PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Rookie Jermaine Blackwood struck a half-century on debut while veteran left-hander Shiv Chanderpaul achieved another personal milestone, as West Indies batted themselves into a commanding position on the third day of the second Test against New Zealand here yesterday.
Jamaican Blackwood stroked an attractive 63 and Chanderpaul, 47, two innings that allowed West Indies to pile up 460 all out in response to the Black Caps’ 221, and take a lead of 239 runs on first innings.
At the close at Queen’s Park Oval, however, New Zealand were making a fist of it at 73 for one, requiring a further 166 runs to make the hosts bat again.
At the forefront of the battle were the unflappable pair of Kane Williamson, unbeaten on 38, and left-handed opener Tom Latham who was 30 not out.
They have so far added 64 for the second wicket, a partnership that was necessary after fast bowler Jerome Taylor trapped captain Brendon McCullum lbw for three, just ten balls after the resumption from tea.
Williamson has faced 118 balls and struck five fours while Latham, who has scored three half-centuries in the series, has counted four fours off 112 deliveries.
However, it was the West Indies batsmen who took precedence on the day, lifting their side to imposing total after resuming from their overnight 310 for five.
Blackwood anchored two partnerships, adding 47 with Chanderpaul for the seventh wicket before putting on a further 76 with captain Denesh Ramdin (34) for the eighth, as the Windies pressed home their advantage.
In the process, Chanderpaul almost unnoticed moved into seventh spot on the all-time list of run-scorers in Tests, surpassing Sri Lankan stroke-maker Kumar Sangakkara.
The 39-year-old, in his 155th Test, now has 11 374 runs and is slowly closing in on Brian Lara’s West Indies record of 11 953 runs.
West Indies lost nightwatchman Kemar Roach about 40 minutes into the session, caught at mid-wicket by Jimmy Neesham off left-arm seamer Trent Boult for six, with 23 runs added.
On four not out overnight, Chanderpaul started positively with a cover drive for four off Boult in the day’s fourth over before pulling the first ball of off-spinner Mark Craig’s opening spell to the square boundary.
He cleared long on with Craig for his only six and when he reached 32 with a single to the deep in the bowler’s next over, he overtook Sangakkara in seventh spot on the all-time list.
Chanderpaul took two successive fours off leg-spinner Ish Sodhi before falling lbw on review to the same bowler, in the fourth over before lunch. He faced 93 balls in 158 minutes, and struck five fours and a six.
Blackwood, meanwhile, played with the same freedom that has characterized his excellent form in recent weeks, crunching six fours and two sixes, in an innings spanning 146 minutes and 110 deliveries.
The right-hander got off the mark with a streaky boundary through slip off Boult but then lofted the bowler effortlessly over long on for six, a few balls later in the same over.
Dropped on 11 at short leg by Latham off Craig, Blackwood pressed on unperturbed, nailing one from Sodhi over long off as lunch approached.
Resuming on 31 at lunch with West Indies on 396 for seven, Blackwood made the most of a reprieve when he reached 34, in the fourth over on resumption. He missed a pull at slow bowler Williamson, and was adjudged lbw. However, he reviewed the decision and replays showed the ball was missing the stumps.
He celebrated his good fortune by crashing the first ball of the next over from Boult to the cover boundary which also raised the 200-run lead for the Windies, before also lifting seamer Tim Southee over extra cover for another four.
Blackwood raised his half-century with a single through square on the on-side off Williamson but eventually perished when he nicked Sodhi to Ross Taylor at slip.
Ramdin, who raised the curtain on the session with three consecutive fours off Boult, faced 67 balls and struck four fours, but followed Blackwood in the next over, edging medium pacer Neesham for Taylor to take a brilliant diving, two-handed catch at slip, leaving the Windies on 460 for nine.
With no runs added, Jerome Taylor holed out to long off with Sodhi for four.
Sodhi was the best bowler with four for 96 while Boult picked up three for 75.