PORT OF SPAIN - West Indies strengthened their hold on the second Test against New Zealand on Wednesday, reaching lunch at 396 for seven in their first innings on the third day at Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad.

Having dismissed the tourists for 221 on the opening day, the home side will be pushing to extend their advantage, which now stands at 175 runs, even further when play resumes in the afternoon with debutant Jermaine Blackwood (31 not out) and captain Denesh Ramdin (5 not out) poised to add to the Black Caps' woes. New Zealand managed to remove the two overnight batsmen, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and nightwatchman Kemar Roach, in the morning session.

However two dropped catches at short-leg offered by Blackwood and continued expensive bowling by the supporting cast conspired against the efforts of skipper Brendon McCullum to limit the West Indies lead in the morning session. Despite a relatively quiet start, when frontline seamers Trent Boult and Tim Southee were at their most challenging, the West Indies managed to add 86 runs off 27 overs in the two hours' play, most of the runs coming off spinners Ish Sodhi and Mark Craig. Sodhi did have the considerable consolation of having Chanderpaul trapped lbw for 47 just before the interval.

As in the first Test in Jamaica, the experienced left-hander offered no shot to the leg-spinner and was more than a little bemused when the on-field decision of "not out" by standing umpire Ian Gould was overturned by television official Richard Illingworth after McCullum requested a review. Boult had earlier dispensed with Roach for his third wicket of the innings via a catch at short-midwicket by Jimmy Neesham. Despite a nervy start, Blackwood got off the mark in Test cricket with an edged boundary through the slips and a commanding six over long-on.  He added a second six on the stroke of lunch and could make New Zealand pay heavily for the sharp chances missed by Tom Latham off the suffering Craig.

Earlier, centuries by Kraigg Brathwaite and Darren Bravo put West Indies in control at 310 for five in reply to New Zealand's first innings total of 221 at stumps on the second day of the second Test at Queen's Park Oval on Tuesday. Brathwaite's patient 129, his first Test century, and Bravo's stroke-filled 109, his sixth in Test cricket but first in the Caribbean, highlighted an excellent day for the home side. Their fourth-wicket partnership of 182 was a new record for the West Indies in Tests against New Zealand and although both fell in the final hour of an extended day, the hosts will be confident of building further on a first innings advantage of 89 runs going into day three.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the man after whom Brathwaite modelled his phlegmatic style of batting, will continue the effort for the home side in partnership with Kemar Roach after what was a tiring, frustrating day for the visitors.

 Their early removal of night-watchman Sulieman Benn, bowled off his pads by Tim Southee, proved deceptively encouraging as new batsman Kirk Edwards set the tone for the West Indies' positive resistance.

He blazed his way to 55 and dominated a bright morning session that produced 114 runs before falling to a catch at the wicket just before lunch in the first over bowled by leg-spinner Ish Sodhi. His partnership with fellow-Barbadian Brathwaite was worth 93, yet better was to come for the West Indies through an afternoon interrupted by a sharp shower and deep into the final session.

The opener continued to compile his runs in an understated, unruffled manner, the only nerves being apparent just before the 21-year-old completed the cherished 100th run. Bravo, as is his style, was more inclined to take the attack to the bowlers, hoisting four sixes off the spinners to complement 11 fours over an innings that spanned 155 deliveries, compared to Brathwaite's 258-ball vigil over more than six hours at the crease.

Yet it was a scrambled single that took him to the hundred. Neither could carry on to the end though, Bravo miscuing a lofted drive off Kane Williamson to be caught at long-off and Brathwaite pushing a catch back to Trent Boult operating with the second new ball. Those late wickets were more than a little consolation for the New Zealanders, who are already facing the prospect of a sizeable first innings deficit and a strong second innings rearguard, beginning some time on the third day, if they are to retain a series lead heading into the third and final Test in Bridgetown next week.

Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum would have been disappointed though with the lack of support for his opening bowlers and will be expecting the likes of Sodhi, Mark Craig and Jimmy Neesham to improve considerably on their second day profligacy.




(OVERNIGHT: 310-5)

C. Gayle b Boult    1

K. Brathwaite c and b Boult    129

S. Benn b Southee    4

K. Edwards c Watling b Sodhi    55

D. Bravo c Craig b Williamson    109

S. Chanderpaul lbw Sodhi    47

K. Roach c Neesham b Boult    6

J. Blackwood not out    31

D Ramdin not out    5

EXTRAS: (lb5, nb1, w3)    9

TOTAL: (7 wickets, 118 overs)    396

FOW: 1-4, 2-16, 3-109, 4-291, 5-310, 6-333, 7-380

BOWLING: Boult 27-6-53-3, Southee 28-8-65-1, Craig 29-4-111-0, Neesham 10-0-59-0, Sodhi 17-2-85-2, Williamson 7-2-18-1.

UMPIRES: Rod Tucker (AUS), Ian Gould (ENG)

TV UMPIRE: Richard Illingworth (ENG)