Four quicks ploy worked - Boult
It took New Zealand 76 overs to separate the opening pair of Chris Gayle and Kieran Powell in the first innings of the first Test in Antigua. Here, they needed just nine. In Antigua, Gayle powered his way to 150, which included 17 boundaries and four sixes at a strike-rate of 72.81. Here, he scored a painstaking 8 off 55 deliveries, which included no boundaries.
The big difference, from New Zealand's perspective, was the inclusion of the 23-year-old Trent Boult in place of 69-Test veteran Chris Martin. Boult bowled with discipline to end with figures of 3 for 58. New Zealand also decided to go with a four-man pace attack: Tim Southee was brought into the side in place of the injured Daniel Vettori. New Zealand captain Ross Taylor had hinted at personnel changes ahead of the second Test, and, on the evidence so far, the changes to the bowling attack seemed to have reaped the desired results.
"Four quicks seems to have worked well; the boys were fresh coming into each spell and they definitely did the role," Boult said. "It's a young bowling group and we did well, so looking to the future, it is a good sign."
Boult, who had figures of 3 for 58, said the bowlers focussed on creating pressure from both ends. "The bouncers were used well and good heavy lengths [were used]. I think that is what created the decisions [by the West Indies batsmen] and I would put it down to most of the boys getting stuck in and really competing."
New Zealand were fully aware of what Gayle and Powell were capable of, and did not take them lightly at any stage. "There's no doubt that they [the West Indies openers] can take the game away from you. They did that in the last Test but it was very nice to get those two because they could have been a handful," Boult said. "The boys worked together and we came from both ends, which was pretty important, and we were lucky to get them."
When it came to Gayle, specifically, New Zealand had worked out a plan and stuck to it. "Just the loss of wickets affected him (Gayle) a little bit. He didn't take much of the strike," Boult said. "The plan was to use the shorter ball and get him caught in the crease and then look to hit the wicket around the fourth stump area, and the plan worked today."
Boult received good support from Southee, whose 19 overs yielded 2 for 70, which also included a couples of near misses. "End of last season in New Zealand, he [Southee] was unfortunate to get dropped," Boult said. "He has worked hard and was looking good today. He could have taken a five-wicket bag but it was shared around today and he definitely bowled well."
Marlon Samuels was the only batsman to get to three figures in two completed innings and Boult conceded there was some assistance for the bowlers from the conditions early on. "The new ball was definitely something we had to use and the first hour was crucial. The ball is not going to stay new for very long and I thought we used it very well and got as much out of it as we could," Boult said. "The boys were in a good head space this morning. We are here to fight."