[www.inewsguyana.com] – Debutant off-spinner Mark Craig took 4 for 97 and leg-spinner Ish Sodhi added 3 for 42 as New Zealand completed victory against the West Indies by 186 runs late on day four Wednesday of the opening Test at Sabina Park.
The West Indies, set an improbable 403 to win, were bowled out for 216 with just two balls remaining in the day. There was some late resistance from last man Shane Shillingford, who slammed the second fastest fifty in Test history, off 25 balls, and ended 53 not out. The right-hander slammed three fours and five sixes. He and Sulieman Benn (25) added 82 for the last wicket.
Captain Denesh Ramdin earlier contributed 34. Craig completed match figures of 8 for 188, the best by a New Zealander on debut, and was named Man of the Match at Sabina Park. “I’m on top of the world and pretty speechless right now,” Craig said. “There was a lot of turn out there. It was a lot of fun. To get the win was very special.”
Also, pacer Tim Southee took 2 for 32, starting the rout by claiming both openers, and completed excellent match figures of 6 for 51. Earlier, New Zealand stretched its overnight 14 for 2 in the second innings to 156 for 8 declared on the back of opener Tom Latham’s 73, his second half century of the match. Latham, in only his second test, hit eight fours off 181 balls in four hours.
BJ Watling contributed a busy 22 not out off 31 balls. Jerome Taylor took 3-29 and fellow seamer Kemar Roach took 2-12 to lead the West Indies’ attack. Offspinner Shane Shillingford took 2 for 39. Latham and Jimmy Neesham (20) repaired the early damage caused by Taylor and Roach, lifting New Zealand from 55-5 in a sixth-wicket stand of 63 either side of lunch.
Captain Brendon McCullum declared to give the hosts half an hour to bat until tea, and Southee ripped out the top two. Kieran Powell fell for a duck as he clipped his fourth ball to short midwicket. Fellow left-hander Chris Gayle lasted long enough to become the eighth West Indian to pass 7,000 test runs but could not continue much further. The Jamaican, in his 100th test, eventually feathered a leaden-footed defensive stroke to wicketkeeper Watling after scoring 10.
Southee’s double strike moved him above left-arm seamer Richard Collinge into eighth spot among leading wicket-takers in Tests for New Zealand (with 118). The touring spinners took over in the final session, ripping through the brittle middle order of the hosts.
Craig’s first scalp was Kirk Edwards, caught at backward short leg. Later, he claimed Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels in the same over as West Indies collapsed to 54 for 5. Sodhi removed the veteran Shiv Chanderpaul (24) as he was ruled leg before wicket padding up to a big-spinning leg break.
Ramdin and the lower order rallied, with Shillingford and Benn briefly lifting the mood of the small crowd with their stroke-filled association. New Zealand opted to take the extra half hour to try and force a win inside four days and just managed to do it with two balls remaining when part-time offspinner Kane Williamson got Benn to edge to gloveman Watling, who snared his fifth catch. The second Test in the three-match series begins in Trinidad on Monday.