HAMILTON, New Zealand, CMC – West Indies twice fought their way back into the second Test against New Zealand, to steal a share of the honours on the opening day at Seddon Park here yesterday.
Opting to bowl first, the Caribbean side managed to limit the Black Caps to 286 for seven, ensuring that none of their top batsmen surived long enough to inflict irreparable damage.
Left-handed opener Jeet Raval top-scored with 84 and the in-form Colin de Grandhomme slammed an aggressive 58 while captain Kane Williamson got 43. A couple other batsmen got starts but the Windies snuffed them out before they flourished.
Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel recovered from a poor start to end with three for 79 while Miguel Cummins picked up two for 37.
Raval ensured the Kiwis had a strong start anchoring 65 for the first wicket with Tom Latham who made 22 and a further 89 for the second wicket with Williamson.
With the Windies seamers too full in length, Raval and Latham played positively and had gathered 47 runs in the first hour with ease.
However, West Indies finally got the breakthrough half-hour before the interval when Latham entangled himself with an attempted pull at a short one from Cummins and edged a catch behind to wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich.
Raval, unbeaten on 44, and Williamson saw New Zealand to lunch on 87 for one, before extending their partnership following the resumption to put West Indies on the back foot.
The left-handed Raval faced 157 balls and struck 15 boundaries while Williamson counted five fours off 96 deliveries.
They kept West Indies without success in the first hour and were threatening to end the session without being separated when the visitors struck twice in quick succession.
The right-handed Williamson tried to turn an innocuous leg-side delivery from Cummins and was taken by Dowrich, 25 minutes before tea.
And Raval followed three overs later, caught low down by Dowrich, nicking one that Gabriel got to shape away.
Left with the task of rebuilding at 173 for three at tea, New Zealand were dealt another blow in the third over following the resumption when Ross Taylor (16) attempted to cut one too close to him from pacer Kemar Roach, and top-edged a catch to Dowrich who pouched it on the second attempt.
When left-hander Henry Nicholls (13) was lbw three overs later, missing one angled in, to give debutant left-arm seamer Raymon Reifer his first Test wicket, New Zealand were slumping 189 for five. However, de Grandhomme arrived to repair the damage for the Kiwis, fuelling a 76-run, sixth wicket stand with Mitchell Santner who scored 24.
The right-handed de Grandhomme, coming off a maiden hundred in the first Test in Wellinglast week, continued where he left off as he dominated the Windies bowling. He belted five fours and four sixes, including two off Roston Chase in the part-time off-spinner’s 12th over which leaked 19 runs.
De Grandhomme raised his half-century off exactly 50 balls when he clobbered stand-in captain Kraigg Brathwaite over the ropes at backward square in the final hour.
The Black Caps were romping towards the finish at 265 without further loss when Gabriel struck twice in quick succession, to engineer yet another Windies fight back.
Firstly, he bowled Santner middle stump with the second delivery with the second new ball, about half-hour before the close, before claiming the prized wicket of de Grandhomme – bowled with a full length delivery.