Sammy brought on Sunil Narine after eight overs, when New Zealand had added a brisk 34.

Narine had a shout in his opening over when the ball struck Guptill's pads as he tried to flick it. It turned out to be a wasted review by West Indies as replays showed the ball possibly missing the leg stump. Narine had better luck against Daniel Flynn in his following over, trapping him on the back foot plumb in front of the stumps. Flynn's departure slackened the run-rate, as Sammy, in particular, kept things tight with a stump-to-stump line. The pair of Guptill and Brendon McCullum was also watchful against Narine, who got a few to shoot off the rough outside the off stump.

West Indies had an opportunity to get rid of the well-set Guptill after tea, but they had only Roach to blame. Roach's no-ball problem has persisted through his career, and his foot fault no doubt must have been annoying for the team and fans. Guptill tamely chipped the ball to midwicket on 42, but the umpires wisely decided to take another look at the legality of the delivery. Roach had indeed overstepped and Guptill had a life. He rubbed it in by chipping the same bowler over midwicket and went on to raise his fifty. He had another close shave when a Narine delivery sprung up off the rough, lobbed off his glove and landed in front of gully.

McCullum showed more responsibility than he did in the first innings, where he threw his wicket away after making a start. His off-side play was more decisive. He tore into the part-time off spin of Marlon Samuels, slamming him for three fours in an over wide of backward point. The pair negated Narine by playing the ball late. McCullum was happy to get on the backfoot and shuffle across to play the off breaks.

The two had put on a crucial 123 before Guptill's luck ran out. Narine's round-the-wicket angle worked as he got one to turn and bounce, catching Guptill's glove on the way to Assad Fudadin, who took a sharp catch in front of his face at forward short leg. Roach's no-ball had cost West Indies 25 runs, as Guptill walked back for 67, his second fifty for the match.

McCullum continued to look positive, putting away deliveries square of the wicket on the off side. Ironically, it was the square cut that led to his dismissal. Roach bowled it short and McCullum went for the cut but ended up dragging it onto his stumps. He was 16 away from a century, and the frustration was palpable, considering the timing of his dismissal. Ross Taylor, who had warmed up with a couple of boundaries off Narine through the off side, had the nightwatchman Neil Wagner for company.

New Zealand may have emerged the better side on the context of the fourth day alone, but the pressure will be on them to consolidate this position going into the final day. Much will depend on Taylor to play a role similar to Guptill's as the innings anchor. West Indies have the opportunity to prove that they have the maturity to close out a Test match.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on July 29, 2012, 18:36 GMT

    West Indies look like they have finally find someone to open with Gayle, Powell is looking good lots of confidence after his first hundred.

  • Rol-J on July 29, 2012, 15:18 GMT

    The West Indies after this test should have their rank go up...To me they are fighting better than England fought the South Africans...And even when the Africans were here the Windies showed fight..

  • Dummy4 on July 29, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    An article written by Tony Cozier in Sunday Stabroek July 29, 2012. In that article Cozier inter alia wrote the foll. ".....inconceivable action at the end of the 3rd day play.........." " Sammy came to the wicket with 4 ovs remaining........" "Even before Daniel Vettori began the final over, Sammy had removed his helmet, placed his glove inside and held it under his arm......" " ....... He refused Deonarine's palpable single to cover off the 2nd ball." Cozier went on the describe this action as" thoughtless dereliction of responsibility." Well let us c. Deo was the set batter. It was the last over of the day. Deo is a better player of spin. Deo was not on 99. WI didn't need 1 to win. A night watchman wasn't send in. In the end it was Sammy c&b Vettori 50. I disagree with Tony. What do u think?

  • muhammed jabir on July 29, 2012, 14:10 GMT

    WI need more strike bowlers but dont have good fast bowlers they should bring in shillingford narine and roach as they are very good wicket takers. having a spin attack is not bad just look at pakistan as they beat england 4-0

  • Dummy4 on July 29, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    Well said Mr SIRSOBERS too much work load is being place and Roach and Narine and that will definitely lead to injuries especial and fast bowlers and New zealand would not be as comfortable against Best or Johnson as they are with Sammy and Rampaul ,Mr Chris Balgobin am not saying that Rampaul cant play in Team but not when you have only one other fast bowler if we have Roach,Edwards he can be first or second change if we are playing three are four fast bowler.

  • Mark on July 29, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    Nobody seems to give NZ any chance of winning this but it is not beyond the realms of possibility. Stranger things have happened in cricket. Consider this scenario- by no means unrealistic:

    NZ is bowled out 30 mins before tea with a lead of around 200. WI have to bat for 4-5 overs before the break and lose a couple of quick wickets. In the final session they have to decide to chase 200 odd at 6-7 RPO with 8 wickets in hand. Chasing gives NZ more chance of getting wickets. What do they do?

    Certainly the WI have the upper hand, especially if they get early wickets, but a win to either side or a draw are all still possibilities. Could be a very interesting last day. I hope NZ play with positive intent.

  • Ahmed on July 29, 2012, 8:05 GMT

    WI should be looking to win this one, and if they can bowl out NZ half way through the fifth day they've got a great chance. But WI are really depending too much on Narine and Roach to get the wickets. Sammy and Rampaul are just not good enough with the ball. Sammy is justifying his place in the team with his batting and not his bowling. I hope WI replace Rampaul with Tino Best or Fidel Edwards for the second test.

  • James on July 29, 2012, 6:37 GMT

    Hope Windies can press home advantage, but once again the lack of depth in the attack has let us down. In order to consitently win at Test level they need 4 bowlers who with averages of 30 or less, meaning they will bowl sides out regularly for less than 600 runs per match. Roach at 29 is already there and Narine is definitely the business, but Sammy and Rampaul just do not take enough wickets. Johnson and Shillingfiord should come in, although this leaves a problem with Sammy who is very handy with the bat. He could bat No 6 but Fudadin and Deonarine deserve another chance. Ramdin should go. He is inconsistent and put himself under too much pressure after his note to Viv. PS Otis you have to sort out Roach's no ball problem.

  • Dummy4 on July 29, 2012, 6:18 GMT

    go ross taylor play a captains innings...........kane can support u.......i predict 130 for rossco.

  • Dummy4 on July 29, 2012, 5:13 GMT

    So Mr. Peter Paul, you think that Ravi Rampaul don't deserve a place in the team, and he bowled only 6 of 64 overs, I don't know if he is hurt, do u know if he is hurt. if he is hurt then he cant bowl right, therefore I would blame the captain for not handing him the ball.

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