Black Caps bracing for Windies backlash: Hesson

Opener Kraigg Brathwaite … one of the bright spots in the opening loss to New Zealand in Wellington.

HAMILTON, New Zealand, CMC – Despite a crushing win in the opening Test in Wellington, the Black Caps are not writing off a West Indies fightback, in the second and final Test starting here Saturday.

The Caribbean side played poorly to lose by an innings and 67 runs inside four days, to fall 1-0 behind in the two-match series.

However, head coach Mike Hesson said recent history suggested the Windies would could back stronger at Seddon Park, and stressed his side needed to be prepared for the backlash.

“We’ve seen how well the West Indies have bounced back in previous series so we certainly expect them to do that,” he said.

“History suggests they are [a threat]. In England they got dealt a pretty severe blow in the first Test and then came back at Headingley and beat England.

“We’re certainly expecting them to sustain pressure over a longer period of time.”

West Indies showed their character against England last August, rebounding to stun the hosts by five wickets at Leeds just days after slumping to an embarrassing innings and 209-run loss inside three days at Edgbaston.

The core of that same side has travelled for the current tour, with the likes of Kraigg Brathwaite, Shai Hope and Roston Chase all expected to suit up against for the second Test.

At the Basin Reserve last week, West Indies showed glimpses of their quality, especially through Brathwaite, Shimron Hetmyer and seamer Kemar Roach, but Hesson said New Zealand had been able to stay patient.

“I just think we sucked up West Indies pressure in those first couple of sessions. That was really important and it’s an area that we have to do well again in Hamilton,” he noted.

Batsman Henry Nicholls agreed with Hesson’s assessment, pointing out that the Windies had bowled well up front, before the Kiwi batsmen got on top to pile up 520 for nine declared.

When the visitors batted, especially in the second innings, Nicholls said they had also threatened at periods.

“I felt they really bowled well for 80 or 90 overs. It felt we were under pressure the whole time,” said Nicholls.

“And then with the nature of Test cricket, we were able to wear them down I guess at the back end of that last session – the guys did extremely well not just to build a partnership but the way they went about it and the scoring rate was impressive.”

He added: “But I think we saw at times when they batted, the way they were able to put partnerships together both with bat and ball, the bat in the second innings with Kraigg and the number three (Hetmyer) and four (Hope) … It can turn pretty quickly in Test cricket.”

West Indies will be without their captain, all-rounder Jason Holder, for the second Test after he was suspended Tuesday by the International Cricket Council for his second over-rate offence in 12 months.

Under ICC regulations, the Windies were adjudged to be three overs short of their specified target during the first Test at the Basin Reserve.

Each player was fined 30 per cent of their match fee while Holder, as captain, was fined double the amount and slapped with a one-game suspension.

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