Windies seek aggressive intent against Black Caps

West Indies undergo last minute preparations for the second Test against New Zealand. (Photo courtesy CWI Media)

HAMILTON, New Zealand, CMC – West Indies will adopt an aggressive approach in their quest for a series-levelling victory over New Zealand, in the second Test which bowls off here today (6 pm yesterday, Eastern Caribbean time).

Still smarting from a disappointing batting display in the opening Test in Wellington, the Caribbean side plans to be more disciplined but positive against the Black Caps seamers, while their bowlers plan to lift their tempo in an attempt to pressure the hosts’ batting line up.

“We didn’t bat well in the first innings so once we can get a big total [that would be great for us],” said stand-in captain Kraigg Brathwaite, who replaces the suspended Jason Holder.

“Also, I’m backing the bowlers to do a good job in getting their batsmen out. The key for us is once we can stay aggressive at them and try to get wickets in clusters if possible.

“The key for us is that first innings total. If we can get a good first innings total, that would really put us in a good position.”

West Indies were always behind the eight-ball at the Basin Reserve last week once they were rolled over for 134 in their first innings.

They put up a better fight in their second innings when they scored 319, but the first innings deficit of 386 proved insurmountable.

Even then, the Windies were 231 for two but suffered a collapse that saw their last eight wickets tumble for 88 runs.

Brathwaite said in order to negate this, emphasis in recent days had been placed on building large partnerships.

“At times we let wickets fall [in clusters] after probably starting well but I think we have capable enough guys from number one straight down to build big partnerships,” the prolific opener said.

“We have the players but it’s just about going out there and switching on when the time is right. Building partnerships will be key. In the second innings [in Wellington] we got a few partnerships but we still didn’t get that hundred-run partnership.

“If we can get a couple hundred-run partnerships that will put us very good in terms of the batting.”

West Indies have had a luckless run in New Zealand over the years and have not won a series here now in 22 years.

And judging on their first-Test performance, pundits have already begun to write them off, with the odds on New Zealand to pull off a clean sweep.

But with the memories of their stunning comeback in the second Test at Headingley last August still fresh in their minds, Brathwaite said they would draw on that experience to grab a result.

“It’s history but I don’t think we can forget it. We had a bad start in the first game [at Edgbaston] and we bounced back. Also, we lost the first game here and it’s key for us to bounce back, and that’s what we’re looking to do,” he pointed out.

“Obviously there were some key moments in that game [at Headingley] that we can take forward to his game to help us. It’s just about fighting through the tough periods and getting big partnerships, and that is something we can bring forward and that can help us from the batting side.

“[From the bowling side], we still have to stay disciplined and aggressive as possible.”

SQUADS:

NEW ZEALAND – Kane Williamson (captain), Jeet Raval, Tom Latham, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Colin de Grandhomme, Tom Blundell, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult.

WEST INDIES – Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Kieran Powell, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Sunil Ambris, Shane Dowrich, Raymon Reifer, Alzarri Joseph, Kemar Roach, Miguel Cummins, Shannon Gabriel, Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood.

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