At stumps on day three of the third and final test in Hamilton New Zealand required a further 116 runs to beat the West Indies and take the series 2-0 after a dramatic evening session in which the tourists crumbled to just 103 all out. Echoing the destruction in Wellington New Zealand’s pace attack shattered the West Indies’ fragile batting line-up – left arm fast bowler Trent Boult the star of the show taking four for 23 and backed up by the in-form Tim Southee (3-12), Neil Wagner (2-34) and Corey Anderson (1-22).
Earlier in the day Ross Taylor (131) converted his overnight unbeaten fifty into his third century of the series to take New Zealand up to 349 and within 18 runs of the West Indies’ first innings total. Sunil Narine took career-best figures of six for 91 with Darren Sammy (2-69), Tino Best (1-63) and Veerasammy Permual (1-103) all contributing with the ball.
Taylor batted for over five hours – his marathon vigil containing 16 fours and two sixes – and in bringing up his eleventh Test ton he became only the second Kiwi batsman to score three centuries in a series with an impressive total of 493 runs and counting. The elegant right-hander’s sublime knock effectively meant that the match would be decided on second innings but surely no-one would have anticipated the carnage that followed at Seddon Park.
Indeed the West Indies’ entire second innings lasted less than a session coming to an abrupt end after tea with only 31.5 overs bowled. The top four contributed a mere 16 runs to the total with Kraigg Brathwaite (7), Kirk Edwards (1) and Kieran Powell (0) all blown away by the devastating Boult and Corey Anderson accounting for Marlon Samuels who was caught behind for eight. First innings centurions Shivnarine Chanderpaul (20) and Denesh Ramdin (18) were unable to stop the procession and it was left to Southee to deliver the final blows when, in what turned out to be the last memorable over of the innings, he had top scorer Darren Sammy (24) edging to BJ Watling followed by two LBW dismissals to send Permual and last man Best back to the pavilion. In doing so Southee notched up his 100th Test victim in only his 29th match for the Black Caps.
Before the close New Zealand even had time to start their pursuit of the victory target (122) with Peter Fulton (4 not out) and Hamish Rutherford (0 not out) negotiating two overs of the new ball shared by Best (0-4) and the irrepressible Narine (0-0).
The Black Caps will return tomorrow confident in chasing down the required runs and – barring a minor miracle or one of the greatest comebacks in the history of West Indian cricket – winning the match within four days and taking the series 2-0.
®Cricket World 2013