We tackled spinners well - Latham
Tom Latham has attributed New Zealand's dominant position on the first day of the Jamaica Test to how effectively he and Kane Williamson tackled the West Indies spinners.
New Zealand had lost their opener Peter Fulton for 1 in the ninth over when Latham and Williamson forged a 165-run partnership that helped the visitors to a solid 240 for 2.
"I think we played the spinners really well," Latham said. "They bowled in pretty good areas. We didn't really get away from them run-rate wise, but the partnership that Kane and I had was crucial in seeing the day out."
Until the 54th over, both batsmen did not hit even a single ball in the air as they treaded cautiously on a sluggish Sabina Park pitch. However, the pair did not allow the slow bowlers to take control, as they waited patiently to go after the right deliveries, sweeping anything full and striking the shorter balls square of the wicket.
"I think the spinners bowled pretty well. We never really got it away from them. The run rate never really got over two and I thought they put the ball in pretty good areas for long periods of time," he said. "It's just that Kane and I managed to deny them for most of the day. That was one of our plans. As long as we could keep denying their spinners and not let them get on top, we knew things were hopefully going to go well for us, and they did."
Latham, playing in only his second Test, made 83, but he rode his luck during the knock. When on 39, he edged a full and wide delivery from Jerome Taylor to Gully, but replays showed that Taylor had stepped over the mark. He also survived a close lbw decision from Marlon Samuels before successfully challenging the umpires after a bat-pad appeal from Sulieman Benn was given out. But even with those reprieves, Latham was disappointed not to collect his maiden century.
"That is cricket. You need a little bit of luck. It would have been nice to push on and get a hundred, but hats off to Kane. His hundred was outstanding and being unbeaten overnight is even better for us as a team.
"Obviously, it is disappointing for me. I gave myself a pretty good chance of reaching that milestone. But there is going to be more opportunities hopefully. If I can keep moving in the right direction like I did today, hopefully that century isn't too far away."
Before the start of the match, both captains had already said that they would opt to bat, and Latham too acknowledged the importance of winning the toss and taking the attack to West Indies.
"It was a good toss to win. It is going to be hard to bat in the third and fourth innings, so if we can get as many runs as we can in the first innings, we can hopefully put them under a little bit of pressure.
"It is a game of two halves. We would have to wait and see how they do against our bowlers, but this is a good wicket. It is turning, and there is not much pace in it, so we have to wait and see."