West Indies v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Port of Spain, 3rd day June 18, 2014

NZ resist after West Indies' 239-run lead


New Zealand 221 and 73 for 1 (Williamson 38*, Latham 30*) trail West Indies 460 (Brathwaite 129, Bravo 109, Blackwood 63, Sodhi 4-96) by 166 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A half-century on debut from 22-year-old Jermaine Blackwood was the key performance on the third morning, during which West Indies stretched their first-innings lead to 239 in the Trinidad Test. Blackwood added 47 for the seventh wicket with Shivnarine Chanderpaul, then followed it up with a 76-run association with captain Denesh Ramdin to thwart New Zealand's plans of limiting the damage. In response, New Zealand were set back by the early loss of Brendon McCullum but held fort till the end of the day with old-fashioned attritional cricket. With two days remaining and a 166-run lead, West Indies are in pole position to square the series.

West Indies owed much to Blackwood, who was circumspect to start with and went hard at swinging deliveries. One inswinger from Boult cut him in half, but his response was to launch the next delivery over long-on for six. He was lucky early in his innings when Tom Latham could not hold on to a low chance at short leg. Blackwood was on 11 then. With the spinners serving up a regular dose of easy deliveries, he grew in confidence.

Ish Sodhi, the legspinner, went on to pick up four wickets, including those of Blackwood and Chanderpaul, but his inconsistency meant New Zealand neither controlled the flow of runs nor looked like taking a wicket in between. Blackwood found it easy to score runs off him - the full deliveries were smashed down the ground for a six and a four - and apart from the delivery that took the outside edge of his bat to slip, he didn't appear in any trouble and reached his maiden fifty off 93 balls. His dismissal spelt a quick end for the West Indies innings, but a healthy lead was already on the board.

And Sodhi was not the only bowler who struggled - Mark Craig, the hero of the Jamaica Test, went for 111 runs in 29 wicketless overs, Jimmy Neesham's seam-ups served no purpose, while Williamson was just steady at best.

While the ball was still new in the morning, New Zealand would have hoped to pick up early wickets. They were already behind by 89 runs, and Chanderpaul's stubborn presence meant West Indies continued fortifying their position.

Seventeen runs came in the first eight overs of the morning, a period during which Trent Boult and Tim Southee generated enough movement from the pitch to keep New Zealand interested. They beat the bat a number of times but the early breakthrough, that of nightwatchman Kemar Roach, took 9.1 overs to come.

Blackwood's partnership with Chanderpaul then helped West Indies take the game further away from New Zealand. Until he was dismissed, Chanderpaul maintained his usual stoical stance to frustrate the bowlers. His 33rd run took him past Kumar Sangakkara in the list of leading run-getters in Tests. Out of nowhere, though, he fell padding up in the same way to the same bowler, Sodhi, as in the previous Test.

Ramdin joined Blackwood and the increased urgency caught New Zealand somewhat offguard. Ramdin's three consecutive boundaries on the first three balls after lunch, off New Zealand's most threatening bowler, Boult, unravelled their intent. The partnership between the two batsmen inflated to 50 in 67 balls. By that time, the Netherlands had reasserted their supremacy over Australia in the football World Cup match and West Indies' lead was past 200 too.

Faced with a survival situation similar to what defending champions Spain were facing against Chile, New Zealand also had to adjust their batting order because Hamish Rutherford was not available due to an illness. McCullum promoted himself to open with Latham, but the move didn't work as the New Zealand captain was trapped lbw by Jerome Taylor in the seventh over. New Zealand were 9 for 1.

Both Taylor and Roach stuck to impeccable lines around off stump and with the ball darting around just enough, another wicket didn't seem too far. Taylor was particularly impressive, starting up with an opening burst of 7-3-8-1 while Roach complemented him with a spell of 6-3-9-0.

Only two boundaries came in the first 14 overs as New Zealand trudged to 19. Sulieman Benn and Shannon Gabriel kept up the pressure once the two frontline bowlers were off. Benn kept pegging around the off-stump line, while Gabriel's disconcerting bounce troubled Williamson more than once. Still, both Williamson and Latham made most of the infrequent loose deliveries. Two fours in the 27th over, bowled by Chris Gayle, took New Zealand past 50. While Spain withered away from Brazil, Williamson and Latham took the fight to another day.

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ESPN on June 19, 2014, 15:38 GMT

    Been waiting to hear someone comment ...WI improved pacers showing = Ambrose bowling coach. !!!!. Batsmen need a similar coach

  • Richard on June 19, 2014, 15:30 GMT

    I do worry about Test cricket in West Indies. Mind you this match is not a great advert... boy, its turgid stuff. You could count the crowd on one hand. I tried to watch a bit on TV and fell asleep within 5 mins.!! Don't believe WI will ever have a good team again. Even tho' it looks like they will win this match ( eventually!) Its not just the normal cycle of success, its deeper than that. You can't even really blame T20. WI were in bad trouble way before T20 took a hold. Looks like fans have no interest either. Its a big shame. What can the greats of yesteryear think of what now passes for a cricket team. Marshall, Walsh, Ambrose would have bowled this lot out in 30 mins !

  • Dummy4 on June 19, 2014, 14:45 GMT

    went to see the game in pos yesterday...watching new Zealand bat is like watching paint dry!!!!unattractive ,boring ..just occupying the crease and blocking balls that could be put away...they should be banned from test cricket..the Oval was empty...iwas in the presidenys box..thank fully there were good bottles of wine..this is a sure way to kill test cricket...

  • Android on June 19, 2014, 14:32 GMT

    Williamson is becoming pure consistant player for nz. Latham is new find for nz

  • Android on June 19, 2014, 13:22 GMT

    i like bm opening the batting.he is a good opening batsman.y u bringing him no. 5???????....he is not a middle order player

  • ESPN on June 19, 2014, 11:15 GMT

    Mitch did exactly that against SA and we know who came out on top there on the roads they tried to prepare for Mitch. What you talking about Shane Bond as Taylor ripped your batsmen apart so hardly a tough pitch hey? Must be hard looking up at all the other teams being ranked so low down hey!

  • Android on June 19, 2014, 10:51 GMT

    @Jamie Moneghan Lol. Have a look at the match highlights. Southee bowled well without reward. I would love to see Mitch Johnson firing thundrbolts on these pitches. Just 2 good series and there you go.

  • Ashok on June 19, 2014, 10:36 GMT

    Hopefully West Indies win the game and set up a winner takes all clash at Barbados

  • Dummy4 on June 19, 2014, 10:33 GMT

    weasel-zapper - you are right that my comment represents somewhat of a contradiction in that I wasn't a huge fan of McCullum when he consistently failed to convert starts and that is why the 300 seemed a significant milestone. But as the most senior batsman in the team you would hope that McCullum could put one middling score together in 3 innings wouldn't you? A 40 with several others batting around him would have raised both mediocre totals by another 80 or so runs and that is often the difference between still being in a game or having been batted out of it. Not to mention the lift his cheap wicket gives to the West Indies camp. No doubt McCullum is one of the most destructive batsmen on his day, but no one would suggest that he is quality test batsmen and the stats are there to prove it. Matt Prior has a test average close to 42 yet would he play in the England team if he wasn't keeping? But certainly you are right to focus on Latham, a wonderful start and lets hope for the 100.

  • ESPN on June 19, 2014, 10:30 GMT

    But why were NZ trying to save a Test match on the third day? As all you had to do was start positively and the WI bowlers would of wilted , as all NZ need to do is set a lead of 200 more as WI won't get that on a last day wicket when the pressure is on. Plus if Southee is the "World" class bowler you think he is , then he will have no trouble bowling WI to victory. Just looks like NZ were trying to draw the game from day 1!

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