A superb century from Marlon Samuels could not prevent West Indies from surrendering a first-innings lead to New Zealand on day two of the second Test at Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica, today.
Having bowled their opponents out for 260 to seemingly take control of the match the West Indies returned to their brittle batting ways and could only muster 209 in reply, despite Samuels’ majestic knock of 123 off 169 deliveries.
Instead the Black Caps bowled themselves back into contention in the series thanks to the efforts of their four-pronged seam attack, with Trent Boult and Doug Bracewell both picking up three wickets apiece.
By the close of play the tourists had reached 59-2 in their second innings, holding a useful advantage of 110 with Brendon McCullum and night watchman Neil Wagner at the crease.
It was left-armer Boult who gave them the perfect start to the day, dismissing Kieran Powell before he had added to his overnight total of 10 and then trapping Assad Fudadin lbw playing across the line of the ball for five, despite the batsman attempting to get the decision overturned by using up a review.
An uncharacteristically subdued Chris Gayle dropped anchor during the early carnage, managing just eight runs from 55 balls in 106 minutes at the crease before Neil Wagner got a delivery that bounced more than the opener expected, resulting in a catch looping to BJ Watling at point.
An out-of-sorts Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who was dismissed for a first-ball duck in the Antigua Test, managed just nine before he was caught by captain Ross Taylor off Tim Southee. And when Narsingh Deonarine failed to trouble the scorers, caught at the wicket off Bolt, West Indies found themselves five down with just 83 runs on the board.
However Samuels led a lower-order fightback to at least get them beyond 200, firstly playing second fiddle in a stand of 49 with skipper Darren Sammy (32) before blossoming with the tail for company.
The right-hander blasted four sixes as he opened his shoulders after bringing up the fourth Test ton of his career, launching three of his four sixes off the bowling of Southee (2-70).
He was the final wicket to go down in the innings, the impressive Bracewell getting him caught acrobatically by Wagner out on the point boundary as he tried to clear the ropes once again.
New Zealand’s opening pair of Martin Guptill and Watling played fluently against the opening salvo from Kemar Roach and Tino Best, with Guptill in particular looking in excellent touch on the drive.
Watling was given a life in Roach’s fourth over when Powell put down a regulation catch at third slip with the score on 30 and Watling on 3. However, both fell lbw to Deonarine playing back before the close, giving the West Indies a welcome boost heading into day three but with the knowledge that the Kiwis have a definite edge on a deteriorating pitch.