Black Caps in charge against Windies in first test
New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor thinks while the West Indies wrestled back some momentum late on day one of the first test, his side are by far in the better position.
The Black Caps reached stumps at 232-4 in the first test at Antigua, but the skipper wasn't concerned about the slow scoring rate or the late dismissals of himself for 45 or opener and day-one standout Martin Guptill for 97.
Taylor said the nature of the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium wicket meant scoring runs was mostly a slow, difficult process.And while his side only scored at 2.57 runs per over, he was happy because it was only going to get tougher. "I think we're on top," Taylor said. "I'm sure they would have liked to have got a few more wickets. I guess the momentum shifted a little bit with two wickets, myself and Guptill. [And] they would have been a little bit more happy with the day, but I think we're on top and it's going to be a hard batting track on the third and fourth innings so we need to score a lot of runs in this first innings."
New Zealand resume overnight (NZ time) with nightwatchman Neil Wagner - on debut - at the crease on four not out and Kane Williamson on two not out.
Daniel Flynn scored a patient 45 and put on 97 for the first wicket with Guptill and Taylor revealed he was battling a stomach bug throughout his two and a half hour innings and had been throwing up.
Brendon McCullum scored a typically bullish 25.
Taylor said if his side could bat well past the lunch break tomorrow, he expected they'd be in a great position.
West Indies spinner Sunil Narine, in just his second test, finished with three of the West Indies four wickets and looked particularly tough to play later in the day, but Taylor was happy with how his side dealt with Narine on a whole. "If you sit on him, he goes searching," Taylor said. "And he picked up a couple of wickets towards the end there, but I thought the way we played him was very good."
As the wicket was already taking plenty of turn, Taylor predicted Daniel Vettori - playing his New Zealand record 112th test - would play a big part later in the match as would Williamson's offspinners.
"Five out of their top six are left handers," Taylor said. "Not only that, we've got Chris Martin who bowls well to left handers too. But first of all we have to worry about getting a big total on the board."
Martin Guptill blew a golden opportunity to score his third test hundred, getting out slogging in the final minutes of the opening day of the first test in Antigua today.
Guptill, who had batted for 353 minutes before he was caught out on 97 skying a ball in his only false shot of a superb opener's knock.
Guptill and captain Ross Taylor (45) were both dismissed late on day one, but with the pitch already taking plenty of turn and occasionally popping, reaching stumps at 232-4 still marked a good day for New Zealand.
But it could have been so much better.
Guptill and Daniel Flynn put on 97 for the opening wicket before Flynn became Sunil Narine's first test scalp.
Narine, who at times during the Twenty20 and ODI series looked to be toying with the Black Caps' batsmen, appeared to be almost toothless in the first two sessions. A poorly executed shot from Flynn (45) resulted in Narine's only wicket.
But he bowled much slower and fuller late in the day and proved to be a threat. Windies' skipper Darren Sammy refused to take the new ball.
Narine caused all sort of troubles for Taylor, who dragged a ball onto his stumps on 45.
Guptill became Trinidadian's third wicket when, having been trapped in the 90s for a long time, he tried to bring up his third test century with a slog sweep that he skied to Narsingh Deonarine at mid on.
Guptill deserved a hundred, if not more.
He'd been patient, mature and curbed his natural aggressiveness throughout his stay of nearly six hours.
He faced 249 balls and hot 14 fours and a six off Narine.
Instead of trying to dominate the bowlers, Guptill preferred to wait for bad balls and pounced on width or anything that allowed him to play through his favoured mid-on.
When he skied the ball of Narine, in the 87th over, Guptill dropped to his knees, clearly devastated.
He looked a wreck as he slowly made his way off the ground, forcing Kane Williamson to join nightwatchman Neil Wagner - on debut - to face a tricky final minutes as Narine had his tail up.
Earlier, Brendon McCullum was typically bullish at No 3.
His 25, with five fours from 43 balls, included an audacious reverse sweep for four and while he looked in control throughout, his aggression brought about his downfall.
After surviving a review for a close leg before decision, four balls later McCullum blasted a full ball from Kemar Roach in the air to the waiting hands of Deonarine at extra cover.
Williamson will resume in the early hours of tomorrow morning (NZ time) on two not out, Wagner will begin day two of four not out.
D Flynn c Powell b Narine 45
M Guptill c Deaonarine b Narine 97
B McCullum c Deonarine b Roach 25
R Taylor b Narine 45
N Wagner not out 4
K Williamson not out 2
Extras (b 6, lb 1, wd 1, nb 6) 14
Total (for four wickets, 90 overs) 232
Fall of wickets: 97, 133, 223, 228
Bowling: R Rampaul 15-3-34-0,(1wd), K Roach 15-4-46-1 (5nb), D Sammy 18-6-43-0, S Narine 28-7-73-3 (1nb), M Samuels 6-2-14-0, A Fudadin 5-1-11-0, N Deonarine 3-1-4-0.
West Indies: Darren Sammy (captain), Chris Gayle, Kieran Powell, Assad Fudadin, Marlon Samuels, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Denesh Ramdin, Sunil Narine, Kemar Roach, Ravi Rampaul.
New Zealand: Ross Taylor (captain), Martin Guptill, Daniel Flynn, Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson, Dean Brownlie, Kruger van Wyk, Daniel Vettori, Doug Bracewell, Neil Wagner, Chris Martin.
- Stuff, AP