Familiar feel as Black Caps fail to close out

22:36, Dec 06 2013
Black Caps v West Indies - first test
Ross Taylor slashes a shot through point.
Black Caps v West Indies - first test
Tino Best appeals for the wicket of Peter Fulton.
Black Caps v West Indies - first test
Hamish Rutherford scored a free-flowing half century in the opening session.
Black Caps v West Indies - first test
Team captains Brendon McCullum and Darren Sammy shakes hands at the toss.
Black Caps v West Indies - first test
Peter Fulton plays a shot into the offside.
Black Caps v West Indies - first test
Brendon McCullum plays a shot through the offside.
Black Caps v West Indies - first test
Brendon McCullum acknowledges the crowd after scoring a test century for the Black Caps.
Black Caps vs West Indies - first test
Ross Taylor takes the plaudits of the crowd after scoring his double century.
Black Caps vs West Indies - first test
Ross Taylor flicks the ball away on his way to a double century.
Trent Boult
Trent Boult
Trent Boult
Fans on the bank during Day 2.
Trent Boult
Black Cap Tim Southee celebrates the wicket of Kieran Powell.
Trent Boult
West Indies' Shane Shillingford bowls.
Trent Boult
Black Cap Ross Taylor bats.
Trent Boult
Black Cap Brendon McCullum fields.
Tim Southee gallery
Tim Southee appeals unsuccessfully for a LBW decision on Narsingh Deonarine.
Tim Southee gallery
Shivnarine Chanderpaul looks to the sky after his half century.
Darren Bravo gallery
Darren Bravo celebrates his century.
Darren Bravo gallery
Darren Bravo walks off after being dismissed by Trent Boult on day five.
Darren Bravo gallery
Shane Shillingford drives the ball away for four runs.
Darren Bravo gallery
And Bravo's out.
Darren Bravo gallery
Peter Fulton dismissed.
Darren Bravo gallery
Darren Sammy of the West Indies celebrates taking the wicket of Peter Fulton.
Darren Bravo gallery
Fulton works the ball away for four runs.
University Oval
The covers dominate at a wet University Oval.
Mike Hesson
A dejected Black Caps coach Mike Hesson looks skyward in the hopes the rain will stop.
Brendon McCullum
Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum was left ruing a test win that got away from his side in Dunedin.

An eerie sense of déjà vu descended on University Oval as New Zealand bowlers kicked at the turf and watched their deliveries race to the boundary yesterday.

Just nine months earlier, a similarly dead Dunedin pitch and five hours of stubborn resistance from England batting bunny Steven Finn foiled their push for victory after a dominant opening two days.

New Zealand remain heavy favourites entering the final day of the first test against West Indies today, with the tourists just 47 runs ahead and four wickets standing in their follow-on. But with record-breaker Darren Bravo (210 not out) in full flight, the weary hosts entering their seventh consecutive session in the field and afternoon showers threatening, it's not game over yet with the West Indies 443-6. Safety will be theirs if they bat till tea.

Tim Southee
TENSE: Can the Black Caps, including Tim Southee, keep their feet and not fall at the last hurdle in their quest to win the first test against the West Indies?

''The boys are still in pretty good spirits. On the scoreboard we still are on top and test cricket's not an easy game. I'm in my third test and I'm finding that out already,'' said young legspinner Ish Sodhi, who wheeled down 41 overs in the second innings to take 2-130.

The New Zealand team desperately need this victory for their mental states. Nine winless tests in 2013, including those from dominant positions at Dunedin, Auckland and Lord's, only reinforced the theory about this team being promising but lacking the killer punch as they languish eighth in the world.

It showed again yesterday when they dropped three catches, including Bravo on 82 when Neil Wagner couldn't grab a chest-high return chance.

Advertisement

And the tourists suddenly have a spring in their legs, with skipper Darren Sammy defying a gluteal injury to reach 40 not out at stumps. Bravo, whose cousin is master batsman Brian Lara, became the seventh test cricketer to score a double-century with his side following on. Interestingly, the other six all helped their sides avoid defeat, the most recent VVS Laxman against Australia in 2001 when India pulled off a miracle victory.

At stumps the left-handed Trinidadian, often mirroring the style of his flamboyant cousin, had batted over nine hours and faced 404 balls for his fifth test century and highest test score, beating his 195 against Bangladesh.

Earlier as the morning sun shone and temperatures reached the mid-20s, it looked a four-day victory for New Zealand.

Tim Southee removed Marlon Samuels caught and bowled for his fifth wicket of the match then Wagner trapped dangerman Shivnarine Chanderpaul lbw for one with a beauty that angled in and was clipping leg stump.

At 185-4, the tourists trailed by over 200 and with Chanderpaul gone and the new ball around thentsGnnte corner it seemed elementary.

The wobbles began when captain Brendon McCullum pounced and threw to the wrong end with Bravo well short on 76. Then Wagner shelled his chance and Narsingh Deonarine, hardly a world-class Noth6, was handed lives on 38 and 41. Southee put down a tough low return chance then McCullum bobbled one that was smashed at his midriff at short cover.

It was a tough day for the skipper who watched his bowlers toil away but struggle to wring any life from the surface, even with the second new ball. He posted four catchers in front of square and hoped for a false shot with the ball holding up.

Then, nursing a bad back already, he launched himself to try and stop one of Bravo's 30 boundaries and smashed into the hoardings. He limped away and required treatment to a rapidly swelling knee. The pain only got worse for his team-mates.

Southee and Trent Boult couldn't weave their first innings magic with the second new ball and will sleep well after bowling 42 and 46 overs respectively in back-to-back innings. The 21-year-old Sodhi looked likely at times on a slowly wearing pitch and bowled some magical deliveries including a googly to skittle Denesh Ramdin.

''The wicket's pretty flat and the boys put in 110 per cent all day and you can't question them on that. There's frustration naturally because the chances didn't go to hand or just landed quite close,'' Sodhi said

Stuff