Black Caps skittle West Indies for test win

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 11:37 12/06/2014
Mark Craig
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JUBILATION: Debutant Black Caps spinner Mark Craig celebrates taking the wicket of Kieran Powell.
Mark Craig
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THE ACTION: Mark Craig bowls right-arm off-break.
BJ Watling
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BJ Watling takes a sharp catch to dismiss Jerome Taylor on day four.

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Demolition complete. After a remarkable final wicket assault by the West Indies' tailenders, New Zealand finally polished off a deserved victory, by 186 runs inside four days in the first cricket test at Kingston, Jamaica.

Led by off-spinner Mark Craig's eight-wicket haul, the best by a New Zealand bowler on debut, the tourists dismissed West Indies for 216 in the day's final over as they chased an unlikely 403 at spin-friendly Sabina Park.

At one stage the test looked destined to head into day five when No 11 Shane Shillingford smashed the second-fastest test half-century off 25 balls, one delivery shy of Jacques Kallis' world record.

He was unbeaten on 53, including five sixes, when Sulieman Benn was nicked out by Kane Williamson for 25, ending a 10th wicket stand of 82, which was a record for West Indies against New Zealand.

Craig suffered some late punishment to end with 4-97 off 15 and give him 8-188 for the match. That topped the team spin coach Paul Wiseman's record debut haul of 7-143 at Colombo in 1998.

"It's fair to say it's a bit of a dream. I'm on top of the world and pretty speechless at the moment," Craig said.

Senior paceman Tim Southee pierced the heart of the West Indies' batting in both innings, ending with 6-51 for the match in a standout display of fast bowling on a slow pitch where the pacemen struggled.

It was a breakthrough victory for the Black Caps, who'd climbed to sixth in the world with home series victories over West Indies and India in the summer, but still had questions to answer away from home.

This was their first offshore victory since November 2012, when they beat Sri Lanka in Colombo in Ross Taylor's final test as skipper.

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum hailed the performance as the Black Caps secured their second test win in the Caribbean, after Barbados in 2002.

"At the start of the day I thought if we had to come back tomorrow and get four or five wickets then it would be a pretty good day for us,'' McCullum said.

''They put a lot of pressure on us at the end, but overall it was a brilliant test match from us, we were under pressure early on that second morning and the way that BJ Watling and Jimmy Neesham put together that partnership really set us up.

"Twenty wickets is tough to get on those sorts of surfaces, but they [bowlers] were brilliant in this test.

"We'll enjoy tonight, it doesn't come around all the time and it's only our second win in the Caribbean and we've seen some very good New Zealand teams come over here as well."

Few saw such a one-sided test on the horizon. West Indies were expected to be formidable foes on home soil, but they were largely awful, their batting again as flaky as it was in New Zealand in December when the Black Caps cantered to a 2-0 series win.

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Fast-forward to Sabina Park today and batting time in a test match seemed beyond them and New Zealand never let up in the field.

The tourists were now short-priced favourites to clinch the three-test series, which moved to Trinidad on Tuesday (NZT), and repeat their breakthrough 1-0 series victory in the Caribbean in 2002.

Earlier today, West Indies openers Chris Gayle and Kieran Powell strode out with a daunting task. Only once had West Indies successfully chased more than 350 to win a test, 418-7 against Australia in Antigua in 2003.

At Sabina Park the highest successful test chase was only 212-3 by the hosts against Sri Lanka, again in 2003.

Gayle has struggled this test with back injury and never seemed his dominant self in what was meant to be a big celebration for his 100th test on his home ground.

He passed 7000 runs in scoring 10 today, but soon departed when Southee fired up for a second successive innings.

The world's eighth-ranked test bowler was straight into his work after his first innings 4-19, striking twice in the space of six deliveries to rock the home side.

The trap snared Powell (0), who clipped a full delivery straight to Tom Latham at short mid-wicket, then Gayle was removed by a delivery on an impeccable off stump line that found the edge.

Craig then continued where he left off from his first innings 4-91, the ball turning and bouncing with venom, a welcome change from the docile New Zealand surfaces that break spinners' hearts.

He struck with his second ball, removing Kirk Edwards, then produced another one-two punch to dismiss Darren Bravo and the clueless Marlon Samuels within three balls.

Bravo got a classic off-spinner's delivery which he lunged and edged, then Samuels completed a pair to a diving one-handed Latham grab at short leg.

The ageless Shivnarine Chanderpaul again stood as the hosts' last hope, but legspinner Ish Sodhi stood up to claim the prized scalp.

Chanderpaul (24) offered no shot and umpire Rod Tucker gave him lbw, the batsman challenged, but replays showed the ball clipping the top of the stumps and the call stood, just.

At 76-6 it was game over and a four-day test was a reality, as Sodhi warmed to his task to help mop up the tail.

New Zealand wobbled in their second bat but they had runs in the bank from a disciplined first innings to avert any alarm, eventually declaring at 156-8.

Opener Tom Latham, in his second test, joined Craig and centurion Jimmy Neesham as the rookie success stories from Sabina.

Fresh off a gritty 83 in the first innings, Latham ticked over 500 minutes at the crease for the match in his second innings 73.

With Peter Fulton's spot under serious scrutiny, Latham stood up and booked his spot for the long haul to avert one top-order headache.

There were some anxious glances when New Zealand slumped to 14-4 early on day four, when paceman Jerome Taylor removed night watchman Sodhi then key batsman Ross Taylor lbw first ball.

With cameo assistance from McCullum, Neesham and BJ Watling, Latham guided the lead towards 400 then allowed himself a charge down the pitch to end his 181-ball knock.

With the declaration imminent, Craig chalked up another milestone facing his first ball in test cricket. The left-hander strode down the pitch and clouted spinner Benn into the stands.

- Stuff

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