Second Test

New Zealand v West Indies, 2005-06

Don Cameron

At Basin Reserve, Wellington, March 17, 18, 19, 20, 2006. New Zealand won by ten wickets. Toss: West Indies.

A sound batting display from New Zealand brought them victory in this match, and with it the series. West Indies batted poorly in both innings, and crashed to their 12th consecutive away defeat, their 42nd in 54 Tests outside the Caribbean since 1996 - there were only seven away wins in that time, and four of those had come in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, as did two of the five draws.

Chanderpaul won the toss and batted, knowing that Bond, the Auckland destroyer, had been replaced by Mills minutes earlier as he was suffering from a fever. However, his batsmen did not make good use of a quite lively pitch, against a ball that did not swing or seam noticeably. By the 14th over both openers had been caught behind and Lara had edged to slip for a single. Morton - who had replaced Sarwan, sent home to nurse a leg injury - stuck fast, but wickets fell regularly at the other end. When Morton finally fell for a Test-best 63, 50 of them in boundaries, West Indies were 165 for eight. Franklin, moving the ball both ways, took five wickets. There were no more casualties on a rain-shortened first day, but Mills mopped up quickly next morning.

New Zealand started badly, too: Marshall, obviously lacking confidence, and his opening partner How fell to successive balls with the score stuck on three, leaving Fulton and Fleming in repair mode. But not for long: Fleming soon found his strokes, while Fulton grew steadily more confident. With more care Fleming would have completed his ninth Test hundred - and his first in 15 matches at Wellington, a ground which he nonetheless likes - but at 97 he played a slashing stroke outside the off stump and Bravo held the catch on the third-man boundary.

Fulton made 75 before becoming the first of four wickets for the impressive Powell, and the New Zealanders scored well down the order. Astle batted for three hours, while Vettori again underlined what a handy man he is at No. 8 with a cultured 42. New Zealand were all out early on the third morning for 372, a lead of 180.

It was almost enough, with the West Indian batting again veering from the sublime to the ridiculous. The openers made another solid start, but then Morton and Lara went quickly. More bad weather hastened the end of the third day and delayed the start of the fourth, but when play resumed the wickets kept tumbling. Despite a three-hour 36 from Chanderpaul, and 40 from the Grenadian Rawl Lewis, in his first Test for more than seven years (he was unable to claim a wicket with his leg-spin, and his bowling average reached 388.00 by the end of the match), the innings was over in mid-afternoon. Franklin, Martin and Mills - hard-working, but hardly a trio of furies - took 17 of the 20 West Indian wickets to fall in the match.

New Zealand needed only 36 to win with more than a day to spare, and Marshall, with just 15 runs in his previous three innings, bucked himself up with four quick fours.

Man of the Match: S. P. Fleming. Attendance: 13,615.

© John Wisden & Co.