(Reuters) – West Indies were struggling to save the first test against New Zealand after lurching to 37 for one in their second innings, still 359 runs from making the hosts bat again, at tea on the third day in Dunedin last night.
Kirk Edwards was on 12, while Darren Bravo had made 10 after Trent Boult captured the wicket of Kieran Powell, well caught by pace bowler Tim Southee at third slip for 14.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum had enforced the follow on after the tourists were dismissed for 213 as they chased the 609 for nine declared the hosts posted on the back of Ross Taylor’s 217 not out.
The day’s play had begun under a cloud with the news that the International Cricket Council was investigating three former New Zealand players for match-fixing, although the current crop of players failed to allow that to distract them.
Boult produced a fiery spell after lunch to capture wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin for 12 and then Shivnarine Chanderpaul for 76 in his next over.
Captain Darren Sammy produced a rearguard 27 not out despite being severely hampered by a hamstring injury he sustained while bowling.
Chanderpaul was the key to the innings and he passed 11,000 career runs before lunch when he belted Neil Wagner to the boundary to reach 37.
The 39-year-old left-hander, however, offered no shot to a Boult delivery that straightened on him and was given out leg before by umpire Paul Reiffel.
Chanderpaul reviewed the decision but tracking technology showed the ball would have clipped the top of the stumps and he had to trudge off.
Leg spinner Ish Sodhi, who had been punished by Chanderpaul, then foxed Shane Shillingford with a wrong ‘un and bowled the big West Indian spinner for nine.
Tino Best was then run out attempting a second run when Sammy was hobbling down the pitch before Sodhi hit Shannon Gabriel on the foot and was given the lbw decision.
The visitors had resumed after lunch on 159 for five after Southee had captured the wickets of Bravo (40), Marlon Samuels (14) and Narsingh Deonarine (15) in the morning session.
Taylor’s first test double century helped New Zealand to 609 for nine declared .
Taylor produced a controlled 217 not out and combined in a string of productive partnerships to push New Zealand past 600 for just the fourth time in their test history.
It was their highest score against West Indies, surpassing the 543 for three the 1972 team scored in Guyana, and the highest test score in Dunedin, eclipsing the 586 for seven New Zealand made against Sri Lanka in 1997.
“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet, maybe tonight it will,” Taylor, whose previous best score was an unbeaten 154 not out against England in Manchester in 2008, told Radio Sport.
“I think my state of mind out there I was just trying to bat the same tempo, be pretty relaxed and play as straight as possible.
“I actually feel like I’m still batting out there so hopefully it will sink in a bit more tonight.”
After the declaration, Trent Boult had Kirk Edwards caught at second slip by Peter Fulton for a duck before Tim Southee dismissed Kieran Powell caught behind for seven to reduce the tourists to 24 for two.
Darren Bravo (37 not out) and Marlon Samuels (14 not out) combined to settle the innings and guide their side to the close, albeit 542 runs in arrears.
Taylor curbed his typically attacking instincts on Wednesday against a bowling attack far more disciplined than they had been on day one, when they won the toss and chose to bowl on the green-tinged pitch.
Such was Taylor’s control at the crease, he did not hit a six in his entire 317-ball, 491-minute innings.
The 29-year-old, a renowned six-hitter in limited overs cricket with a penchant for throwing away his wicket by hitting across the line over midwicket, said he had never batted better for his country.
“I think probably Manchester comes close to it,” Taylor added.
“Both innings I didn’t feel great leading into it and I had to exorcise some of those demons. Mentally, I think the way I structured it, it was my best innings.
“All through the day it was just about ticking off little things. Getting to 150, then my highest test score, the highest score on the ground then Smithy (Ian Smith) told me that I’d never beat his 174, so I will have to remind him of that.”
Taylor shared in five partnerships of more than 60 runs.
The largest of 195 with captain Brendon McCullum (113) was a New Zealand record for the fourth wicket against West Indies, surpassing the 189 runs Mathew Sinclair and Nathan Astle compiled in late 1999.
The hosts had resumed the day’s play on 367 for three after Taylor and McCullum had completed centuries just before the close on Tuesday.
McCullum was bowled by a Darren Sammy delivery that nipped back and hit off stump to leave the hosts 380 for four, before Corey Anderson was caught behind for a duck before lunch.
Taylor and Watling (41) then shared in an 84-run partnership before the wicketkeeper was well caught by Edwards at second slip when Tino Best got a delivery to pop off a length and New Zealand were 469 for six.
Pace bowler Southee was dismissed three runs later for two, well caught by Bravo at slip after he prodded at a Narsingh Deonarine delivery, before Taylor and Ish Sodhi (35) combined for a 76-run partnership.
Taylor, who had been joined by Neil Wagner, hit his 23rd boundary to move to 199 before paddling the ball behind square for three runs to reach the milestone and prompt a standing ovation from the crowd at University Oval.
He was the 13th New Zealand batsman to score a double century in test cricket.
Wagner attacked after tea, blasting two sixes and three boundaries before he was run out for 37, which prompted McCullum to declare about 25 minutes into the final session.
“We could have easily been bowled out for 450 which would have been a good total but not deserved of yesterday’s performance,” said Taylor.
New Zealand first innings (609-9 declared)
West Indies first innings (overnight 67-2)
K. Edwards c Fulton b Boult 0
K. Powell c Watling b Southee 7
D. Bravo c McCullum b Southee 40
M. Samuels c Taylor b Southee 14
S. Chanderpaul lbw b Boult 76
N. Deonarine c Taylor b Southee 15
D. Ramdin c Watling b Boult 12
D. Sammy not out 27
S. Shillingford b Sodhi 9
T. Best run out 0
S. Gabriel lbw b Sodhi 0
Extras: lb-11, nb-1, w-1 13
Total: (all out, 62.1 overs) 213
Fall of wickets: 1-4 2-24 3-70 4-73 5-106 6-174 7-183 8-202 9-205 10-213
Bowling: Boult 18-5-40-3, Southee 16-1-52-4, Wagner 13-2-47-0 (nb-1, w-1), Sodhi 15.1-2-63-2
West Indies second innings
K. Edwards not out 12
K. Powell c Southee b Boult 14
D. Bravo not out 10
Extras: lb-1 1
Total: (for one wicket, 14 overs) 37
Fall of wickets: 1-18
Bowling: Southee 5-0-18-0, Boult 4-0-7-1, Wagner 2-0-7-0, Anderson 2-1-2-0, Sodhi 1-0-2-0
Dec. 11-15 2nd test, Wellington
Dec. 19-23 3rd test, Hamilton