West Indies v New Zealand, 3rd Test, Bridgetown, 3rd day June 28, 2014

Wagner, Williamson put New Zealand ahead


New Zealand 293 and 123 for 3 (Williamson 58*, McCullum 23*) lead West Indies 317 (Brathwaite 68, Edwards 58, Wagner 4-64) by 99 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

New Zealand clawed back into the series decider on a dry, slow Kensington Oval pitch through their two left-arm quicks as West Indies surrendered another promising position - they had begun the day 169 for 2 and succumbed to 317 all out by tea. The visitors managed a lead of 99 but not before Kemar Roach and Jason Holder ripped out three wickets to keep West Indies in the hunt.

Much of New Zealand's position was down to Neil Wagner. He toiled with the old ball and epitomised an improved approach. They had been fickle with their tactics on the second day, but today they had well-devised plans and were patient enough to see them through to completion. Trent Boult had a quiet morning session but regained his mojo with the new ball. He snared two wickets in two overs, including the last recognised batsman Denesh Ramdin for a plucky 45.

West Indies' tail did wag, but not quite enough. Holder, playing his first innings in Tests, marshalled a 36-run partnership for the eighth wicket and hinted at abilities beyond his first-class average of 15.40 through some delectable drives. He was excellent with the ball too, snapping up Ross Taylor as his maiden Test wicket. His height enabled him to extract a touch more bounce which helped spice up proceedings towards the end of the day's play. He gave Brendon McCullum some grief, narrowly missing out a leg-before decision. Hawk-Eye pegged the impact outside off, but there was doubt over whether the New Zealand captain was playing a shot.

Roach had been the other source of threat after he settled into a probing length quite readily. He drew Tom Latham into an ill-advised pull and elicited Hamish Rutherford's outside edge. Barring a few overs from Shane Shillingford, the rest of the attack was ordinary again.

McCullum took 18 balls to get off the mark but he and half-centurion Kane Williamson - who had an outside edge bisect wicketkeeper and slip and escaped a tough stumping opportunity - managed to take New Zealand to stumps without further damage.

Inventive fields and consistency from their bowlers made for an absorbing morning session. The abrasive pitch sapped most of the pace off the ball and the search for wickets led McCullum to play hot potato with his close-in fielders. It started with twin gullies for Darren Bravo, then twin short covers, and as the batsman continued to drive on the up, a third short cover.

Bravo took on the challenge. Two fours were conceded before Wagner duped him with a slower ball that drew him a little too far outside the off stump. Williamson at gully completed a good catch and the visitors celebrated an astute plan coming off. The short ball was used as a surprise weapon as the dogged Shivnarine Chanderpaul found out on the cusp of lunch. Fitting reward for Wagner's wholehearted efforts.

There was brief resistance from Ramdin, who had flourished against the spin of Mark Craig. Two long hops were dispatched square on either side of the pitch and a lashing cover drive also featured among his best shots. As quick as he was with his footwork against the offspinner, he got into a woeful tangle against an inswinger and was out leg before. Boult added another wicket when he induced Roach's outside edge and BJ Watling took a smart, low grab.

It did help New Zealand that even set batsmen like Kirk Edwards had trouble regaining their stride. He had to contend with the bowlers targeting the stumps. His strokeplay was restrained and a simple defensive push skimmed across the turf to usher him to his half-century. However, pushing on from the mark has been a problem in recent times. The last three times he had reached this far, he could not get to 60. Tim Southee ensured the continuation of that trend by generating reverse swing in his second spell. The flick off the legs ended up as a leading edge that swirled in the air before Rutherford held a well-judged catch.

New Zealand's bowlers created opportunities and if they couldn't, they kept things tight. But their batsmen were put under severe pressure in the latter half of the final session. The pitch is entertaining some turn, the odd delivery was keeping low and others were leaping up. A second series win in the Caribbean is still a strong batting performance away for the visitors.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 29, 2014, 16:22 GMT

    The selectors are to blame,are they not aware that west indies batting is the problem,why drop a promising young batsman for an extra bowler,whereas in trinidad we won with four frontline bowlers.Shillingford is my countryman but he definetly was not needed for this test either.I knew that if gayle did not stay around for long period of time we were not going to get 400.Unfortunetly we mite loose this test and the series.

  • greig on June 29, 2014, 14:52 GMT

    Disappointed with the Windies intensity levels. Quite happy to just let the game go. Why hasn't holder bowled all morning, Ben and Shillingford are not Test Quality.

  • ESPN on June 29, 2014, 13:10 GMT

    An Aussie here. NZ attack looks far more balanced with Wagner in the ranks as I like the way he always wants to attack. You just need to sort out your spinner so you can rotate your pace attack as teams like Australia and SA would destroy Craig by hitting him out of the attack early meaning bigger work load for your pace man.As doesn't need to be prolific , just needs to do a job like Lyon does for Australia as he holds up a end and takes wickets too. Good luck too for the remainder of this test.

  • Roy on June 29, 2014, 13:02 GMT

    Wi.paying the price for dropping Blackwood. I cannot understand why Shillingford is in the team, he was left out in trinidad and we had a winning result.

  • MIchael on June 29, 2014, 12:05 GMT

    Latham and Rutherford have to be persisted with as openers. It takes a long while for an opening partnership to settle down and I think we in NZ are far too quick to chop the tall poppy. Let them get out for low scores and they will certainly learn. It's not like they are going back to the sheds giggling about how poorly they've just playing; those two lads are working very hard for their positions and they will get it right given some patience. Williamson is doing what Ponting did, just have a little faith.

  • Paul on June 29, 2014, 10:32 GMT

    Ben Smith from CD has played a couple of first class innings that show he could become a long term option for NZ including a 91 off 221 balls, and a 133 from 277. Another option, which will not happen, would have been get Kane Williamson to open, which he's doing already pretty much now anyway with success. Otherwise it's back to Guptill or take a punt on Michael Bracewell, who in his last four-day game got 154 after Rutherford got a golden duck!

  • jared on June 29, 2014, 8:59 GMT

    sameold i think is on the right track with cachopa, craig though not carl but he is a middle order player as well but looks to have the best technique and temperment of the domestic batters, the other would be ryder, no stranger to opening but again more a middle order player, i think neesham could make a good go of it but yet again he's a middle order player so no obvious solution when the best domestic opener is papps, not sure we want to go back there, any one of them as long as its not fulton or rutherford, they couldn't do any worse.

  • Dummy4 on June 29, 2014, 8:51 GMT

    Wow, so disappointed with the West Indies in the Field. Dropped catch at silly- mid on and Ramdan missed an easy stumping. Come on Windies, get it together.

    Really like the look of Holder, what a fine prospect. I not a fan of Benn, I think Shillingford is turning it more and is clearly more a of threat.

  • jared on June 29, 2014, 8:37 GMT

    @ choppa13 southee is the premiere bowler in the country, ranked in the top 5 in the world it doesn't get much better than that but what matt henry does with the ball is pretty formidable, he's quick for a start, swings the ball both ways but not only that the sideways movement of the pitch he gets when nobody seams to get any is amazing these are all great assets but the best asset he has is he can put six balls in the same spot over after over with unrelenting accuracy, he is destroying everyone domestically, most will say thats not a big deal but then he went and destroyed india's top order on debut just to prove a point, if he can crack into that test team which is pretty hard at the moment, he might just show the incumbents up, i believe he's that good. i don't see as much domestic cricket as i would like but what i have seen, henry is a freakish talent.

  • Blake on June 29, 2014, 8:36 GMT

    Curtains for Hamish Rutherford. Enough is enough. Time to find a new opener.

    Also the coach needs to explain to the fans what their intentions are with Anderson and Neesham in the Test side. Just tell us, is Anderson now just a backup for an injury for Neesham? Or do they see them both fitting in the same side in the near future? That's a question that has been asked all series by loyal NZ cricket fans such as NikkoChun and kiwicricketnut and the supporters deserve an explanation as to what the selectors intentions are with those two.

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