'Watling becoming my favourite player' - McCullum
Brendon McCullum, the New Zealand captain, has said the post-tea session on the first day, when they went from 159 for 3 to 221 all out, cost his side the Trinidad Test match.
"I thought right through the Test, barring one session where we lost seven for 60, we were pretty good," McCullum said, after West Indies wrapped up a 10-wicket win on the fifth day. "I thought with the ball, and once they got 400, the application and intensity with which our seamers bowled, particularly, was outstanding, something we can be really proud of and any other day they could have easily knocked the top off the West Indies batting order.
"I keep going back to that first day when we lost seven for 60. That put us behind the game and allowed West Indies back into the series and that they did, they kept coming at us and putting us under pressure and obviously today they got the rewards for that."
After conceding a 239-run first-innings lead, New Zealand played out more than 150 overs in their second innings, led by wicketkeeper BJ Watling, who batted for more than six hours to score an unbeaten 66. McCullum was full of praise for Watling's effort.
"BJ is fast becoming my favourite cricketer, actually. His strength of character and his fighting qualities. The guy never complains, gets on with the job, goes out there and keeps for a hundred-and-something overs and goes out and bats for seven hours trying to save a Test match for his country.
"It's not the first time he's done it. He's done it on numerous occasions now and he's certainly a guy who's becoming a strong leader within the group as well. He's doing that through his actions and leading by example and that's a really good sign because we're still a young team, so we need as many leaders within the group as possible."
Despite Watling's efforts, and those of Mark Craig, who scored 67 batting at No. 10, New Zealand could only set West Indies a target of 93, which they overhauled in a mere 13.2 overs with Chris Gayle hitting an unbeaten 46-ball 80. McCullum said he thought anything between 100 and 150 might have challenged West Indies, particularly considering the looming threat of rain, which had already delayed the start of their chase by more than an hour.
"Trying to stretch our lead if we could get anywhere around 100 to 150, we thought there would be a fair chance, especially if there was some rain hanging around. If they'd had to come in they may have lost an hour or two and that would have put a bit of scoreboard pressure on the Windies as well, so that was our plan and we got through to 90-odd, which was a pretty good effort, but we knew Gayle was going to come out and play aggressively.
"We might have picked him up in the first over or two trying to play like that, we might have created some anxiety among their side but in the end he got away and played the innings he did."
McCullum was confident New Zealand could turn it around in the third Test in Barbados and take home a series win.
"We've been going pretty well in Test cricket in the last 12 to 18 months and our formula has become pretty familiar to us, and some guys are always going to miss out and some guys are always going to get runs. We've just got to make sure that we're still trying to do the right things and keep trying to execute our gameplan. If we do that, and we have a little bit of luck as well going our way in Barbados, I'm confident we can turn this performance around and again finish with a strong performance."