HAMILTON, New Zealand – West Indies were sliding to defeat at lunch on the penultimate day of the second Test against New Zealand, after losing three wickets in the opening session at Seddon Park today.
Resuming from their overnight 30 for two, the Windies lost captain Kraigg Brathwaite (20), Shai Hope (23) and wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich (0), to slip to 106 for five in their second innings at the first interval.
Roston Chase was carrying the right for West Indies with an unbeaten 32 and was partnered by by deutant left-hander Raymon Reifer on nine.
Set a world record target of 444 runs the previous evening, the Windies still require a further 338 with only five wickets intact.
Doubt also hovered over the fitness of Sunil Ambris after he was forced to retire hurt on five and sent to hospital for scans, after being struck on the arm by aggressive left-arm pacer Neil Wagner.
On Monday, opener Kieran Powell completed a ‘pair’ to leave the Caribbean side in dire straits after Ross Taylor’s 17th Test hundred put New Zealand in a near invincible position to make a clean sweep of the series.
Resuming the third day on 215 for eight in their first innings, West Indies added just six runs before being dismissed for 221, to concede a lead of 152 runs.
The Black Caps then scored at a decent clip to declare at 291 for eight in their second innings, with the outstanding Taylor gathering an unbeaten 107 to join the illustrious Martin Crowe and current captain Kane Williamson at the top of the century-maker’s list for his country.
Left with 40 minutes before close, the Windies lost the left-handed Powell without scoring for the second time in the match when he was squared up by left-arm seamer Trent Boult and caught low down at third slip by Tim Southee.
And left-hander Shimron Hetmyer stroked three fours in a run-a-ball 15 before becoming the second casualty in the day’s penultimate over, loosely driving pacer Southee to Wagner at short extra cover.
Brathwaite was unbeaten on 13 at the close along with Shai Hope on one.
Ironically, the record for the highest run chase is held by West Indies, achieved 14 years ago against Australia in Antigua.
Earlier, New Zealand needed just 17 deliveries to finish off the Windies first innings, with Boult bowling both Miguel Cummins (15) and Shannon Gabriel in successive deliveries, to end with four for 73.
Tim Southee (2-34), Colin de Grandhomme (2-40) and Neil Wagner (2-73) all supported with three wickets each.
West Indies then struck early when fast bowler Cummins, who finished with three for 69, removed Jeet Raval for four in the eighth over with 11 on the board, as the left-hander bungled a pull and gave the bowler a return catch.
However, captain Williamson then took the Windies’ momentum away with an urgent 54, anchoring two small stands to lift the Black Caps to 96 for two at lunch.
The right-handed Williamson faced 64 balls and struck eight fours, adding 31 for the second wicket with opener Tom Latham (22) and a further 58 for the third with Taylor.
Cummins broke the stand in the second over after the interval, shattering Williamson’s stumps with a searing yorker before removing Henry Nicholls cheaply for five, but any hopes of engineering a New Zealand collapse were quickly scuppered as Taylor took control of the innings.
Dropped on 35 by Hope at gully off Gabriel, Taylor made the most of his luck to reach his half-century off 119 balls before gathering his second fifty off a mere 53 balls, with a lovely punch down the ground for four off left-arm seamer Raymon Reifer.
All told, Taylor faced 198 balls and struck 11 fours.