Black Caps' tour of misery continues

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 31/07/2012
kruger van wyk
Photosport
FIGHTING BACK: Black Caps wicketkeeper-batsman Kruger van Wyk executes a pull shot during the first test against the West Indies at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

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The scoreboard condemns the Black Caps more roundly than any journalist could.

Charged with batting for the bulk of yesterday's final day of their first test against the West Indies in Antigua, New Zealand's players failed their task miserably.

Resuming at 199-3, the Black Caps lost seven wickets for 73 runs on the final day to be bowled out for 272 almost an hour before tea. That left the West Indies needing 102 to win, which they knocked off in 19.3 overs, for the loss of only one wicket.

The series now moves to Jamaica, for the second and final test, starting at 3am on Friday.

New Zealand have now lost both Twenty20 matches, four of the five one-day internationals and the first test of a tour which will mark the end of John Wright's reign as coach. For a man who has given so much of his life to improving New Zealand cricket's lot, it's an awful way to bow out.

"Quite frankly, we can't allow ourselves to get a little bit sulky or get a little bit down," wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk said.

"Tomorrow morning the sun will come out - I'm pretty sure about that - and we've just got to move on and get a little bit better and play better in Jamaica."

Batting, bowling and fielding let New Zealand down, van Wyk said, which doesn't leave a lot that went well.

The Black Caps had their chances, principally with the bat. But where Windies opener Chris Gayle took his - compiling a match double of 150 and 64 not out - New Zealand's batsmen couldn't convert good starts into game-changing innings of substance.

Martin Guptill, with a first innings of 97, was the Black Caps' highest individual scorer but "nerves got to him", van Wyk said.

"You've got to be the guy who wants to score the hundred and when you get into that position you've got to be so hard on yourself that you must be the guy to do it."

With the ball, New Zealand never put any great pressure upon the Windies or generated the same assistance from the uneven Sir Vivian Richards Stadium pitch.

"Especially with the second new ball, the Windies [bowlers] hit the wicket pretty hard. There was variable bounce in that wicket and they seemed to extract it a little bit more than we did," van Wyk said.

He wasn't sure why but said New Zealand needed to learn from what the Windies did and be "smarter" at Sabina Park.

"The only thing we can do is really look hard at ourselves, fight unbelievably hard come the next test in Jamaica and be so keen to get a good result there."

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- Wellington

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