West Indies v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Port-of-Spain, 5th day June 20, 2014

Hard-fought West Indies win levels series


West Indies 460 (Brathwaite 129, Bravo 109, Blackwood 63, Sodhi 4-96) and 95 for 0 (Gayle 80*) beat New Zealand 221 (Latham 82, Taylor 4-34) and 331 (Craig 67, Watling 66*, Williamson 52, Roach 4-74) by ten wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

It's not easy to win a Test match. Just ask West Indies. Their victory drought in Tests seemed set to end yesterday evening itself, but Mark Craig and BJ Watling made them wait. And wait. The odd drizzle and some threatening rain clouds on the fifth morning only increased the anxiety for the home side. More than two hours into play on the fifth morning, they finally did get New Zealand all out, and though they faced a not-too-challenging target of 93, a downpour soon after the final wicket meant there was little relief for West Indies.

As the skies cleared, so too did the home side's troubles. West Indies fans got to see the sight that perhaps cheers them up the most: Chris Gayle batting in Twenty20 mode to demolish the bowling. The target was hunted down in just 13.2 overs, the long wait for a Test win was finally over, and the series was level.

The rough period may be over for Gayle but one man wasn't finding Test cricket that arduous. After beginning with a Man-of-the-Match performance on debut at Sabina Park, Craig frustrated West Indies with the fifth longest Test innings by a No. 10. He made light of a lack of footwork to stick around for more than three hours, surviving a bunch of chances, including two in the cordon off successive deliveries from Jerome Taylor in the 130th over.

He put on 99 in 43.1 overs with Watling before finally nicking a full ball to the keeper. Watling remained unruffled though, persevering past 200 deliveries as he enhanced his reputation as one of the finest wicketkeeper-batsmen in the world. There were just four fours from him in nearly six-and-a-half hours of defiance, and it came on the back of a splendid performance behind the stumps in Jamaica last week. As the partnership ate up more and more time, advice came even from the crowd, a woman wearing a West Indies jersey shouting for a short leg to be put in place and for the quicks to bang it short.

Even as Watling showed off tremendous powers of concentration, the No. 11 Trent Boult applied himself to hang around. The intermittent drizzle only gave West Indies more to worry about. When Shannon Gabriel finally got rid of Boult, there was almost no celebration from the home side - Gabriel walking back to the umpire, thankful the toil was over, with Chris Gayle and the rest of slip cordon shuffling towards the dressing room, keeping an eye on the weather.

When the rain relented after an hour and a half, Gayle got going. He flicked the first ball of the chase for four, and hit four more boundaries in the next four overs. Then he switched to smashing sixes, clubbing three in a Boult over including one to the roof of the stadium. He galloped to a 50 off 28 balls - the second quickest by a West Indian in Tests - as the chase was finished off in quick time. Gayle and Kraigg Brathwaite are at the opposite ends of the batting spectrum, and it was never more clear than in this partnership: Gayle made 80, Brathwaite 14. Gayle getting among the runs ahead of the deciding Test was the icing on the cake for West Indies.

New Zealand's run of eight Tests without defeat - their longest in over a decade - has been snapped, but they will be pleased they at least made West Indies toil for the win, especially after their limp batting on the first day. The Barbados match will be a test of how far Brendon McCullum's men have progressed.

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • howzat86 on June 21, 2014, 19:38 GMT

    This was a much better performance from the West Indies i thought Kraigg Brathwaite batted really well for his 129 runs and was very patient during his innings also Darren Bravo got a useful century and good half century for Jermaine Blackwood. New Zealand were pretty poor in this match but fought well in the 2nd innings to make this match interesting anyway looking forward towards the 3rd test as it is all to play for.

  • JoshFromJamRock on June 21, 2014, 16:55 GMT


    As it relates to the 3rd seamer, its only fair to give Gabriel a chance to prove himself but in all honesty I see holder as a better option. Holder looks more like a new ball bowler and even with the old ball he would still get bounce and seam movement. Gabriel has improved in accuracy since last time but he's still bowling either too short or too full. His awkward bounce is due to his catapulting action but what use is the bounce if its not created from a good line and length?

    But still, Gabriel is definitely the 4th best seamer WI have behind Taylor, Roach and Holder therefore he should be always in a 15-man squad. Just look as those pace bowlers at Sagicor, see them bowl in videos, and you'll know that they are not yet ready for international cricket. Full of potential yes, but they still need some grooming. The upcoming CPL will give WI fans an idea ( definitely not the full picture) as to how they, the younger pacers, have gotten better since the last edition.

  • JoshFromJamRock on June 21, 2014, 16:40 GMT

    Its pleasing to know that WI put in a total team effort to get this win. The only two places in question are those of the specialist spinner and the third seamer.

    While many want Narine, Miller, Bishoo and Shillingford in the team, its important to give Benn his due as he worked his way back in the side by outperforming all of them in the regional competition. Narine as we know disqualified himself (although the WICB is to get some blame as well). Miller for Benn is redundant as Benn already provides the SLA variation and Miller lacks Benn's bounce. Bishoo took over 80% of his wicket in one match (meaning little or none in the other matches) plus being a legspinner (always a risk) he'll create indiscipline in an attack that has finally started bowling line and length. Shillingford definitely needs another variation or two before he should be considered again. He's got the best statistics of all WI spinners but since his suspension he's been equal if not less effective than Benn.

  • dummy4fb on June 21, 2014, 13:30 GMT

    A magnificent display of great cricket. After a horrifying drought of WI dominance and flamboyance,our top order batting has made a tremendous difference.Centuries from two of our young batsmen brought much relief to the team . However,the bowling still lacks the lethal penetration expected at test level.Shiv Chanderpaul's 47 and his fitness in the field has revealed that the 40 years old has lost none of his gloss, and is still a great asset to WI cricket.I hope the administrators and coach be careful in handling the welfare of the players. The dark clouds that haunted the relations of players and administrators must not be repeated.

  • tutorial on June 21, 2014, 11:57 GMT

    Job well done WI.!! As i was saying in most of my comments,top order needs to bat and so they did for one inning, now look at the result. On to the third test, Holder should replace Gabriel and because of the importance of this test i would play Narine,after all the objective is to win.

  • Antony_Lucas on June 21, 2014, 8:39 GMT

    Thanks black caps for showing us you that you havn't infact turned the corner. Normal progress resumes

  • dummy4fb on June 21, 2014, 8:20 GMT

    Congrats windies, I knew the t20 approach was going to be your strategy to hit off those 93 runs needed to win and Gayle was the perfect man to do so. I absolutely loved the fight from NZ that was awesome to see. These teams are evenly matched so the third and final test will show who's got the edge. Holder should play next match and McCullum is out of form but he's the captain.

  • weasel_zapper on June 21, 2014, 7:22 GMT

    Congrats WI. Should be a cracker 3rd test. Thankfully there is a 3rd too.

    Think they will still go with Rutherford for the decider if he is over whatever he had. Although probably wouldn't be the worst thing for our chances if he was ruled out and perhaps McCullum did open again. Certainly don't think that's the way forward for the team though. Or Rutherford could be ruled out and they could go for Fulton again...

    Wagner in for sure, but for who is a tricky one. Probably for Craig i'm guessing, as we still have an off spin option in Williamson.

    I had my doubts about Watling as keeper for a start but he's been absolutely exceptional. Averages 48 as a keeper now. Plus he started off pretty tidy behind the stumps but seems to be going from strength to strength, has taken some really sharp chances off spin which is something NZ keepers aren't known for.

    A series loss would certainly be a step backwards after our home summer but I reckon we can come back stronger.

  • android_user on June 21, 2014, 5:49 GMT

    I love kiwi fans, any other country would be calling to replace the entire team after a lose like that but for us it's chin up and better luck next time. best country in the world :)

  • Sinhaya on June 21, 2014, 5:34 GMT

    Great effort by Watling and full credit for that. Congratulations West Indies and hope the final test will be a thriller as the first and second were rather lop sided.