At Wellington (Basin Reserve), December 11-13, 2013. New Zealand won by an innings and 73 runs. Toss: West Indies.
After the frustration of Dunedin, New Zealand secured their first Test victory of 2013, and their first on home soil in nine attempts, overpowering a West Indian side which produced dire cricket from start to finish. Sixteen wickets fell on the third day, with Boult bagging a career-best ten for 80 - the second-best match figures for New Zealand against West Indies, after Richard Hadlee's 11 for 102 at Dunedin in 1979-80.
Boult bowled with skill and pace - as he had done for much of the year - but the batting was feeble. For the first time, West Indies' last four batsmen were dismissed for ducks in the first innings, then in the second all ten wickets clattered for 101 after a useful start. The positive vibes felt after Dunedin evaporated.
West Indies had again wasted favourable bowling conditions after Sammy won the toss. Even the New Zealanders said they had never seen so much grass on a Basin Reserve pitch, and the first ball suggested life wouldn't be easy: Fulton was given lbw to Best, but was saved when DRS showed an inside edge. Both openers still fell cheaply, but Taylor was dropped at third slip by Edwards before he had scored. That would have left New Zealand 26 for three - but they recovered, and from then on it was barely a contest.
The West Indian pacemen - especially Best, who appeared to lose the confidence of his captain - could not find any consistency. Taylor skipped to his second hundred of the series, his tenth in Tests, and was offered two more lives after passing three figures. He eventually carved to deep point shortly before the close, suffering from exhaustion. Still, a first-day total of 307 for six was well above par.
If anything, West Indies were even worse on the second morning, when the opening session - delayed by rain - brought 134 runs in 25 overs. Watling marshalled the lower order, who more than held their own. A last-wicket stand of 58 in 8.1 overs left the visitors ragged; the low point came when Best palmed a catch over the midwicket boundary with Boult on three, much to the frustration of Ottis Gibson, the coach, who was standing behind him.
New Zealand's bowlers immediately pitched the ball further up, which provided boundary opportunities, but also the threat of edges. West Indies had no problem scoring freely, but could not form substantial partnerships. Anderson's bustling left-arm seamers removed Bravo and Edwards, then Deonarine's departure to Boult on the third morning - via a juggling slip catch - opened the floodgates. The last six wickets crumbled for 18.
Boult claimed five of them in the space of 15 deliveries for a Test-best six for 40. When the last wicket fell, the New Zealand think-tank had a huddle in the middle to discuss the follow-on: McCullum enforced it, despite the experience of the previous week, and admitted it had not been a straightforward decision. He may have been nervous as Edwards and Powell added 74, but after lunch his bowlers began to make inroads. Southee was particularly impressive during a nine-over burst that brought him three for 19, while Wagner produced his best spell of the series to date. Boult had bowled only two overs with the new ball, but returned to run through the lower order once again, although his most stunning contribution was a breathtaking catch at backward point to intercept Ramdin's cut.
Sammy completed a pair, the first by a Test captain in nine years - it was a bad Friday the 13th for him - and his forlorn signal for DRS summed up West Indies' haplessness. For McCullum there was relief, and a chance to remind themselves of the words to the team song "Black and White" as they gathered on the pitch a couple of hours after victory was sealed.
Man of the Match: T. A. Boult.