West Indies v New Zealand, 3rd Test, Barbados, 2nd day June 27, 2014

Rain curtails West Indies progress


West Indies 169 for 2 (Brathwaite 68, Edwards 42*) trail New Zealand 293 by 124 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A resolute half-century from Kraigg Brathwaite was the cornerstone of West Indies progress on the second day. However, the majority of it was lost to rain. Grey clouds had circled Kensington Oval throughout the morning session and limited the day's play to less than six overs after lunch. New Zealand might not have minded the intervention. They had begun well but lost the initiative by flitting between various lines and lengths.

The first half hour lived up to its clichéd billing with the ball buzzing past the batsmen's ears. Chris Gayle was placed under particular discomfort as Trent Boult softened him up and Tim Southee almost had him caught at leg gully. New Zealand might have persisted with the experiment a little more, but Gayle hit himself out of trouble and three fours in three balls earned him some breathing space. He was approaching a third fifty in four innings when the temptation to loft Mark Craig became too strong and he holed out at long-on. The offspinner would have relished the wear and tear on the pitch at Kensington Oval. There was rough to exploit against both right and left-handers but he could not quite assert himself the way Sulieman Benn did on the first day.

Brathwaite was one of the reasons for keeping Craig at bay. His solidity was a known quantity in West Indies. His driving was eye-catching - a healthy forward stride to underpin a strong push. He used his bottom hand to keep the ball down and none of his 10 fours bore the imprint of being hit too hard. It was a mark of his composure at the crease, but he might have been a touch too lax as he drove on the up and was caught at cover.

The scoring rates in this Test have been very brisk. Kirk Edwards contributed to the continuation of that trend. His strokes were more flashy and fueled a second-wicket partnership of 74 with four fours and a six. West Indies' top order is not often the most reliable but having gone in with five bowlers, they had extra responsibility and the response so far must be pleasing to the captain Denesh Ramdin.

New Zealand fussed over the ball for much of the morning session, trying to persuade the umpires to change it. When their efforts did bear fruit, the replacement seemed to offer the seamers a bit more bite but Boult and Southee, on whom the visitors' attack sorely depended, were rather lacklustre and West Indies benefited to the tune of 127 runs for the loss of two wickets.

New Zealand needed to streamline their plans after lunch, especially with Edwards chugging along on 41 off 45 and the new batsman, Darren Bravo, fresh off a century in the previous Test. Brendon McCullum had employed attacking fields - his ploy of using a silly mid-on almost bore fruit, but Brathwaite's lazy drive had fallen short. He worked the same principle against Edwards, whose strokeplay was characterised by hard hands, by having two short covers. He made the right moves and after the break his bowlers responded better. Craig went around the wicket to generate some good bounce, Neil Wagner was persistent. Contest had been imbued back into the game, but it was not allowed to unfurl as what began as a faint drizzle kept gaining strength.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on June 28, 2014, 15:42 GMT

    west Indies are actually one batsman short, the only change I would have made is Holder for Gabriel

  • Abdullah on June 28, 2014, 15:00 GMT

    It will be a tie I assume

  • Dominic on June 28, 2014, 14:18 GMT

    I cannot understand the West Indies public, how they think of replacing their best and most reliable batsman Chanderpaul, if fit he should be first on the team sheet. Blackwood is a newcomer who has played well and looked comfortable on debut and should of been selected anyway what done is done, my only hope is that the secletors learn from their foolhardiness. A mention that Lara waited some considerable time to play his second test. During that time WEST INDIES was WORLD beaters.

  • ESPN on June 28, 2014, 14:00 GMT

    At best our future continues to look hazy, given the mediocre success we have had with the current cricket management. (We have talented players which is NOT the problem). Mr Chanderpaul remains one of shining light in the WI. In fact he is currently the No. 2 ranked test batsman. He has defied even the wisdom of Mr Gibson who encouraged him to resign from cricket when he (Gibson) thought that Chanderpaul was no longer useful to WI cricket. (Unless of course there was some other dubious reason). It is the unfortunate that we sometimes don't see the obvious for some obscure reason.

  • Android on June 28, 2014, 13:52 GMT

    @cricketdebator... Why would you leave out your best and most experienced for inexperience? Do you know how long Brian Lara had to wait for his second test even after he did relatively well? He had to make way for the experienced players like Sir Viv and others. Indeed Blackwood has done well but u cannot justify leaving out your greatest asset even now as he is in form...

  • Patrick on June 28, 2014, 8:34 GMT

    @cricketdebator Blackwood did not miss out because of Shiv. It was because they made the baffling decision of playing five specialist bowlers. He missed out because of the ineffectual Shillingford. Shiv is needed as a mentor until these young lads cement their place. Braithwaite e.g is looking more solid but there's still some way to go.

  • Simon on June 28, 2014, 7:39 GMT

    It's time for Chanderpaul to retire and make way for a young batsman, or the WI should ask him to. If we are seriously looking at the future development of the team, then it makes no sense that the old statesman is playing at the expense of a young talent like Blackwood. Chandlers has done his part for WI cricket and we all thank him very much, but if his many fans are honest with themselves, they must admit that it's time to replace him with a younger batsman, in the interest of the future scheme of things. Certainly, young Blackwood could turn out to be a capable replacement if given the chance.

  • Basil on June 28, 2014, 7:35 GMT

    Yes, Holder is ok, but if WI wants to play 3 seamers with 2 spinners, I can't help but feel Carlos Braithwaite, or to a lesser extent, Andre Russell at number 7 would've been better for team balance. The tail does look long.....

  • ESPN on June 28, 2014, 7:30 GMT

    Excellent performance by windies so far only they gave away 40 or so runs to Mark Craig again but overall their bowlers are doing well and specially the response from the batsmen is great. Dropping Blackwood with shillingford for an extra specialist spinner is no doubt a decision due to what happened at port of spain at the end of 2nd innings. But bringing in shillingford isn't a wise choice. Shillingford since the ban on his doosra hasn't been the same what he used to be cauz even in newzealand he bowled supremely well. He looks just an ordinary spinner without the doosra in his reputaire. I hope he gets back but i doubt it. Only with Benn and Roach in the wickets column is a matter of concern for Westindies selectors.

  • ESPN on June 27, 2014, 22:49 GMT

    This is going to be a cracking test match . the spinners are going to play a big part if the weather stays fine

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