West Indies v New Zealand, 1st Test, Kingston, 4th day June 11, 2014

'Nigh on the perfect Test' - McCullum

ESPNcricinfo staff
  shares 34

Play 06:11
Winning the toss was crucial - McCullum

New Zealand's captain Brendon McCullum has described debutant Mark Craig's work in the Sabina Park Test as "brilliant" and said that in winning inside four days, his team played almost the perfect Test. The 186-run victory was New Zealand's first in the Caribbean since the 2002 Barbados Test, and it was set up by their first 500-plus total away from home in more than eight years.

McCullum said he was particularly pleased with the way his men absorbed the pressure that built at times from the West Indians, including on the second morning, when they stumbled to 279 for 5 with the fall of McCullum's wicket. Jimmy Neesham's century and BJ Watling's 89 ensured a hefty first-innings total of 508 for 7, and in turning conditions that gave Craig and Ish Sodhi plenty to work with.

"Nigh on the perfect Test for us, I think," McCullum said. "Obviously a crucial toss to win and to be able to put 500 on the board certainly allowed us to dictate the game and brought our spinners into the game as well. You can't really fault the way we played, and we managed to absorb pressure at times as well.

"If you look at that second morning, we lost three wickets early in that session and then to get that partnership between Neesham and Watling, to be able to get us out of a sticky situation and then really ram home the advantage to be able to post a score in excess of 500, which in these conditions is always going to allow you to be on the front foot.

"It certainly didn't feel easy throughout the Test, whilst the scoreline may suggest it was. They presented us with some tough challenges. I thought their new-ball pair bowled exceptionally well. We had to play well to overcome that. I thought their spinners asked a lot of questions as well. For us to play away from home in spinning conditions against guys who are bowling well ... is a really good sign for us."

Although the spinners had a big total behind them, McCullum said he was still impressed by the way Craig and Sodhi, as well as Tim Southee in unhelpful conditions, stuck at their task and prevented any serious fightback from the West Indies batsmen. Craig finished with match figures of 8 for 188 and joined Stephen Fleming and Mathew Sinclair as the only New Zealand players to be named Man of the Match on Test debut.

"He was brilliant. I thought he went about his work and never was fazed at any stage," McCullum said of Craig. "The conditions were helpful but you've still got to be able to apply pressure over a long period of time to be able to then get the rewards later on with those sorts of conditions. For his first Test match, to be able to come in and settle into the group as quick as what he has is both a sign of strong environment and also a sign of Mark's character.

"It's a little bit different from our normal game plan, to have two spinners operating and base your last innings around that form of attack, so it was pleasing that both those guys, young and inexperienced, were able to succeed in these conditions and ultimately bowl us to a Test win."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on June 14, 2014, 6:07 GMT

    W I Second test team: 1. Gayle 2. Brathwaite 3. Bravo Jr 4. Bravo Sr (Edwards if injured) 5. Chanderpaul 6. Samuels 7. Ramdin 8. Taylor 9. Holder 10. Narine 11. Roach

    Wishful second test team:

    1. Simmons 2. Brathwaite 3. Bravo Jr 4. Bravo Sr 5. Chanderpaul 6. Pollard 7. Ramdin 8. Taylor 9. Roach 10. Narine 11. Edwards

  • Rally_Windies on June 14, 2014, 1:25 GMT

    NZ supports. Cheers to you guys on a good performance...

    But don't get too ahead of yourselves ... NZ did not play well enough to beat a FULL STRENGTH WI team !

    The man of the match award should be shared between the 3 WI selectors ... Those three guys were New Zealand 's MVP in this game...

    KirK Edwards is in Horrible for, Bravo is in Horrible form and Samuels is in horrible form.

    Shane Shillingford and Suliman Benn happen to be good friends with the coach and selectors !

  • on June 13, 2014, 16:04 GMT

    i like to see bm opening the batting nz should bm opening the batting he is a not a middle order player so fulton will replace bm at opening the batting and anderson comes in for 2nd test

  • on June 13, 2014, 16:02 GMT

    Ronchi for Fulton, Rutherford is a one test wonder

  • cricuscrazy on June 13, 2014, 13:46 GMT

    It might make sense to push Powell down to the middle order and have Braithwaite-who is someone who tries to put a value to his wicket- open with Gayle.Either Samuels or Edwards has to be replaced.

  • Balladeer on June 13, 2014, 9:24 GMT

    @anver777: The entire NZ team? Can't say I quite agree. Nick Gentle has the right idea: Fulton has had more than enough chances and needs to go. Rutherford, or even C. Anderson (or indeed most other batsmen I could care to name), are better choices to open.

    The rest of the team did a spanking job. As a Pom who's only got into the game recently, NZ have been my second-favourite side - always seemed to have a lot of players of talent, just prone to collapses and not always fitting together (much like England!). This may be against a weak test team, but the WI still have an impressive attack (and Chanderpaul), and NZ did well against them in their own back yard. Onwards and upwards!

  • geoffboyc on June 13, 2014, 9:20 GMT

    Good luck to Craig in his test career, but with the technique displayed by some of the WI batters James Tredwell would have had a field day, and he can't get into the Kent team

  • on June 13, 2014, 6:56 GMT

    Sunil Nairine could have made a huge difference on this pitch.

  • on June 13, 2014, 5:41 GMT

    well the toughest decisions having to be made by NZ these last 12 tests or so is whether we should enforce the follow-on. Its a great place to be, looking forward to playing some strong teams at home and maintaining and building a record similar to the hadlee era of never losing a series at home. Great Stuff Boys!!

  • anver777 on June 13, 2014, 4:28 GMT

    Credit to entire NZ team, they played excellent Test cricket to secure a 1-0 lead in the series !!!! Debutante Mark Craig has made a good start to his test career !!!!!

  • on June 14, 2014, 6:07 GMT

    W I Second test team: 1. Gayle 2. Brathwaite 3. Bravo Jr 4. Bravo Sr (Edwards if injured) 5. Chanderpaul 6. Samuels 7. Ramdin 8. Taylor 9. Holder 10. Narine 11. Roach

    Wishful second test team:

    1. Simmons 2. Brathwaite 3. Bravo Jr 4. Bravo Sr 5. Chanderpaul 6. Pollard 7. Ramdin 8. Taylor 9. Roach 10. Narine 11. Edwards

  • Rally_Windies on June 14, 2014, 1:25 GMT

    NZ supports. Cheers to you guys on a good performance...

    But don't get too ahead of yourselves ... NZ did not play well enough to beat a FULL STRENGTH WI team !

    The man of the match award should be shared between the 3 WI selectors ... Those three guys were New Zealand 's MVP in this game...

    KirK Edwards is in Horrible for, Bravo is in Horrible form and Samuels is in horrible form.

    Shane Shillingford and Suliman Benn happen to be good friends with the coach and selectors !

  • on June 13, 2014, 16:04 GMT

    i like to see bm opening the batting nz should bm opening the batting he is a not a middle order player so fulton will replace bm at opening the batting and anderson comes in for 2nd test

  • on June 13, 2014, 16:02 GMT

    Ronchi for Fulton, Rutherford is a one test wonder

  • cricuscrazy on June 13, 2014, 13:46 GMT

    It might make sense to push Powell down to the middle order and have Braithwaite-who is someone who tries to put a value to his wicket- open with Gayle.Either Samuels or Edwards has to be replaced.

  • Balladeer on June 13, 2014, 9:24 GMT

    @anver777: The entire NZ team? Can't say I quite agree. Nick Gentle has the right idea: Fulton has had more than enough chances and needs to go. Rutherford, or even C. Anderson (or indeed most other batsmen I could care to name), are better choices to open.

    The rest of the team did a spanking job. As a Pom who's only got into the game recently, NZ have been my second-favourite side - always seemed to have a lot of players of talent, just prone to collapses and not always fitting together (much like England!). This may be against a weak test team, but the WI still have an impressive attack (and Chanderpaul), and NZ did well against them in their own back yard. Onwards and upwards!

  • geoffboyc on June 13, 2014, 9:20 GMT

    Good luck to Craig in his test career, but with the technique displayed by some of the WI batters James Tredwell would have had a field day, and he can't get into the Kent team

  • on June 13, 2014, 6:56 GMT

    Sunil Nairine could have made a huge difference on this pitch.

  • on June 13, 2014, 5:41 GMT

    well the toughest decisions having to be made by NZ these last 12 tests or so is whether we should enforce the follow-on. Its a great place to be, looking forward to playing some strong teams at home and maintaining and building a record similar to the hadlee era of never losing a series at home. Great Stuff Boys!!

  • anver777 on June 13, 2014, 4:28 GMT

    Credit to entire NZ team, they played excellent Test cricket to secure a 1-0 lead in the series !!!! Debutante Mark Craig has made a good start to his test career !!!!!

  • on June 13, 2014, 2:02 GMT

    Rutherford in for Fulton pls. Otherwise all good.

  • afterhours on June 12, 2014, 21:36 GMT

    Selectors need to be fired. Now tell me whyt is Powell in this team he have being out of form from India right to the Caribbean Brathwaite has being in good form why not him along with Blackwood. Marlon place should go to Carlos Brathwaite or Nurse and Cottrell for Benn. WI have to think young, the need to fast track guys Like Blackwood, Ambris and the likes of Cottrell.

  • mps23 on June 12, 2014, 20:12 GMT

    from what i witness with my two eyes the west indies batsmen lack discipline and technique. except for shiv, they all are suspects to the out swingers because they dont used their feet. Its a shame this basic technique is not applied at the crease.Gayle will always fall to Southee, I personally think Shiv should play until he is 45, because we dont have anyone else reliable, and move him up one in the line up PLEASE. The WI bowlers are ok I wouldn"t change the bowlers but Taylor needs to build on his Stamina those short spells will only get you one or two wickets per innings we need him more because he is big threat to the NZ batsmen. I don"t see no sense of urgency a lot of the WI players were laughing at the end of the game as a fan that makes me sick

  • delastbastion on June 12, 2014, 19:40 GMT

    TIME TO HAND POLLARD A TEST DEBUT to bat at 6 in place of Samuels. can't see those spinners queing up to bowl at him, look how Shillingford and to a lesser extent Bennett put them out of the attack, just goes to show the playing of your natural game should prevail, somehow I think that WI batters saw how the NZ batters applied themselves and gained success they subsequently tried or were coerced into duplicating the NZs effort and failed miiserably, the majority of this lot simply don't have the patience and technique to succeed with that strategy

  • Lermy on June 12, 2014, 19:34 GMT

    Great to see NZ force a result against a WI side not playing well. The next stage will be to be able to do that against sides playing well. However NZ have lost enough games by playing badly, so take nothing away from this result. They played consistently well and deserved the win.

  • delastbastion on June 12, 2014, 19:27 GMT

    In batter friendly conditions some of the WI batters in this test should take a reality check and ask themselves just how good are they. Surely at this stage of their careers Ish Sodhi 7 tests and Mark Craig on debut are little more than club spinners

  • on June 12, 2014, 18:46 GMT

    WI need to add one ore fast bowler and replace Samuels and Gayle. NZ need to replace Fulton

  • entryholedia on June 12, 2014, 18:37 GMT

    Jerome Taylor & Roach needs a sunil narine to make the windies attack seem potent . I can bet you Narine will bamboozle the Kiwis twice before they could realize what hit them . Whatever Craig may be he is no Saeed Ajmal & so my dear Caribbean batsmen stop dreaming about the impulse cricket(T20) you have played over last six months both at home and IPL & tighten up your batting & bludgeon and smash in the highest tradition of cricket which we know as 'WEST INDIES'

  • jittu3 on June 12, 2014, 17:12 GMT

    A common factor in all the recent wins by the blackcaps has been B.J.Watling.He has been the unsung hero in all the wins.

  • mshyder on June 12, 2014, 14:24 GMT

    Without taking anything away from NZ's performance, it was more of WI lack of application which caused them to loose without even a fight and that to a debutante spinner who unlike Narine or Mendis has no mystery to his bowling. It is now obvious that change of Captain doesnot mean change of fortune. Sammy was not the factor pulling WI down, Ramdin or anybody else will be giving the same results with these over hyped players who, except Chanderpaul are incapable of grafting their innings and play tests and shorter formats in the same manner without the required change of approach. In fact Sammy's batting has always been underrated otherwise he could have batted at 6 in place of Samuels and done better and also provide a varied bowling option.

  • BRUTALANALYST on June 12, 2014, 13:55 GMT

    NZ have been very impressive in all 3 formats for a year or 2 now. I don't think this W.I side would even challenge Otago though.

  • bobbo2 on June 12, 2014, 13:45 GMT

    Great to see NZ continue the good form. A solid win without Taylor and McCullum contributing much shows the team has depth. Time for coach Hesson to get some credit

  • aby_97 on June 12, 2014, 13:19 GMT

    West Indies; This time they had a pretty decent side but at the end the performance hasn't been good.Must say that technique is not good at all.Marlon Samuels at a crucial No.6 position is not helping them at all, And his off spin has just been economical without troubling the batsman.

    New Zealand have played absolutely great in the Test Match.They have a very balanced team with good bunch of all rounders to chip in with both bat and ball.And at last they have good WKB in Watling.Only the spin department needs to improve.While travelling to Asian countries, they have struggled big time with lack of quality spinners.MArk Craig needs to continue his form and Ish Sodhi has spin but he is sometimes defensive which is not helping along.

  • Roysingh1972 on June 12, 2014, 12:29 GMT

    Jerome Taylor, Shane shelingford, Ramdin, Benn, Gayle and Chanderpaul. Six players should stay, the rest of them need to go back to camp, bring in Dwayne bravo, Simmons, Pollard,Dwayne Smith, Andre Russell and Blackwood. After every test match it is the same story for the worst Indies!

  • StevieS on June 12, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    Steve Thompson your are right no one else has ever hit a six the first ball faced in a test match. I believe in has been done in ODI's and I am sure it will be done in 20/20's plenty of times if it hasn't already.

  • on June 12, 2014, 9:06 GMT

    Congratulations from Australia! Look forward to playing a NZ side of this calibre, not sure when we play next but a decent length series (at least 4 tests) would be good.

  • abuhammad on June 12, 2014, 8:06 GMT

    New Zealand will be a force to reckon in coming future.

  • mumin2gt on June 12, 2014, 5:09 GMT

    The predictability of a now balanced West Indies team? filled with batsmen with cement feet and spinners who hardly flight the ball, Edwards, Bravo, Samuels, Powell, Benn, to be replaced with Braithwaite, Dwayne Smith, Blackwood and Nurse or Holder this our last chance. we must fire all the groundsmen and replace them with men knowledgeable of soil composition no grass cutters thats who they really are, all the pitches in the Caribbean need to be redone to bouncy fast compact pitches, this is the only way our batsmen will improve.

  • on June 12, 2014, 4:02 GMT

    and Watling could have been considered too - his partnership with Neesham was crucial - five catches in the second (including a couple of great ones) and three in the first congratulations lads!

  • cnksnk on June 12, 2014, 4:01 GMT

    Very happy on the NZ win. They are turning into a very good and consistent side. Having said this what is WI cricket coming to be.. Just no fight and dare I say no class atleast with consistency. Sad and no one sees this changing in the short term although all of us want the old WI back.. None of the legends seem to be involved in changing the fortunes... nothing will change...

  • on June 12, 2014, 3:10 GMT

    Totally agree! Brilliant! And Craig hit his first ball in Test Cricket for 6. How many others can say that. Not many, if any...

  • Flystraight on June 12, 2014, 3:05 GMT

    Ah! The predictability of a now balanced West Indies team, no longer shall we teeter between wins and losses owing to the imbalance created by Darren Sammy. Alas, our machine, well oiled with the venom of puerile vengeance accelerates our stride towards the doldrums of a game that I once loved. So, I will bask in the days of my childhood when greatness had not a dollar figure, and no number of wickets could rearrange Curtly's face into a smile. I will say goodbye whilst I am still able, as a black man prone to hypertension, all other unpleasant things 'high.' This once loyal fan, with whatever modest quantity of self respect I have left, WILL NOW RETIRE!

  • paddles952 on June 12, 2014, 3:02 GMT

    well done boys, immensely proud!!!!!!!!!!! Celebrate long and hard our overseas wins are rare things to be treasured... Must have been hard to choose a man of match... Lathan with two great innings early i his career especially the 2nd innings dig under real pressure and two sensational catches must have gone close... As of course must Southee, living up to Allan Donald's billing a few years ago.. thought this was a complete tram performace... So exciting to have a talented leggie as well!

  • on June 12, 2014, 2:48 GMT

    There isnt a cricket fan who doesnt enjoy seeing New Zealand winning. ROCK!

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on June 12, 2014, 2:48 GMT

    There isnt a cricket fan who doesnt enjoy seeing New Zealand winning. ROCK!

  • paddles952 on June 12, 2014, 3:02 GMT

    well done boys, immensely proud!!!!!!!!!!! Celebrate long and hard our overseas wins are rare things to be treasured... Must have been hard to choose a man of match... Lathan with two great innings early i his career especially the 2nd innings dig under real pressure and two sensational catches must have gone close... As of course must Southee, living up to Allan Donald's billing a few years ago.. thought this was a complete tram performace... So exciting to have a talented leggie as well!

  • Flystraight on June 12, 2014, 3:05 GMT

    Ah! The predictability of a now balanced West Indies team, no longer shall we teeter between wins and losses owing to the imbalance created by Darren Sammy. Alas, our machine, well oiled with the venom of puerile vengeance accelerates our stride towards the doldrums of a game that I once loved. So, I will bask in the days of my childhood when greatness had not a dollar figure, and no number of wickets could rearrange Curtly's face into a smile. I will say goodbye whilst I am still able, as a black man prone to hypertension, all other unpleasant things 'high.' This once loyal fan, with whatever modest quantity of self respect I have left, WILL NOW RETIRE!

  • on June 12, 2014, 3:10 GMT

    Totally agree! Brilliant! And Craig hit his first ball in Test Cricket for 6. How many others can say that. Not many, if any...

  • cnksnk on June 12, 2014, 4:01 GMT

    Very happy on the NZ win. They are turning into a very good and consistent side. Having said this what is WI cricket coming to be.. Just no fight and dare I say no class atleast with consistency. Sad and no one sees this changing in the short term although all of us want the old WI back.. None of the legends seem to be involved in changing the fortunes... nothing will change...

  • on June 12, 2014, 4:02 GMT

    and Watling could have been considered too - his partnership with Neesham was crucial - five catches in the second (including a couple of great ones) and three in the first congratulations lads!

  • mumin2gt on June 12, 2014, 5:09 GMT

    The predictability of a now balanced West Indies team? filled with batsmen with cement feet and spinners who hardly flight the ball, Edwards, Bravo, Samuels, Powell, Benn, to be replaced with Braithwaite, Dwayne Smith, Blackwood and Nurse or Holder this our last chance. we must fire all the groundsmen and replace them with men knowledgeable of soil composition no grass cutters thats who they really are, all the pitches in the Caribbean need to be redone to bouncy fast compact pitches, this is the only way our batsmen will improve.

  • abuhammad on June 12, 2014, 8:06 GMT

    New Zealand will be a force to reckon in coming future.

  • on June 12, 2014, 9:06 GMT

    Congratulations from Australia! Look forward to playing a NZ side of this calibre, not sure when we play next but a decent length series (at least 4 tests) would be good.

  • StevieS on June 12, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    Steve Thompson your are right no one else has ever hit a six the first ball faced in a test match. I believe in has been done in ODI's and I am sure it will be done in 20/20's plenty of times if it hasn't already.