West Indies v New Zealand, 1st Test, Antigua, 5th day July 29, 2012

Roach sets up crushing win for West Indies


West Indies 522 (Gayle 150, Powell 134, Deonarine 79) and 102 for 1 (Gayle 64*) beat New Zealand 351 (Guptill 97, Narine 5-132) and 272 (Guptill 67, McCullum 84, Roach 5-60) by nine wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Victory didn't seem so certain at the end of the fourth day, but West Indies delivered the knockout punch on the fifth, thanks to their seamers, to cruise to a nine-wicket win and take a 1-0 lead in the series. West Indies needed to pick up the seven remaining wickets as quickly as possible, and Kemar Roach hastened that with a five-wicket haul to give the hosts an easy target of 102, which Chris Gayle and Kieran Powell approached without fuss.

It was a continuation of the good work put in by West Indies after they landed home from a tough tour of England. The inclusion of Gayle and Sunil Narine - giants in Twenty20 leagues - heightened the anticipation for cricket fans world over. Both made significant contributions in the victory - Gayle with 150 in the first innings and Narine with a match haul of eight wickets, including a five-for in the first innings. It was West Indies' third win in the last two years and arguably with their strongest XI in recent months.

For New Zealand, their tour only got tougher, having surrendered the T20s and ODIs to the hosts. However, they showed a lot of character on the fourth day to raise hopes of saving the game. The top order didn't allow the scoreboard pressure to weigh them down, and ended the day 28 ahead with seven wickets in hand. They needed their batsmen to sustain that intensity and bat out at least two sessions on the final day, but when their specialist batsmen let them down early, the writing was on the wall for the visitors.

A double-strike by Roach, immediately after a short rain interval, raised West Indies' hopes of closing out the game. The wickets heaped pressure on New Zealand as the battle for survival got tougher against an incisive Roach and Narine, who looked like striking every over. Neil Wagner impressed with his defence and perseverance as a nightwatchman, but New Zealand expected more from their specialist batsmen in a tense morning session.

With fielders hovering around the batsmen, run-scoring was a challenge. New Zealand managed just two boundaries in the morning. It was a battle of attrition as New Zealand scored just 26 runs off as many overs in the session. Not surprisingly, Narine shouldered the burden, bowling 12 of those overs. The ball spun and shot up off the rough, troubling Wagner in particular who hung on a cliff's edge each time he took guard against the spinner.

But it was Roach who provided the two breakthroughs. A short shower forced the players off the field for 20 minutes. Roach struck two balls after resumption, pitching it outside off and angling it into Ross Taylor, who was trapped on the pads just in front of the leg stump.

Taylor went for the review, but the on-field umpire's call was upheld. Roach struck again in his following over, uprooting Kane Williamson's off stump with a beauty that held its line and beat the bat. West Indies had struck twice in 11 balls for no run.

The pressure was on Dean Brownlie, who took 19 balls to get off the mark. In a ten-over period, New Zealand managed just five runs, showing just how much control West Indies had had over them.

Roach, now armed with the new ball, struck in the first over after the lunch break when he removed the resolute Wagner caught behind, trying to drive. Wagner's 103-ball vigil as nightwatchman should serve as a lesson to the specialist batsmen, who failed to hang around long enough to frustrate West Indies. Ravi Rampaul removed Brownlie the following over, inducing an edge to Chris Gayle at slip. Darren Sammy was tempted to take Rampaul off the attack and bring back Narine, but a fired-up Rampaul convinced his captain to change his mind, and he responded with Daniel Vettori's wicket.

Narine too had some success after lunch, though, when he trapped Doug Bracewell plumb in front of the stumps. Kruger van Wyk farmed the strike with Chris Martin and played some enterprising reverse sweeps to take the lead past 100, but Roach had the last laugh when he knocked back van Wyk's off stump to take his fifth five-wicket haul.

A target of 102 was never going to test the hosts, especially with the in-form Gayle around. He helped himself to an easy half-century to crown his return to the Test side after an exile of one and a half years. New Zealand only managed Powell's wicket with the score on 77, but at that stage the game was all but over. Assad Fudadin knocked off the winning runs and West Indies went into the second Test with an unassailable lead in the series.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 1, 2012, 20:37 GMT

    New Zealand are not a decent team anymore I mean if they can't compete with the West Indies then I can't see them winning their tours to India, South Africa or England.

  • Michael on July 31, 2012, 15:12 GMT

    Great to see Chris Gayle back in full flight. I really hope this is an indication that WI cricket is back on the ascendency.

  • Jeremy on July 31, 2012, 14:48 GMT

    Definitely shaping up to be a 2-0 win to the WI. Can't see NZ coming back from here.

  • Cam on July 31, 2012, 4:02 GMT

    This series has been givin up by NZ. The non existant tour prep and John Wright quitting after the tour has left a sour taste in my mouth. I hope David White has the balls to get rid of Buchanen and Littlejohn , the omly problem is paying him out which could cost a penny or two.Mark Hessan needs to be able to get on with the job and not having Buchanen and Lawnbowls man looking over his shoulder. Niel Wagner should be straight in the side for the next tour. Oram needs to be dropped. Hopefully Ryder will get his head together soon. Our batting lineup is weak without him.

  • Pontiac on July 31, 2012, 2:42 GMT

    I'm only an american who's only been following WI tests for the last 18 months, but I have trouble understanding all the criticism of Darren Sammy. I can see how one might want another specialist bowler. On the other hand, he seems to have been batting well lately. A fifty isn't bad, and it didn't seem to me he batted poorly in England. And if one could identify one thing that won the test this weekend, wasn't it 26 runs in 26 overs on Sunday morning? That was a plan and perhaps a success of judgment. An honest question to the doubters - what would Sammy need to do to be adequate? Bowling as well as he does now - no great average but miserly - but averaging 30 with the bat from #7? 35? What if he averaged 30 but could bat with patience as well as aggression? Good partnerships with those from up the order, while getting the most from the tail. Likewise, isn't there a role for someone who can hold down an end while missiles like Best or Roach are deployed?

  • Dummy4 on July 30, 2012, 23:33 GMT

    Surprise Surpprise Gibson speaks about experience yet Gayle ahd to fight for his place back and Sarwan coulld be considered. Experience and confidence comes from the seniors Gibson. You just can't treat the seniors the way you treated. them. No other country treats their seniors the way the WI seniors were treated.

    Glad to hear from your own words that Gayle made a difference. With Taylpr and Sarwan back WI can challenge any of the top team. You saw experience from one, prove your word and add the missing ones in the team.

  • ethel on July 30, 2012, 22:24 GMT

    One of the conditions for Gayle`s return should have been the removal of Gibsos!!!

  • Raymond on July 30, 2012, 22:22 GMT

    A captain don't win matches. It is the eleven players on the park. The team will be much better if u have eleven players contributing to the team instead of 10. Everyone know who I am talking.

  • Kevin on July 30, 2012, 20:13 GMT

    I think if NZ fielded a team from all those who are injured or not selected, it would do better than the current crop. Even Matthew Sinclair would probably be scoring double centuries again against the current WI bowlers. Milne, Bennett, Mckay, three NZ bowlers who could average 145 k bowling speeds when none of the current NZ bowlers could even hit those numbers once any time during the test match. Chris Martin is a joke. Its over Tommy, time to go to the retirement village, along with John Wright!

  • Dummy4 on July 30, 2012, 16:46 GMT

    Did Sammy's captaincy play any part in this victory? I can hear No No, resonating from the roof top. So why do we blame him when the team fails? The fact of the matter is that u need to give a man the tools to do the job. Sammy had the tools( Gayle,Narine & Roach) & he got the job done. Well done WI.

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