Pitch, selection headaches for Black Caps

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – New Zealand are mulling over the Queen’s Park Oval pitch here as they contemplate their final XI for the second Test against West Indies starting tomorrow.

The tourists fielded two seamers and two spinners in the first Test at Sabina Park in Jamaica last week, coming away with an emphatic 186-run victory inside four days.

However, coach Mike Hesson admits they are not too sure what to expect from the Queen’s Park Oval surface.

“I’ve heard contrasting views. Some have said it’s going to be a dustbowl and others have said they’re going to leave plenty of grass on it,” Hesson said.

“I’d expect something similar [to Kingston] but with [Kemar] Roach and [Jerome] Taylor they’ve got a couple of very good seamers so I thought they would have left a bit more life in it. For this test they might see that as a different way to attack us.”

On a flat Sabina Park track, New Zealand were led by an eight-wicket haul from debutant off-spinner Mark Craig as he destroyed the Windies in both innings.

Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi grabbed three second innings wickets as West Indies, set 403 to win, tumbled to 216 all out.

If the pitch looks like it will favour seam, fast bowler Neil Wagner will be a serious consideration, with Sodhi sitting out, as Craig assumes the role of frontline spinner.

“With left-handers [Craig] is going to be our trump card. Ish didn’t bowl as well as he would have liked in the first innings but he bowled superbly in the second,” said Hesson.

“They complemented each other really well and that’s what you need to win Tests away from home.”

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