KINGSTON - Tim Southee bowled a faultless line and length to Chris Gayle. Trent Boult made Kieran Powell play with his wicket-to-wicket trajectory. Jimmy Neesham was frugal, too. All of the seamers did not allow West Indies’ free-scoring openers to play their natural games. However, it was New Zealand’s inexperienced spinners, Mark Craig and Ish Sodhi, who took three wickets between them for one run and claimed the session for the visitors.
The saving grace for West Indies was Gayle, who battled through Southee’s probing first spell and some uncertain moments against the offspinner Craig to score a half-century in front of his home crowd in his 100th Test. After West Indies had gone from 60 for 0 to 61 for 3, Gayle counterattacked in the company of the busy Shivnarine Chanderpaul, and restored some balance to the session.
Southee bowled 30 balls to Gayle this morning, 29 of which were dot balls. A majority of those deliveries pitched around off stump, on a length that had Gayle prodding from his crease without moving his feet, and several of them angled across the left-hander to beat the bat. While Gayle left whenever the line was wide enough, he was fortunate to edge only one, and that did not carry to the cordon. New Zealand thought he had edged another that did carry, but were unsuccessful in their review of the umpire’s not-out decision. To his credit, Gayle did not play too far away from his body, and after 4.5 overs of dots from Southee, he got a full and straight ball that he clipped off his pads for a single.
Earlier, all-rounder Jimmy Neesham became the first New Zealander, and just the eighth player overall, to score centuries in each of his first Two tests as the tourists ended the second day of the first Test against West Indies with a huge first innings lead.
Neesham, who scored 137 not out on debut against India in February, was dismissed for 107 after sharing a 201-run partnership with wicketkeeper BJ Watling (89) to take the visitors to 508 for seven declared at Sabina Park in Kingston.
“It’s very pleasing obviously,” Neesham said of his achievement. “Individual stuff is nice but you play the game to win and that’s what’s most important. It’s quite a flat wicket but there is some turn and bounce if the bowlers put the ball in the right area so if we can get some early wickets tomorrow it will be interesting if we could put them under pressure.”
NEW ZEALAND 1ST INNINGS:
T Latham c and b Shillingford 83
P Fulton c Ramdin b Taylor 1
K Williamson b Benn 113
R Taylor c Edwards b Shillingford 55
B McCullum c Gayle b Benn 77
J Neesham c Ramdin b Benn 107
BJ Watling c Powell b Shillingford 89
T Southee not out 21
Extras (b-15, lb-6, w-5, nb-2) 28
EXTRAS: (b19, lb6, w5, nb2) 32
TOTAL: (7 wkts dec; 174.3 overs) 508
FOW: 1-9, 2-174, 3-259, 4-277, 5-279, 6-480, 7-508
BOWLING: J Taylor 26-11-37-1, K Roach 29-6-85-0, D Bravo 1-0-2-0, S Benn 52-14-142-3, M Samuels 15-1-55-0, S Shillingford 46.3-7-145-3, C Gayle 5-0-17-0
WEST INDIES 1ST INNINGS:
C Gayle not out 59
K Powell lbw Craig 28
K Edwards c Taylor b Craig 0
D Bravo c and b Sodhi 0
S Chanderpaul not out 10
TOTAL: (36 overs, 3 wickets) 97
BOWLING: Boult 11-3-27-0, Southee 8-5-9-0, Craig 8-3-23-2, Neesham 3-0-8-0, Sodhi 6-0-30-1.