[www.inewsguyana.com] – An unbroken first-wicket stand of 95 by Chris Gayle and Kraigg Brathwaite allowed the West Indies to cruise to victory over New Zealand by 10 wickets in the second Test at Queen’s Park Oval today.
New Zealand was finally dismissed in their second innings just before lunch for 331, to leave the home side a modest target of 93 for the series-squaring victory.
After further rain delays, Gayle led the way with an unbeaten 80 while Brathwaite backed him up with 14. New Zealand’s late-order defiance and unsettled weather made for an anxious last morning.
Starting the day at 8-257, just 18 runs ahead with only two wickets in hand, the Black Caps’ ninth-wicket pair of B.J. Watling and Mark Craig extended their partnership to 99, a new record in Tests for New Zealand against the West Indies.
The Caribbean side finally broke through after 80 minutes when Craig was caught by wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin for a top score of 67 off Kemar Roach, giving the paceman his fourth wicket of the innings.
Craig had continued to live a charmed life after being missed when only on five at short-leg off the bowling of spinner Sulieman Benn the previous evening.
In a bizarre sequence of events at the start of the final day, the left-hander edged through the slip cordon, was dropped by Benn at third slip and then had another edge missed by Chris Gayle low to his right at first slip when Ramdin chose not to attempt the catch.
Jerome Taylor was the suffering bowler on each occasion and the situation was made all the more frustrating as boundaries were scored each time.
Craig eventually reached his maiden Test half-century in just his second match and seemed set to ride his luck alongside Watling all the way to the lunch interval when his three hours of resistance ended with one more false shot that was finally held by the West Indies captain.
Rain then held up play for 20 minutes as West Indian impatience grew in the quest for a win to level the three-match series ahead of the final Test beginning in Barbados next Thursday.
Last man Trent Boult hung around for more than half-an-hour with Watling as another 20 runs were eked out before touching a delivery from fast bowler Shannon Gabriel for Ramdin to take his fifth catch of the innings.
Watling was left unbeaten on 66, his 387 minutes of unyielding defiance occupying 216 deliveries and including four boundaries.