West Indies v New Zealand, 1st Test, Kingston, 1st day June 8, 2014

Williamson ton builds strong platform


New Zealand 240 for 2 (Williamson 105*, Latham 83) v West Indies
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The first Test match after two high-profile Twenty20 tournaments - the World T20 and the IPL - got off to a slow start at Sabina Park, as New Zealand's run rate stayed below 2.65 an over throughout the day. The visitors, however, had the better time of it after Kane Williamson and Tom Latham adjusted to the pitch, whose strongest characteristic was its sluggishness, and put on a 165-run stand for the second wicket.

The spectators who came to the ground to see Chris Gayle bat in his 100th Test had to wait after West Indies' new Test captain, Denesh Ramdin, lost the toss. Instead, they were witness to the comebacks of four bowlers from layoffs of varying lengths, and the discipline of two young New Zealand batsmen, who played with a patience that is becoming increasingly rare in international cricket.

Jerome Taylor, whose last Test was in November 2009, opened the bowling with Kemar Roach, who had been out of action for more than a year. Neither bowler hit the speeds they used to before their injuries, but that was probably due to the pitch. Moving the ball away from both the right and left-hand openers, Taylor was more effective than Roach, but on the whole they could have made the batsmen play more than they did. Their lengths too were shorter than ideal on this surface, whose slowness made it easy to play on the back foot.

New Zealand were cautious in the opening exchanges, with their newest opening combination Peter Fulton and Latham barely playing a forceful shot. Fulton was beaten by a couple of deliveries from Taylor that seamed away from off stump, and when one did not move as much, his poor footwork resulted in an edge to the wicketkeeper. It was the ninth consecutive innings in which Fulton had failed to pass 15.

In the 10th over, Ramdin made a surprising bowling change. Darren Bravo had never bowled in any form of international cricket - he had bowled only 100 deliveries in first-class cricket - and yet here he was bowling medium-pace in a Test. His lengths were horrible and the experiment lasted only one over.

Benn, playing his first Test since December 2010, came on in the 12th over and immediately found turn and bounce to keep his two slips alert. New Zealand scored only 22 in the first hour.

Shortly after drinks Ramdin deployed spin from both ends, but it was Marlon Samuels that he turned to and not the other specialist Shane Shillingford. Samuels thought he had Latham lbw first ball and reviewed the umpire's not-out decision, only to find the ball had hit both the inside edge and then the pad outside off stump.

Benn bowled five maidens in his first six overs and had a bat-pad appeal upheld shortly before lunch, but Latham successfully challenged it. New Zealand went into the break on 62 for 1, scoring at just over 1.90 an over.

In the first over of the second session, Latham drove loosely at a full and wide Taylor delivery and edged to Samuels at gully. He was on 39, and his partnership with Williamson was worth 55, but both received a lease of life when replays showed Taylor's heel was not behind the crease.

In the next over - the 34th - Williamson cut Benn for four to take the run rate above two for the first time. It had taken Williamson 84 balls to hit his first boundary. He and Latham swept the spinners when they bowled fuller lengths, and when it was short they had enough time to go back and play square of the wicket. Every now and then, though, the odd delivery spun sharply past the outside edge.

Benn bowled 19 consecutive overs either side of lunch, far more than any other bowler. When he had finished his 16th, Shillingford was coming on to bowl only his fourth. Shillingford ripped an offbreak from leg and middle past Latham's defensive prod but the batsman got to his maiden half-century a couple of balls later, off his 126th delivery.

Until the 54th over, not a single ball had been hit in the air, and then Williamson cut Roach over gully. He got to his half-century in the same over, by edging a drive through the same region. By tea time Williamson and Latham were using their feet, and the depth of their crease, with ease. They had scored 102 runs in the second session.

The old ball began to do things after tea. Taylor reversed it a bit, but Shillingford got it to spin big. Latham, on 83, closed the face too early to an offbreak and the ball lobbed back to the bowler off the leading edge.

It could have been tricky for the new batsman but the hard toil told on the West Indies bowlers, whose lines and lengths were shoddy. Williamson moved into the 90s by cutting a short and wide one from Roach for four, but then stopped scoring for 33 balls. During that time, Taylor kept New Zealand going, and when West Indies took the second new ball in the 85th over, he cut three wide ones from Roach for boundaries.

Just when it seemed Williamson might go into stumps a few short of a century, he snapped out of his scoreless trance and late-cut successive deliveries from Benn to bring up his sixth Test hundred.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Hildreth on June 9, 2014, 20:34 GMT

    I am a bit dejected wth the way Ramdin has handled things post lunch dy 2. In two full sessions Taylor bowled only 7 overs and Roach only 9. After the departure of New Zealand's big 3 Williamson, Taylor and McCullum one would have thought that Ramdin would get more aggressive and confident in trying to dismiss the remaining Kiwi batsmen. Instead we saw him completely abandon seam and persisted with spin of all types full or part-time even without success until the end of the 2nd session. One can only deduce that he was holding the seamers back until he can take the new ball. If so then this plan didn't work because New Zealand scored much heavier in the 2nd session of the day and are now in a dominant position without loosing another wicket. The Windies must learn to seize the iniative whenever it comes and don't allow things to just rumble on. Try something different with both spin and seam even a bouncer plan with the proper field. You didnt see any of that and WI paid heavily.

  • Dummy4 on June 9, 2014, 14:56 GMT

    What message is Ramdin sending to the selectors by bowling Darren Bravo first change and Shillingford 5th? The WI team look flat on the field and we are in for a long day. I do not like the team. I would have preferred Jason in for Benn or Edwards. I am backing the Windies nevetheless; we need a couple of wickets early to get back in the game.

  • SR on June 9, 2014, 14:38 GMT

    @Chris Silva: Last time I checked, no one was forcing you to watch test cricket. If you don't like it, don't watch it. Stick to the pajama game where bowlers bowl low full tosses and the boundary lines are brought in so much that just a little tap sends the ball over so that crowds can cheer.

  • Dummy4 on June 9, 2014, 14:01 GMT

    Sorry to sound a bit negative, but can anyone remotely connected with and/or following NZ cricket please explain the rationale behind selecting Peter Fulton over Hamish Rutherford for the test against the West Indies today. I can't see any reports of an injury or illness affecting availability.

    I realise the latter hasn't exactly set the world on fire after his début innings against England last year, but he surely cannot be considered to be in worse form and/or have a poorer technique than Peter Fulton. Plus with a ten year age gap between the two, Fulton is not exactly the future of the side anyway.

    Unless a miracle happens in NZs second innings, or injury to relevant players on the tour, this must surely be Fulton's last ever test.

  • Dummy4 on June 9, 2014, 13:26 GMT

    Nice to c roach n taylor back...whr s edwards...hate west indies pitches nw...kane sbatsman to watch..

  • Android on June 9, 2014, 13:19 GMT

    great start for nz. will and lat are awesome and also rosco is fab as usual. nz now have the upper hand with batsman like bazz and bj left. but wait fulton is in the team why? where is my classy gup

  • bernard on June 9, 2014, 12:38 GMT

    congratulation W I hope U R enjoying ur success now that u have Darren Sammy out of the way. As his critics have realized he was just blocking space and keeping W I cricket from progressing. with two genuine quick in the line up and a less than average performer with the bat at the helm we can now sit back, relax and enjoy our boys dominate world cricket again. I have a feeling that we are in for some very tough times ahead.But then again the main obstacle toward WI cricket progress has been removed. We can only now so better. west Indian 4life.

  • o on June 9, 2014, 12:35 GMT

    @SirViv1973 "Narine has not looked threatening in the longer format. "

    What rubbish he's only played 6 games ! He was instrumental in West Indies home series win over NZ in 2012 and just took 6 wickets v NZ in one innings on an early December green top ! Anyone who can spin the ball both ways with such control is more threatening than even the best fast bowler in this age especially on these type of pitches your comment and others who make these comments about Narine not being a Test player are ridiculous, the only reason he's thought like this is because he's played so little and was given a debut v England in wet early May the worst possible conditions for spin.

  • Android on June 9, 2014, 12:29 GMT

    @Chris Silva No one has forced you to watch it. No one cares what you think (apart from you yourself of course) so better keep your opinion to yourself.

  • Saurab on June 9, 2014, 12:20 GMT

    Williamson is all class. What an amazing player..plays pace and spin equally well..I watched him bat all day yesterday and the thing that impressed me the most was how he always tried to hit the ball with the straight bat. He never played an outrageous shot and always tried to time the ball to find gaps. People talk about kohli and pujara and devillers but for me this guy is the most important batsman for the kiwi's. They would want to build an innings around him and he has been one of the 2 players who have impressed me the most. The other being steve smith. Well played kane..hope you get a big one today because you are newzealand's best batsman after martin crowe in my opinon. People say taylor and all but he hasn't really produced that many good innings outside of new zealand. He has 11 hundreds and 8 of them have been in new zealand. Kane is still young and has lots of potential. Don't understand WI tactics though. spinner bowling over the wicket with leg slip? come around the wick

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