West Indies Go One Up In Antigua
West Indies won the first Test against New Zealand by nine wickets with around an hour to spare on the final evening at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua. They reached their target of 102 in the 20th over of their second innings after Kemar Roach had ended with five for 60 to help bowl New Zealand out for 272 in their second.
The Black Caps had struggled to hit the ball off the square in the morning session. They hit 26 runs of as many overs as Sunil Narine tied down an end and Kemar Roach struck twice at the other. Both men looked like making regular incisions, with Narine finding sharp spin out of the rough and Roach bowling with his usual pace and aggression.
Night-watchman Neil Wagner outlasted both Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson and reached lunch on 13, but he succumbed to the new ball in the first over after the break to give Roach his fourth. Roach bowled a length ball which Wagner feathered behind to end his 103-ball vigil. Ravi Rampaul then accounted for Dean Brownlie – who had taken 19 balls just to get off the mark – in the very next over to make it 225 for seven and New Zealand’s lead stood at only 54.
Daniel Vettori hit a couple of boundaries and added 26 with Kruger van Wyk for the eighth-wicket, but he edged behind to give Rampaul his second wicket. Doug Bracewell followed in the very next over to Narine, who was finally rewarded for his probing spell in the morning session, and it was left to van Wyk to shield Chris Martin from the strike and take New Zealand’s lead past 100. Van Wyk played some enterprising sweep shots off the spinner and was last man out for 30 as the visitors ended their innings on 272.
If Chris Gayle got going, it was never going to take long for West Indies to chase down the 102 they needed, and so it proved. Gayle added 77 with Kieran Powell (30) for the first wicket and brought up his 50 off 42 balls. He was there at the end, partnered by Assad Fudadin (seven not out), to guide his side home by nine wickets in what was, let’s not forget, his first Test match in more than 18 months.