Black Caps save the best for last

Brendon McCullum with the ANZ series trophy after the Black Caps beat the West Indies in the third test to claim the series.
Brendon McCullum with the ANZ series trophy after the Black Caps beat the West Indies in the third test to claim the series.

Delighted New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum rated his team's third test win as the best in a dominant series display from his side.

The Black Caps completed a 2-0 series win over the West Indies in Hamilton today when they won the final test by eight wickets shortly after lunch.

Opener Hamish Rutherford drove the winning runs through cover to finish unbeaten on 48 while man-of-the-series Ross Taylor was two not out as the hosts reached 124-2 chasing 122 for victory on day four at Seddon Park.

"I think that was the best out of the three for the series because it was such tough examination from [West Indies off-spinner] Sunil [Narine] in particular," McCullum said.

"That probably gave us a little bit of momentum and some belief we were in the game and that if we could put them under some pressure with the ball that we would be able to give ourselves a smallish chase but didn't envisage chasing down 120."

New Zealand swayed the test match inexorably their way in the last session on day three, dismissing the West Indies for just 103 after the tourists eked out a first innings lead of 18.

Even McCullum admitted surprise at how quickly New Zealand got on top, when it looked likely they would face a testing fourth innings examination from the wily Narine.

"I certainly didn't expect it to end so quickly but I'm incredibly pleased with our effort." McCullum said.

"First of all with the bat - in hindsight we should have batted first, we misread the wicket, and obviously when we saw it turning and bouncing there was a bit of concern there. Thankfully we able to get as close to their score as we did with Ross [Taylor] playing another world-class innings."

Taylor made his third century in as many tests yesterday and ended the series with 495 runs at an average of 247.50 as New Zealand dominated the tourists with bat and ball for the majority of the series, being denied a clean sweep by rain late on day five of the first test in Dunedin.

Windies captain Darren Sammy said disappointment was his chief emotion, ahead of anger at some lacklustre play from his team.

"I don't get angry too often I have good control over my emotions," Sammy said.

"To sum it up, maybe the coach is angry but it's quite disappointing coming from India, the fight we had in Dunedin followed by steps back in Wellington.

"We came here to good batting conditions, that's not a 103-run pitch but credit to McCullum and his boys, they had a plan for every batsman and the way their bowlers bowled out under pressure we didn't have a response.

"The batting unit needed partnerships, and we were unable to do that, I don't know what it is, in the end it's up to us as batsmen to get the necessary runs, even if they're ugly."

The two sides will now contest a one-day and Twenty20 series. McCullum already has reason to look ahead to what may be two defining tests against the touring Indians in February, but didn't want his troops to get ahead of themselves.

 "It's early days - we have some guys who are hungry to perform on the world stage and match themselves up against the best players rather than just being the best in NZ," he said.

"It's early stages for the team and some of those guys, Ross excepted - if he was to retire now he'd go down as one of our all-time greats - and I said we should enjoy the ability to watch a guy like that who will go down as one of our greats. The other guys, give them time, but they have the makings.

"We are ranking No 8 for a reason. We've come out in this series, in our own conditions, granted, and performed well against as side ranked two places higher than us.

"That's a very good effort. India is ranked higher than that again and we expect them to come and deliver a performance worthy of their ranking. It will be tough for us, we know we have to get better and that's what we strive for. India will play down a different challenge.

"We've played good cricket for a while at home.

"That's a good starting point to build one. Away from home we've still got a lot of work to do, don't get me wrong, but at home we are starting to get consistent.

"We could have won 3-0, but we'll take 2-0 and enjoy a quiet beer."

Fairfax Media