BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Speedster Kemar Roach captured his 100th Test wicket but Kane Williamson’s career-best century and then torrential rain, spoiled West Indies chances of winning the decisive third Test at Kensington Oval here yesterday. When the adverse weather ended play prematurely at 4:51 pm on the fourth day, New Zealand had reached a formidable 331 for seven in their second innings – a lead of already 307 heading into today’s final day.
The rain, which first came at 1:48 pm and then allowed just 26 balls following a 4:30 pm restart, robbed the game of a precious 42.5 overs.
Williamson, who began the day on 58, finished on a superb, unbeaten 161, an innings that formed the bedrock of the New Zealand innings and seems likely to ensure them at least a share of the series.
The 23-year-old right-hander hardly put a foot wrong as he faced 271 balls in just under 6-1/2 hours at the crease, and stroked 22 fours.
Along the way, he extended his overnight fourth wicket stand to 67 with captain Brendon McCullum who scored 25, added a further 91 for the fifth wicket with Jimmy Neesham who belted an attacking 51 and then also posted 79 for the sixth wicket with BJ Watling who hit 29.
It was the wicket of Watling, caught at gully by Jason Holder 45 minutes after lunch, which gave Roach the 100th scalp of his 26-Test career.
He was the best Windies best bowler with four for 55 while debutant fast bowler Jason Holder has claimed two for 26.
Resuming the day on 123 for three, New Zealand gathered runs quickly as Williamson showed his intent from as early as the third ball of the day, lofting off-spinner Shane Shillingford wide of long on for four and then cutting the first ball of Roach’s next over to the point boundary.
McCullum, however, added just two to his overnight 23 before falling lbw to Roach in the day’s fourth over, trapped on the crease by a delivery that came back. He consulted DRS in vain. Neesham’s arrival increased the scoring rate, the left-hander belting three fours and four sixes off just 67 balls in an hour-and-a-half at the crease. He took a liking to the toothless Shillingford – unable to fire his lethal doosra because of the ICC restrictions – lofting him onto the media centre at the southern end in the day’s seventh over and then clearing the ropes and wide long on in the bowler’s next over.
When seamer Jerome Taylor was introduced, Neesham struck him for a flat six over long on and then smashed left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn over the ropes at mid-wicket off the first ball following the water break.
Williamson, meanwhile, edged seamer Jason Holder to third man to move to 97 before reaching his seventh century with a couple behind point off Benn, 50 minutes before lunch.
Neesham followed him soon after, driving Holder for two to reach his half-century but then fell off the very next ball, smashing a full-blooded drive into the lap of Kraigg Brathwaite at a very short cover, with the score on 226 for five.
Any hopes the Windies had of making further inroads were quickly erased as Williamson and Watling stood firm in another half-century stand that proved a source of frustration.
With Williamson picking off boundaries at will, Watling held up the other end for nearly an hour-and-a-half, before falling in the second over with the second new ball, slashing at Roach at 305 for six.
Williamson equaled his previous career-best of 135 with a boundary to third man off Benn before steering Taylor through gully for another to raise his 150.
Southee, dropped by Benn at slip off Roach before he had scored, hung around half-hour for seven before tapping a tame return catch back to Taylor, 20 minutes after the rain break.
Only five more deliveries were possible before rain put paid to any more hopes of play.
NEW ZEALAND 1st Innings 293
WEST INDIES 1st Innings 317
NEW ZEALAND 2nd Innings
(overnight 123 for three)
T Latham c Shillingford b Roach 0
H Rutherford c wkp Ramdin b Roach 19
K Williamson not out 161
R Taylor c Bravo b Holder 6
*B McCullum lbw b Roach 25
J Neesham c Brathwaite b Holder 51
+BJ Watling c Holder b Roach 29
T Southee c & b Taylor 7
M Craig not out 4
Extras (b20, lb1, w7, nb1) 29
TOTAL (7 wkts, 89.1 overs) 331
Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Latham), 2-56 (Rutherford), 3-68 (Taylor), 4-135 (McCullum), 5-226 (Neesham), 6-305 (Watling), 7-327 (Southee)
Bowling: Taylor 16-4-54-1 (w1), Roach 19.1-4-55-4 (w1), Benn 26-1-94-0 (nb1), Holder 10-2-26-2 (w1), Shillingford 18-2-81-0.
Position: New Zealand lead by 307 runs.
Toss: New Zealand.
Umpires: Ian Gould, Richard Illingworth; TV – Rod Tucker.