West Indies v New Zealand, 3rd Test, Bridgetown, 4th day June 29, 2014

Rain intervenes with New Zealand on top


New Zealand 293 and 331 for 7 (Williamson 161*, Roach 4-55) lead West Indies 317 by 307 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Kane Williamson was at his meticulous best. His seventh Test century took his series tally past 400 and guided New Zealand into a commanding position. The visitors stretched their lead to 307 and, with the fourth-day Kensington Oval pitch showing signs of variable bounce, West Indies' hopes would have started to dwindle. A sharp downpour either side of tea forced play to end early and was the only menace to New Zealand's hopes of a series win.

Memories of Dunedin might tempt New Zealand to declare overnight considering weather is likely to intervene on the final day as well, with scattered showers predicted.

The West Indies bowlers struggled to pose much threat with the old ball. Turn was on offer but it was slow. Their desperation was best depicted when the new ball was taken and Jerome Taylor was seen talking to it, as if cajoling it would fetch him his first wicket of the match. His plea did work, but the benefactor was Kemar Roach who claimed his 100th Test wicket by dismissing BJ Watling. However, it was the batsman at the other end who sapped them of their energy.

Williamson had to defuse a tricky situation last evening and those skills were needed once again. He was the common denominator in all four of New Zealand's half-century partnerships. Soft hands were a feature of his play as he buckled down; decisive footwork got him into positions that allowed him to tackle extra turn or low bounce. He did not go chasing for runs. They came when the bowlers fed his strengths - behind square on the off side and through midwicket - to contribute to 95 of his 161.

He had begun with two fours off his first seven balls before settling into his designated role of sheet anchor. As familiar as that has become for New Zealand, it doesn't happen often during the second innings. In his last ten second-inning knocks, Williamson had four fifties but the remainder had all been single figures. However, his ability to focus on the next ball helped both him and his side to gain a solid foothold into securing the series. He also joined Martin Crowe at the top of the list of centuries made by New Zealand batsmen by the age of 24.

West Indies had bet on the pitch misbehaving as well and utilised spin for much of the morning session. However, Jimmy Neesham did not let them settle. His second half-century of the match was characterised by confident footwork and clean hits, especially down the ground. Neesham's fluency melded with Williamson's composure and their 91-run stand completely offset the loss of an early wicket.

Brendon McCullum had not looked authoritative and was trapped leg before by an in-dipper from Roach. But aside from that West Indies lacked intensity for much of the morning session. Shane Shillingford, stripped of his doosra, traveled at 4.5 per over. Sulieman Benn managed only one maiden out of 26 overs. Their woes were compounded when Darren Bravo sustained a nasty blow to his hand at forward short leg, when Williamson went for a pull, and was not seen since.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on June 30, 2014, 15:32 GMT

    I think heads should roll if west indies lose this series.

  • Dominic on June 30, 2014, 15:23 GMT

    West Indies diid not pick Narine which was a grave mistake because of their policy, however the biggest mistake was the dropping Blackwood who did a splendid job in his first test. He seemed more experience than some team mates and was able to contribute to at least two good partnerships something lacking in this test. Who should take the blame? I ask you, the manager, the selectors or the players. You decide.

  • ESPN on June 30, 2014, 14:22 GMT

    WI you are seriously in danger of being over taken by Zimbabwe and Bangladesh as that's how woeful you are! Entire team just look likes they can't be bothered playing Test cricket , and cause of that your test status should be taken away and given to a country like Holland or Ireland who would do anything to play test cricket. NZ will only be judged against the big two teams , but a away series win is a away series win so well done.

  • Kushal on June 30, 2014, 14:00 GMT

    I don' think WI can win, they are a mediocre team and their players are not committed, Their players are only loyal towards IPL. I hope ICC can take their test status way.

  • Dion on June 30, 2014, 13:34 GMT

    Great stuff with the declaration NZ. As a fan I would have no issue losing in this case, knowing you were doing the right thing. Sadly too few captains are willing to risk a loss

  • Derek on June 30, 2014, 13:29 GMT

    @Brathwaite can be added to that list also of HOME players who should know how to exploit this wicket. Yes the curator prepared a wicket specifically for each match but after a while home knowledge is invaluable at this level.

  • Derek on June 30, 2014, 13:25 GMT

    Unimpressed. Benn, Roach, Edwards and Holder are playing at HOME; they should know better than most how to get the best out of this wicket. Knowledge of ones home ground (pitch) is always an advantage.

  • ESPN on June 30, 2014, 12:48 GMT

    I am a West Indian but KW has been very impressive. NZ need to declare now to give both a chance rather than a slow boring draw

  • Len on June 30, 2014, 9:33 GMT

    I think that its incredible that the WIndian commentators has not mentioned how appalling the lack of footwork the WIndies batsmen possess and how that lack of footwork cost them their wickets in this particular Test match. They might have said it in the past and are sick of mentioning it, but they SHOULD ALWAYS mention it when they are commentating. They are really not doing these batsmen any favours by choosing not to mention it because that is why people like Gayle, Edwards, Brathwaite Bravo and Blackwood will NEVER become International Test batsmen. The bowling of Benn and Shillingford in this Test has proven that WIndies will go nowhere with spin.

  • ESPN on June 30, 2014, 9:30 GMT

    If NZ are to win this test then they need to dangle the carrot for the WI. Not point batting too long on 5th morning as get the lead to 320 quickly and forget about Williamson get 200 unless he wants to throw the bat around. And knowing the WI they will take the bait and try and score quickly and will be skittled for 150 or so.