Defiant Bravo leads West Indies resistance

MARK GEENTY IN DUNEDIN
Last updated 17:57 06/12/2013
Mike Hesson
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A dejected Black Caps coach Mike Hesson looks skyward in the hopes the rain will stop.
Neil Wagner
WAGNER STRIKES: New Zealand claimed the big wicket of Shivnarine Chanderpaul as they closed in on a test win.

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West Indies batsman Darren Bravo plundered his highest test score as the tourists sent the first cricket test into a final day with a fighting display against New Zealand in Dunedin.

Bravo joined his cousin, Brian Lara, as the 26th West Indies player to score a test double century as the tourists reached 443-6 at stumps on a day of frustration for New Zealand. He was 210 not out, with captain Darren Sammy defiant on 40 as the pair added an unbroken 80-run stand.

It gave West Indies an overall lead of 47 after being asked to follow on, and will ensure some anxious moments at the New Zealand team hotel tonight with showers forecast for Dunedin tomorrow afternoon after a week of brilliant weather.

After nine winless tests in 2013 the team badly need this confidence-booster, especially after they dominated the first two-and-a-half days when racking up 609-9 declared then skittling the tourists for 213.

Bravo began the day on 72, with his team still trailing by 228, and relished the flat, docile University Oval pitch and warm sun as New Zealand's frustration grew.

The left-hander from Trinidad showed more than a trace of his famous cousin's batting style, thrashing full deliveries through the off side with an exaggerated backlift as he notched his fifth test century. His previous best was 195 against Bangladesh in Dhaka in 2011 and he passed that late in the day. 

With six overs remaining, he edged Ish Sodhi for two to bring up his double century off 390 balls in just on nine hours, punching the air with delight and getting an embrace from his skipper.

Bravo also received a leg up in poor day for New Zealand in the field as they shelled three catches. He was dropped on 82 when Neil Wagner couldn't grab a return chance at chest height. Narsingh Deonarine, who scored 52 and added 122 with Bravo, also had lives on 38 and 41. 

Tim Southee put down a tough low return catch then captain Brendon McCullum bobbled one that was smashed at him at short cover, off Southee.

The bowlers got very little from the pitch, even when the second new ball was taken.

Sodhi provided the high point when he bowled gloveman Denesh Ramdin with a googly for 24. He bowled 41 overs in the innings and ended with figures of 2-130.

Earlier it seemed New Zealand would canter to victory after Southee (1-90) removed Marlon Samuels caught and bowled for 12, then Wagner (1-96) claimed the big wicket of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, lbw for one. 

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