West Indies v New Zealand, 1st Test, Kingston, 2nd day

Neesham, Watling lead New Zealand to 508

The Report by George Binoy

June 9, 2014

Comments: 53 | Text size: A | A

West Indies 19 for 0 trail New Zealand 508 for 7 dec (Williamson 113, Neesham 107, Watling 89, Taylor 55) by 489 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Jimmy Neesham and BJ Watling were cautious but solid, West Indies v New Zealand, 1st Test, Kingston, 2nd day, June 9, 2014
Jimmy Neesham and BJ Watling put on 201 runs for the sixth wicket © Associated Press

West Indies were one wicket away from having a crack at New Zealand's tail during the morning session of the second day at Sabina Park. They did not take it for 60.3 overs. The visitors' last line of recognised batsmen, allrounder Jimmy Neesham and wicketkeeper BJ Watling, took advantage of tiring bowlers and a placid pitch to put on 201 runs for the sixth wicket, and all but erase West Indies' hopes of winning Chris Gayle's 100th Test.

Neesham was the first to attempt an aggressive approach on a sluggish surface and his methods made him the eighth batsman to score hundreds in his first two Tests. His partnership with Watling - compiled at 3.32 an over - was the fastest of the match, discounting the flurry from Tim Southee as New Zealand declared on 508 for 7 late in the day. The turnaround in tempo was remarkable, for New Zealand had scored only 59 in the first session for the loss of Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum.

There were shots played after lunch, which was a drastic change from New Zealand's morning. Watling was strong square of the wicket, cutting and pulling, while Neesham's preferred region was between long-off and wide long-on. Early in the session, he stepped out and hit Suliemann Benn flat over the fielder at mid-on.

A standout feature of Neesham's innings was his inclination to use his feet on this slow pitch. He stepped out twice to hit Shane Shillingford over the straight boundary for the innings' first sixes in the 137th over, and continued advancing against Shillingford and Marlon Samuels, targeting the wide long-on boundary. Neesham passed 50 off 103 balls and then accelerated, getting to 100 off 159.

Between the boundaries, Neesham and Watling rotated strike comfortably, taking advantage of fatigued fielders. With Benn and Shillingford having bowled more than 40 overs each, West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin turned to Chris Gayle, who had last bowled in a Test in November 2012, but had no luck.

After scoring 129 runs in the second session, New Zealand were slow initially after tea. Neesham was approaching his century and eventually got there with graceful cover-drives off Benn and Jerome Taylor.

His partner Watling was so adept at scoring behind and square of the wicket that he had got to 72 without scoring a single run in the V. He then pushed one to mid-on, before charging Shillingford and hitting him for a straight six. Watling's success through point and square leg was an indication of the shorter lengths West Indies bowled to him. The quicks Taylor and Kemar Roach, in particular, had flagged after probing first spells.

Neesham's attempt at slogging after his century was short-lived; he was caught behind off Benn for 107. His average after three Test innings was 138.50. West Indies finally had their breakthrough but got hit around by Southee until Watling holed out to deep midwicket and the declaration came.

The morning had been so different for the home side. They had controlled the run-rate and taken crucial wickets. Williamson had overestimated the turn and shouldered arms to a delivery from Benn, only to hear his off stump take a hit. Williamson had been so good at leaving the fast bowlers, but eventually added only 8 to his overnight score.

New Zealand were still in a healthy position at 259 for 3 but they lost their most experienced batsmen quickly. Shortly after reaching his fifty, Taylor chipped a flighted delivery from Shillingford straight to midwicket. In the next over, Benn got one to spin and bounce sharply on McCullum; the ball took the outside edge and bounced off Ramdin's chest towards first slip, where Gayle took the catch. New Zealand had slipped to 279 for 5.

Neesham and Watling methodically batted out the remainder of the session, giving little indication of the dominance they would exert for the remainder of the day.

West Indies' openers, Gayle and Kieran Powell, had nine overs of flat-out intensity to negotiate from New Zealand's bowlers. Powell was lucky to survive, when he edged Tim Southee to third slip where Peter Fulton put down a simple catch. Gayle had no such scares, and it is him that most fans will flock to watch on Tuesday, hoping for a memorable innings in his 100th Test.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (June 11, 2014, 5:59 GMT)

NZ just about doing what was required and are in almost the position they would've liked to be @ end of day 3. Firstly,after winning a good toss they made sure to make full capital of it with top order doing their job and putting big p'ships and setting it up for a big score. Couple of batsmen too did the required by getting big 100s .Then it was just a matter of putting WI batting under strife with consistent attacking bowling and aggressive field setting . The pitch is breaking up quick and if the bowlers are on the mark consistently it's just a matter of time before fragile WI batting crumbles. That is just what we saw on d3.Think NZ dealt with follow on decision, exactly right way by electing to bat 2nd time.Couple of sessions of attacking play should leave plenty of time for NZ to wrap up WI ,should be over in couple of sessions @ most on d5 with a big W for them.Dont see this WI coming back on fast crumbling surface to save the match from here.

Posted by tutorial on (June 10, 2014, 17:22 GMT)

The wickets of Powell and Edwards should serve as a reminder for wanting to rush the inexperience first class players in the WI.side. I said it before, three first class seasons and have to stay in top three position, before a player should be considered for the international team. "Know it all" calling for the young and inexperience is the reason WI.cricket is failing badly.

Posted by   on (June 10, 2014, 16:10 GMT)

to make test match more interesting ICC should make rule that in all test match bating run rate should be 3+.

Posted by   on (June 10, 2014, 15:39 GMT)

@naamprik are you watching the WI batting right now? As of typing this comment they are in 27/0 after 17 overs, that's even slower than we were. It's not that we were batting negatively or defensively, it's just an awful pitch. Nothing for the bowlers or the batsmen.

Posted by Snambidi on (June 10, 2014, 15:04 GMT)

The hundredth test match for Chris Gayle does not appear to be 100% sweet& safe for him & WI with mammoth score from NZ in front to negotiate. A couple of Players will have to score tons to get away with a tame draw. Still three days left ,& in view of the match is being played at Sabina Park& particularly in view of the Fact that Gayle is cautious in his start with the Bat there is all likelihood of the match ending without a result. Winning the match is rather a Herculian task for WI. But Cricket is a glorious game of Unsertainty.Time would tell the result. So we could expect the Unexpected too!

Posted by naamprik on (June 10, 2014, 14:11 GMT)

It's a shame the Kiwi supporters are so defensive. For those of us that LOVE test cricket, this type of game with kill it. Only the Kiwis are watching this, certainly not too many WI supporters. Watching Neesham and Latham patting Chris Gayle's gentle deliveries back to him, was too much. I had to watch something else, and I am a cricket junkie. Lehman has told Australia to play attacking cricket, let's hope that some of the other coaches do the same.

Posted by JoshFromJamRock on (June 10, 2014, 14:03 GMT)

Taylor, Holder, Benn and Narine have got to make up the bowling attach with Samuels and/or Bravo as main 5th bowlers depending on wicket.

1)Benn gets bounce from any pitch. He adds the left-arm variation and he's very economical.

2)Narine gets turn from any pitch and will take wickets especially with Benn from the other end to create pressure.

3)Taylor has pace, is very economical, and will get wickets whether or not the pitch or atmosphere offers some assistance as he's a smart bowler.

4)Holder has increased his pace and will get bounce from any pitch plus he's able to move the ball both ways. He's definitely a better choice than Roach currently.

5)Bravo will ease the workload of the seamers while being somewhat economical. His cutters are effective on turning pitches which makes him a wicket-taking bowler also.

6)Samuels will ease the workload of the spinners and get a wicket or two should batsmen lose focus or decide to attack him to release pressure by Benn and Narine.

Posted by   on (June 10, 2014, 10:43 GMT)

the pitch is a road. even bounce, not much carry, not doing much off the seam, barely turning.

Posted by shane-oh on (June 10, 2014, 9:59 GMT)

@Joe Thompson - I reckon the NZ players will be pretty happy with their current position - and they are the experts on the topic afterall.

This pitch isn't batting friendly - it's a Caribbean classic where both wickets and runs are hard to come by. Reserve judgement until both teams have batted on it, it takes resolve and concentration to survive on this wicket.

Posted by   on (June 10, 2014, 9:15 GMT)

These kind of games where batsman dominates will simply kill Tests. In ODIs and T20s fair enough we see more batting friendly games but tests too? please. Cricket is at a low state when it comes to pitches where most of them are generally flat. NZ are playing too negatively.

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George BinoyClose
George Binoy Assistant Editor After a major in Economics and nine months in a financial research firm, George realised that equity, capital and the like were not for him. He decided that he wanted to be one of those lucky few who did what they love at work. Alas, his prodigious talent was never spotted and he had to reconcile himself to the fact that he would never earn his money playing cricket for his country, state or even district. He jumped at the opportunity to work for ESPNcricinfo and is now confident of mastering the art of office cricket
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