Black Caps need to break run of outs at Hamilton

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 17/12/2013

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The Black Caps will need to reverse a worrying trend in Hamilton this week to secure a test series victory over the West Indies.

While they narrowly hold the upper hand overall in the 19 tests played at the Seddon Park venue since February 1991, with seven wins, six defeats six draws, recent history has not been kind.

The past three tests have been won in dominant fashion by the visitors. In March 2010, Australia won by 176 runs, Pakistan beat NZ by 10 wickets in January 2011 and in the most recent Hamilton test, South Africa saw off the Black Caps with nine wickets in hand.

The West Indies have played one test at the venue, a remarkable encounter just before Christmas in 1999.

The visitors won the toss, elected to bat and proceeded to seemingly bat the New Zealand side into the ground. Openers Adrian Griffith (114) and Sherwin Campbell (170) put on 276 for the first wicket, and the Windies went to stumps on day one at 282 for one.

The following day, their team-mates crumbled as the Windies were dismissed for 365 and New Zealand replied with 393. Chris Cairns then destroyed the visitors in their second innings, taking 7-27 as the Windies were rolled for 97, and NZ chased down a meagre wining target of 70 with the loss of just opener Gary Stead.

The preferred method for the captain that wins the toss in Hamilton is to insert the opposition - that's happened in 13 of the 19 tests. But it hasn't been a clear recipe for success. Only seven of the 13 victories at the ground have gone to the team that fielded first.

Black Caps opener Peter Fulton wouldn't be surprised if, for the third time in as many tests in this series, the team that loses the toss is put in to bat.

"I'd expect there's going to be a bit of grass on it - there normally is," Fulton said of the Seddon Pak wicket.

"But there has been with the previous two but they haven't done as much as we thought. From our point of view we'd like more of the same, with a little bit of movement there for the seamers.

"If you can get through that, as we've seen in Dunedin and Wellington, we've been able to get through that first three or four hours and then cash in later on."

The New Zealand side enjoyed a couple of days off at the weekend after beating the West Indies in three days at the Basin Reserve.

"The bowlers were pretty grateful for that break, they've had a pretty big workload over the previous week," Fulton said of the unexpected hiatus in the series.

"When we enforced the follow-on, especially with what happened down in Dunedin, I think we all expected it to be a lot tougher and longer slog than what it turned out to be."

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While many had predicted the Windies were heading to Wellington with momentum over they turned what seemed like an inevitable defeat in Dunedin into the chance of an unlikely win before rain produced a draw, Fulton always felt his side was well poised ahead of the second test.

"While we were bitterly disappointed not to get the win in Dunedin, I think we took a lot of positives out of it.

"In the back of our minds, we knew with the wicket in Wellington offering a bit more pace and bounce than what it did in Dunedin, we always thought we could put them under some pressure and find it a bit easier to get the 20 wickets.

"But it happened a little bit quicker than what everyone had hoped for."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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