West Indies v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Jamaica, 2nd day August 3, 2012

New Zealand ahead despite Samuels ton


New Zealand 260 and 59 for 2 (Guptill 42, Deonarine 2-3) lead West Indies 209 (Samuels 123, Boult 3-58, Bracewell 3-46) by 110 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The decision to play four seamers paid dividends for New Zealand as they secured a first-innings lead of 51 on a day where West Indies, barring Marlon Samuels, took their eyes off the ball. A score of 260 shouldn't have been too daunting for West Indies to overhaul, but New Zealand's seamers bowled with discipline to bundle out the hosts for 209. Samuels played the lone had with a counterattacking 123, his first Test century in the West Indies, but New Zealand never let go of the initiative from the morning session. The openers stretched the lead past 100 but a couple of late wickets gave a deflated West Indies unit some cheer.

That New Zealand silenced Chris Gayle and sent back a normally immovable Shivnarine Chanderpaul cheaply was indicative of the control they had over the West Indies batsmen. Samuels was the only batsman to pass 50 - the next highest was 32 - and the only one to stand up to the seamers, who attacked as a pack to put the hosts under pressure.

Trent Boult, the left-arm seamer, bowled with discipline and stuck to the simple mantra of keeping the ball in the channel outside the off stump to silence an in-form batsman like Gayle. In Antigua, Gayle's comeback Test, he bashed four successive boundaries in the first over of the innings to set himself up for a big hundred. Chris Martin, the unfortunate bowler on that occasion, was left out for this Test. However Boult, only four Tests old, ensured that Martin's experience wasn't missed. He found assistance from the breeze to slant the ball away from the left-handed openers. West Indies played out three consecutive maiden overs, and the pressure got to them in the fourth, when Kieran Powell edged Boult to Dean Brownlie at third slip. It took New Zealand 76 overs to separate the opening pair in Antigua. Here, they needed just nine.

Gayle got off the mark off his eighth delivery; his second run came off his 26th, indicating the hold the seamers had over him. Boult bowled with control and was given a lengthy spell by his captain. He was rewarded with another wicket, that of Assad Fudadin lbw. The umpire turned down the appeal but Ross Taylor successfully challenged it. It capped a rewarding spell of 7-1-18-2 for Boult.

Gayle was dropped on 5, but fortunately for New Zealand, it didn't cost them anything. He was squared up by one from Neil Wagner that took off, took the top edge and lobbed to point. He was gone for a painstaking 8 off 55 balls without a boundary, adding to his mediocre Test record at his home ground.

Samuels, the other Jamaican, didn't disappoint. He looked more comfortable, dabbing Southee past gully and driving down the ground for consecutive boundaries. He wasn't entirely convincing either, around his off stump, but strong off his pads. He wasn't afraid to steer the ball past the packed slip cordon, keeping the ball down. He crunched Boult past mid-off to bring up his fourth half-century of the year.

Having seen off Gayle, New Zealand still had Chanderpaul to deal with. He lasted just one ball in Antigua, here he lasted 40 balls for a watchful 9 before perishing to Tim Southee. Taylor made amends for dropping Gayle at slip earlier with a neat catch to get rid of Chanderpaul, and not long after, the hosts lost half their side for less than 100 when Narsingh Deonarine edged Boult.

The precarious position didn't deter West Indies from attacking, as Denesh Ramdin and Darren Sammy played brisk cameos. Sammy scooped and bashed his way to 32 off 29 balls before he fell just before tea, playing all around a toe-crusher from Southee.

Samuels remained strong at the other end, elegantly driving through the covers and pulling the short deliveries in front of square. He had his nervy moments when the ball kicked up and nearly brushed his glove. Though it was a bowlers' day, Samuels' resistance made for a classic Test match battle. He was steadily losing partners and at one stage looked like being stranded in the 90s. It was touch-and-go when on 98, he was joined by the No.11 Tino Best.

Samuels threw hell for leather with a flat six over deep extra cover off Southee to bring up his century. He came into this Test averaging 82.80 in 2012, and his innings lifted the gloom following Gayle's failure. Samuels continued his bat-swinging against Southee, depositing three consecutive half volleys over the ropes. He hammered Doug Bracewell in the following over, but the bowler had the last laugh thanks to a sharp catch by Wagner in the deep, bringing an end to West Indies' innings. The hosts didn't really look like matching New Zealand's score, but Samuels did well to minimise the damage.

Martin Guptill came out to bat despite being ill, and stretched the lead with some elegant drives off the front foot off the West Indies seamers. The seamers failed to cause early alarms, so as a last throw of the dice, Sammy turned to the part-time off spin of Deonarine late in the day. It was a smart bowling change as Deonarine dismissed the openers lbw in identical fashion - both shuffled across too far and exposed the stumps. Despite the lapse, New Zealand ended the day effectively 110 for 2. It will be up to their middle order to show the same spine displayed by the seamers.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Harry on August 4, 2012, 13:06 GMT

    I would disagree with the comment that Chris Gayle does not have the temperament or ability to play at Test level. He averages over 42 and also has made two innings scores of over 300. Can you think of another Test side other than West Indies who would have thought twice about including him in their squad when he is available? Which captain would not want at their disposal an opener capable of scoring big centuries and averaging over 40 opening the batting for them. I feel that you are too quick to write him off. He scored over 200 runs in the last test.

  • Dummy4 on August 4, 2012, 12:21 GMT

    We r in for some fireworks today. However, at the concl of this series some serious decisions will have to be made. Some r calling for Ramdin's head. Is it a fair call? Well let us see.Ramdin came into the WI team in JUL 2005. Between 2005-2007, he played 19 test matches,scored 536runs avg17.86. And dig this,during that period he was never on a winning team. Believe it or leave it. He had 4-50s, 0-100s & a highest score of 71, no 5 times. Since his return in 2012, excl the present test, he has 166runs inclu 107no, 33.2avg. But if u were to take out the 107no., his avg is 11.8. My suggestion. Make DM Bravo the v/c of the WI team, encourage him to take his keeping seriously & rotate him with Thomas. Thomas, the senior keeper for now.

  • Dummy4 on August 4, 2012, 11:25 GMT

    West Indies is exposed again of their weakness to play left arm quickies or seamers. WI have to roll back the tapes of Kalli and Fredericks to help these guys. WI do not have any deadly left arm quickies or seam bowlers in their camp so they lack that exposure. Australia's Gary Gilmour, Pakistan's Akram and India's Zaheer are major wicket takers against the WI team. WI need to find, create or 'farm' these types of fast bowlers. Again Sammy's innings is that of an ODI format. Hope WI select a 'test' captain and place Sammy to lead the ODI's. I still say bring back Sarwan.

  • Dummy4 on August 4, 2012, 10:35 GMT

    What so many of Gayle's fans dont seem to understand is, Gayle does not have the temperament to play test cricket. He is a t20 cricketer. He cannot play the swing ball, he doesn't have the technique. On a very hard surface - concrete - he will do well - stand his ground and swing the bat. The team is also lacking an astute and tactical captain. Sammy is taking orders from the pavilion,Otis Gibson. Its time to replace Sammy! His time has come - he is standing in the way of ultimate progress. It is as usual, one step forward, two steps back!

  • Dummy4 on August 4, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    Darren Sammy has no place is this squad as a player. WI are playing with 2 pacers when pitch required minimum 3 pacers. Look at the way Kiwis played, superb. Sammy either has to be good enough to bat at 6 or he should give away to genuine all rounders like Andre Russel, who is quicker than Sammy, good fielder & technically superior batsman than Sammy .

  • Sharky on August 4, 2012, 9:12 GMT

    This looks to be building into an exciting Test. The cricket is good so far.

  • Dummy4 on August 4, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    Best should bat above Narine. I don't think Narine has passed 10 in test cricket, whereas Tino mad 95 against Eng. Whether it is CG or DS neither man on his own is the solution to WI cricket problems. Its a team win which really counts. Still a little disappointed with the way the innings ended. MS could have trusted SN but couldn't trust TB? Runs are runs anyway. DS batted positively and was the trigger to avoiding a tame surrender on the second day. The batting (and not the bowling) flopped. Looking at the series the WI could be chasing about 250-300 which would be difficult. Good match so far but the WI should still believe that they can win.

  • Dummy4 on August 4, 2012, 7:38 GMT

    Its a very good match, evenly poised. Now New Zealand has to bat sensibly and try to win this match. But as a Gayle fan missed his heroics. Waiting for the second innings of WI to watch Gayle batting.

  • Dennis on August 4, 2012, 7:30 GMT

    Great day finally for us (NZ ) the quicks bowl well as a unit . think its time to pension off Martin ,I got this feeling that our batting will fail again and this test match will be like the Hobart test and the four quicks will get us home again .

  • Raymond on August 4, 2012, 6:50 GMT

    People ask yourself this question. If Sammy wasn't a captain, should he be in the WI team as one of the best 4 bowlers?

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