West Indies fightback on day three with solid batting display
West Indies 134 & 214-2 (Brathwaite 79) v
New Zealand 520-9 dec (Blundell 107no)
First Test, Wellington, day three
Kraigg Brathwaite and Shimron Hetmyer led West Indies' fightback with half-centuries as the visitors posted 214 for two in the second innings at stumps on day three of the first Test against New Zealand in Wellington.
Despite, a spirited fightback, West Indies still trail New Zealand's first innings total by 172 runs with eight wickets in hand.
Starting their second innings with a trail of 386 runs, it looked like another day on the park for the West Indies batsmen, who managed just 134 in the first innings but Brathwaite (79) and Kieran Powell (40) did their first task right of negating four overs before lunch with a score of nine for naught.
Powell signalled his intention with back to back boundaries in the ninth over and a with a six in the 16th over, he brought the 50-run opening stand with Brathwaite.
The hero of the first innings Neil Wagner (0-89) was not spared either as he conceded 16 runs off his second over that saw Powell smash a six and a four in it. However, New Zealand did manage to find a breakthrough when Matt Henry (2-33) had Powell caught off his own bowling.
The momentum was carry forwarded by both Brathwaite and Shimron Hetmyer (66) and West Indies went into tea with a score of 107 for one, still trailing New Zealand by 279 runs.
Both Brathwaite and Hetmyer combined managed five boundaries between them in the first five overs of the final session. Brathwaite was the first to reach his half-century and soon Hetmyer followed him as well and things looked promising for the Caribbean team.
Trent Boult (0-47) was greeted with a six and two boundaries in the 42nd over from Hetmyer but his 94 run stand with Brathwaite ended when he chipped a simple catch at mid off with Henry being the wicket-taker once again.
That was the last of the success, New Zealand managed in the day as Brathwaite along with Shai Hope (21 not out) with their unbeaten 48 run stand took West Indies to 214 for two at stumps in the 66 overs.
Earlier, New Zealand started the day with a score of 447 for nine and it was Tom Blundell (107 not out), who stole the highlight of the first session as he became the first New Zealand wicket-keeper to score a century on debut, courtesy support from Boult (18 not out).
The innings though did not come without struggle as he was struck in the 90s for almost 10 overs and during that phase, his partner and the number 11 Boult was tested by the West Indies bowlers, even a couple of decisions was referred.
Boult will his unconventional mode of defence did give Blundell more than the support he needed, facing 60 deliveries himself and eventually the wicket-keeper batsman reached his ton with a couple and then followed it with a six, calming the nerves in the dressing room and the declaration came with the score at 520 for nine.
© Cricket World 2017