West Indies took control on the third day of their Test against New Zealand in Antigua, closing on 442 for six in reply to the visitors’ 351.
Chris Gayle and Kieran Powell both reached three figures and shared a marathon 254-run opening stand. Gayle brought up his 14th Test century relatively early in the day with a pulled six off Chris Martin and was fairly untroubled in spite of some reverse swing from Neil Wagner.
Powell brought up the double century stand with a slash over gully as the records tumbled. The 254-run stand was West Indies’ highest for any wicket since 2010 and only the ninth time in their history that two batsmen had shared a partnership of 200 or more. When Powell brought up his century off 242 balls shortly after lunch, it was the first time in 13 years that both West Indian openers had hit centuries.
Gayle fell soon after that as he tried to hit another six, this time off Kane Williamson, and was caught at long-on to give New Zealand their first wicket. They then took the new ball and their seamers found enough swing to cause the left-handed pair of Powell and Assad Fudadin some problems. Powell finally fell for 134 to give Wagner his first Test wicket with the score on 304.
51 runs later Chris Martin struck with successive deliveries to remove Marlon Samuels and Shiv Chanderpaul, but Fudadin found support from Narsingh Deonarine and the pair took the score past 400. Fudadin reached 55 before attempting to hit Kane Williamson over the top but only succeeding in finding Brendon McCullum at mid-off, while Doug Bracewell picked up the wicket of Denesh Ramdin half an hour later to make it 428 for six.
However, Darren Sammy joined Deonarine and the pair saw things through to stumps, with the latter on 54, having brought up his fourth Test fifty from 81 balls, and the former unbeaten on eight. At stumps, West Indies are on 442 for six – a lead of 91 runs.
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