Third Test

New Zealand v West Indies, 2005-06

Don Cameron

At Napier, March 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 2006. Drawn. Toss: New Zealand.

If you believe the local folk, Napier is the sunny centre of Hawkes Bay, an area offering high-quality wines, art-deco architecture - and clear blue skies. Two of the boasts are true. But by this stage of the tour the West Indians were becoming stoical about New Zealand's summer: they added more and more sweaters, and dreamed of Caribbean warmth. At least the weather helped stop their run of defeats: less than 80 overs' cricket was possible on the first two days, during which time Lara finally found a semblance of form, but there was none at all on the last three.

The match only got under way in the first place after a boundary rope was shifted to cordon off a particularly boggy strip of outfield, but there was a chilly wind, which presaged imminent rain. Fleming, in his 75th Test as captain, putting him ahead of Clive Lloyd and behind only Allan Border on 93, won the toss and put West Indies in. There was time for 27.2 overs on the first afternoon before it got too dark, and roughly double that on the second day before the rain set in for good.

There were two notable events amid the mist and murk. After four single-figure innings Lara moved back up to No. 3 on a difficult pitch, batted primly for 28 not out on the first afternoon, belted regally past 50 with 24442 from one Franklin over, but then fell unluckily for 83 when a bottom edge cannoned off his boot into his stumps. The second incident was a comical run-out muddle involving Morton and Chanderpaul, which was only solved by the TV replays. Morton drove towards Vettori at mid-on and set off for what should have been a quick single. Chanderpaul moved a few yards out from the bowler's end, then gestured for Morton to retreat. Instead he charged on, and the question was which of them had been the first to reach the safety of the bowling crease as the throw winged in to the keeper. Chanderpaul seemed quite happy when his partner moved towards the pavilion, but then the umpires asked Morton to wait until the TV replay ruled on who had touched down inside the crease first. Morton won by a fraction of a centimetre and was recalled, but carefully avoided crossing Chanderpaul's path as his captain left the field. It was a zany end to a largely undistinguished tour.

Attendance: 5,655.

© John Wisden & Co.