De Grandhomme record hundred breaks Windies spirits

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, CMC – Colin de Grandhomme smashed the fastest-ever maiden Test century and the second-fastest by a New Zealander, to put West Indies to the sword and leave them with little chance of saving the opening Test at the Basin Reserve.

The 31-year-old’s aggressive 105, in only his seventh Test following his debut a year ago, propelled the Black Caps to a massive 447 for nine in their first innings on day two here yesterday – a massive lead of 313 runs with three days left in the contest.

Arriving at number seven in the second over of the final session, de Grandhomme reached three figures off a mere 71 balls to also record the joint ninth-fastest Test hundred of all time and the fastest ever against West Indies.

Stroke-maker Ross Taylor missed out on his 17th Test hundred when he fell for 93 while Henry Nicholls hit 67 and wicketkeeper Tom Blundell, an unbeaten 57 on debut.

Kemar Roach

Seamer Kemar Roach bowled impressively to end with three for 73 while pacer Miguel Cummins (2-74) and off-spinner Roston Chase (2-83) picked up two wickets apiece, on a chastening day for the Windies.

Resuming the day on 85 for two, New Zealand prospered courtesy of Taylor who extended his overnight third wicket stand with opener Jeet Raval (42) to 41 before adding a further 127 for the fourth wicket with Nicholls.

West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach … grabbed three wickets.

West Indies seamers toiled without reward, managing a single in each of the first two sessions, as the Black Caps controlled the game, adding 95 runs in the morning period and 86 in the post-lunch.

The left-handed Raval, starting the day on 29, added 13 off another 24 balls before he fell 45 minutes into the session, edging a defensive prod at the first ball of Roach’s opening spell, to give wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich a straightforward catch at 109 for three.

Taylor and Nicholls then set about the Windies bowling with some gusto, gathering runs freely on both sides of the wicket.

The right-handed Taylor, on 12 at the start, raised his half-century about half-hour before the interval when he top-edged a hook at speedster Shannon Gabriel to the long leg boundary. He reached lunch unbeaten on 66 with Nicholls on 24, and continued his domination of the Windies bowling afterwards.

He looked to be closing in on a three figures when he was lbw to Roach to a full length delivery which struck him on the back leg. Initially given not out, the decision was overturned on review, ending a polished knock that came from 160 balls and included 10 fours.

Nicholls, meanwhile, enjoyed a huge slice of luck in the first over after lunch when he gloved a pull at captain Jason Holder to Dowrich, only to be reprieved after replays showed the seamer had over-stepped.

He made the most of the opportunity to carve out his fifth Test half-century, before falling 10 minutes after tea when he helped a short ball from Cummins into the lap of Gabriel at deep backward square.

Thirteen balls later, Mitchell Santner was late on a defensive stroke and bowled off-stump by Cummins for 17 at 281 for six, leaving the Windies with the ideal opportunity to limit the hosts.

de Grandhomme’s arrival ended any such hopes, however. The Zimbabwe-born all-rounder attacked from the outset, storming to his half-century off just 44 balls, with his second fifty requiring only 27 deliveries.

In the process, he posted 148 for the seventh wicket with Blundell, who faced 100 deliveries and counted six fours, a partnership that quenched the Windies fight.

de Grandhomme raced into the 90s with a massive six over long-on off Chase, edged Cummins to the third man boundary in the following over to move to 99 before running three to deep backward point off the next ball, to reach his landmark.

All told, he faced 74 balls and crunched 11 fours and three sixes, before holing out to long-on off Chase, half-hour before close.

Blundell watched as another two wickets fell cheaply for five runs but by then the damage had already been done.

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