The first two tests of the New Zealand Vs. West Indies drew in perfect set up for the 3rd and final Test at Kenningston Oval, Barbados. West Indies bounced back in the 2nd test of the series after being defeated in the first test. So the 3rd Test was to be the decider and it was obvious that both teams would go for victory and we are up for a cracker of a Test.
Today was the first day of the decider Test. New Zealand won the toss and the Kiwi captain, Brendon McCullum, opted to bat first keeping in mind the fact that they are not good chasers and will prefer to not bat in the 4th innings of the Test.
Jerome Taylor, who was in quest of his 100th Test wicket, started the proceedings for the Caribbean and Tom Latham and Hamish Rutherford opened the innings for the Kiwis. The Test started with a boundary by Latham in the very first ball of the match. 7 runs were scored from the first over. Kemar Roach came in to bowl from the opposite end. West Indies did manage to tighten up things after the first over went loose enough. West Indies got their first break through in the form of Rutherford in the 3rd over of the innings. Roach brought the Caribbean men the initial breakthrough. Kane Williamson, the man in form for New Zealand came in next and he started to build a partnership with Latham on the other end. But Latham was dismissed very soon by a beauty from Roach and thus the Kiwis lost the 2nd wicket at the score of 28 runs. After the initial setback, Ross Taylor and Williamson somehow managed to stabilize the New Zealand innings and they were heading towards a solid partnership. Ross Taylor was looking solid at the crease and did not play a bad stroke. At lunch, New Zealand were 2 down for 95 runs.
But the second session meant for the West Indies and they dominated the season. It was right in the 3rd over of the 2nd season when Sulieman Benn deceived Williamson by the flight and was caught in the slips by Darren Bravo. It was the much needed breakthrough for the West Indians and New Zealand lost their man in form, Williamson for 43 runs. The skipper, Brendon McCullum came in next and needed to play a long innings. After few overs, West Indies struck in again and this time it was Kemar Roach. He dismissed the well settled Ross Taylor and New Zealand were thus 4 down for 114 and were looking in some sorts of trouble. Jimmy Neesham came in to bat next. McCullum tried to ease the pressure created with a sense of aggression. He started playing aggressively and did hit 5 fantastic boundaries. But he was perhaps over aggressive and had to pay the price. He was dismissed in the 41st over of the innings by Benn. McCullum scored 31 runs off 30 deliveries. Then the wicket keeper, John Watling came in but he even could not stay at the crease for long. His wicket was followed by Tim Southee’s wicket and both of the wickets were being taken by Sulieman Benn. At tea, New Zealand were 217 for the loss of 7 wickets. 5 wickets fell in the 2nd session.
The final session started thus and the Kiwi hopes were lying on Jimmy Neesham who was unbeaten at 56 runs. He was playing really well but did not get much support from the other end. Mark Craig assisted him well in the 3rd session and they were adding valuable runs to the total. But to add to the Kiwis’ mis-fortune there was a misunderstanding at the center and as a result of which Neesham was run out. Neesham scored a well made 78 runs off 91 balls and the Kiwis were thus 258 for the loss of 8 wickets. Craig went on playing well after Neesham’s dismissal. He was assisted well by Wagner and Boult. Finally, Craig remained unbeaten on 46 runs and New Zealand were all-out at the score of 293 runs. Benn was the pick of the bowlers with 5 wickets by conceding 93 runs. Roach managed to take 4 wickets.
Now, with nearly 10 overs left to the day’s play, it was West Indies’ turn. Chris Gayle and Kraigg Braithwatte opened the innings for West Indies. They made a slow and sensible start to the innings. With the aid of some boundaries by Chris Gayle, West Indies reached a score of 32 runs without losing a wicket at stumps.
West Indies, at present hold the upper hand in the game and with the ball turning right from Day 1 of the test, we are into an exciting test match.
New Zealand 1st Innings: 293 (Neesham 78, Benn 5/93); West Indies 1ST Innings: 32/0 (Gayle 18*)