[www.inewsguyana.com] – Kane Williamson’s unbeaten half-century kept New Zealand afloat after two key strikes by fast bowler Kemar Roach threatened to derail the innings, as West Indies made critical strides towards winning the decisive third Test yesterday.
The obdurate right-hander was unbeaten on 58 at the close of the third day, an innings that carried the Black Caps to 123 for three at the close at Kensington Oval – a lead of 99 heading into Sunday’s penultimate day.
He was partnered by Captain Brendon McCullum on 23, with the pair having so far added 55 for the fourth wicket.
Earlier, Kirk Edwards got 58, captain Denesh Ramdin stroked 45 and Jason Holder, a polished 38, as West Indies were dismissed for 317 at tea, to take a narrow 24-run lead.
They were perched on 240 for five at lunch after resuming at 169 for two but lost their last five wickets for 77 runs as left-arm seamer Neil Wagner snatched four for 64 and fellow pacers Jimmy Neesham (2-12) and Trent Boult (2-71) picked up two wickets apiece, to undermine the innings.
Roach then set New Zealand back when he claimed in-form opener Tom Latham in the second over of the innings, caught at short mid-wicket without scoring, miscuing a pull at a short ball with a single run on the board.
Williamson then anchored the first of two half-century partnerships, adding 55 for the second wicket with Hamish Rutherford who scored 19.
The right-handed Williamson has so far faced 101 balls, batted 2-1/2 hours and counted 11 fours while Rutherford, who never suggested permanence, lasted 39 balls and 73 minutes and struck two fours.
Williamson got off the mark with a boundary past slip off Roach’s second over, and proceeded to capitalise on the scoring opportunities provided.
He escaped with edged boundaries in Roach’s next over to punch fast bowler Jerome Taylor to the straight boundary and follow up with a pull to the backward point boundary, in the bowler’s sixth over.
Rutherford enjoyed little of this enterprise and was Roach’s second wicket, caught behind by wicketkeeper Ramdin, 40 minutes before the close.
Pacer Holder then reduced New Zealand to 68 for three, when he had Ross Taylor caught by Darren Bravo at second slip for six in his first over, as the Barbadian picked up his first Test wicket.
However, McCullum, searching for his first meaningful score of the series, held up the Windies advance in partnership with Williamson.
Earlier, West Indies made good progress through Edwards and Darren Bravo, who made 24, as the pair pushed their third wicket stand to 44 before being separated