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June 10, 2014
Mark Craig: "It was nice to go bang-bang there, bit of a dream start"
New Zealand's selectors took a big gamble in picking Otago offspinner Mark Craig for the West Indies tour, but he has begun repaying them at the first opportunity with a bag of 4 for 91 in Jamaica. He said he was "living the dream" after helping New Zealand to a substantial first-innings lead on debut.
A day after West Indies offspinner Sulieman Benn complained about the flatness of the Sabina Park track, Craig struck twice in an over to rattle the top order, before wheedling a couple of lower-order wickets.
"It was nice to go bang-bang there, bit of a dream start," Craig said, referring to his dismissals of opener Kieran Powell and No. 3 Kirk Edwards in the space of three deliveries. West Indies had patiently progressed to 60 for 0 before Craig struck.
The quick bowlers had dried up the runs early on, with Tim Southee bowling 29 consecutive dots to the usually expansive Chris Gayle. Soon after Craig's double-strike, Southee got two wickets in an over as well to tilt the match firmly in New Zealand's favour.
"It was very nice to be able to contribute to the team today and obviously to get a couple of wickets was a bonus," Craig said. "Timmy bowled exceptionally well, set the standard for us up front, it was really nice to chip in with a couple myself."
The current record match haul for a New Zealand spinner on debut is Paul Wiseman's 7 for 143 in Colombo when he helped complete a famous victory in 1998. If Craig backs up his first-innings heroics over the next couple of days, he could be top of that list and play a key role in a famous overseas victory as well.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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