NEW Zealand's seamers bowled magnificently yesterday to turn the game on its head.
However, Marlon Samuels hit a glorious century and Narsingh Deonarine claimed two late wickets to keep West Indies in contention on an enthralling day two of the second Digicel Test at Sabina Park.
The day begun with West Indies holding the top hand at 11-0 in reply to New Zealand's modest first innings 260.
However, New Zealand's four-pronged pace attack led by left-arm swing bowler Trent Boult (3-58) and Doug Bracewell (3-46) found movement, bounce and pace from the Sabina pitch to restrict the West Indies to 209.
Only Samuels, continuing the majestic form he rode on the recent tour of England, saved the West Indies from total embarrassment, hitting 123, his fourth Test century and his first at Sabina and in the Caribbean.
Trailing by 51 on first innings, the game was slipping away from a deflated West Indies team in late afternoon when a desperate West Indies captain, Darren Sammy, threw the ball to the under-rated off spinner Deonarine. The Guyanese immediately found sharp turn to trap an unbalanced BJ Watling (11) with New Zealand at 55-1.
In the final over of the day -- his second -- Deonarine also trapped the in-form Martin Gutill (42 from 58 balls with 4 fours) with another sharply turning delivery to leave the West Indies smiling.
New Zealand will resume today at 59-2, with nightwatchman Neil Wagner on two and the experienced Brendon McCullum on one.
The visitors lead by 110 with eight wickets in hand and hold a big advantage entering the third day of what has been a low-scoring affair thus far. But they will be wary of complacency, especially as off spinner Sunil Narine, like Deonarine, was turning the ball at day's end.
Samuels arrived at the crease with West Indies at 17-2 and held the breech for 264 minutes as wickets fell all around him, until he was last out. He spanked four sixes -- the first over extra cover off Tim Southee (2-70) to get to his century and the others in quick succession in the last two overs, as he strove to maximise before the innings ended.
He also stroked 15 fours -- a mix of delectable cuts and glances, flowing drives and the pull shot.
Dropped at 46, a difficult low chance to second slip, Samuels faced 169 balls.
The 31-year old Jamaican suggested at day's end that the West Indies retained a decent chance of winning, if they can get "quick wickets in the morning". He also appeared to suggest that the pitch was challenging for batsmen.
"It's the kind of pitch (on which) you have to spend quality time... play the ball as late as possible," he said.
Yesterday, things went badly for the West Indies very early. They had fallen away to 62-3 by lunch, as the left handers, including Chris Gayle, who made a tortured eight from 55 balls, struggled against the swinging ball.
Boult and Bracewell starved Gayle and Kieran Powell (10) of runs and reaped reward in the fourth over. Powell's feathered edge to Boult's perfectly pitched away swinger carried comfortably to Dean Brownlie at slip at 11-1.
Six runs later, Assad Fudadin (5), having seen Boult leaving the bat consistently, was too late to one that kept straight, to be trapped in front. Umpire Marais Erasmus initially said not out -- apparently thinking Fudadin got an inside edge -- but was overruled on review.
A fluent Samuels with pleasing cuts, drives and glides, and a stagnant Gayle, carried West Indies to 43-2 at the first drink break. So contained was Gayle he had by then scored only seven from 47 balls. The big left-hander should have fallen at five, hanging his bat at Southee's length delivery angled across him, but the edge was spilled by Ross Taylor at first slip diving to his right. Replays suggested it should have been the wicketkeeper's catch.
With an hour and a half of the morning's play gone, Gayle's finally went, caught at gully as Wagner's sharply lifting delivery lobbed from high on the bat with the left-hander choked as he shaped to cut. It was then 52-3 and a jubilant New Zealand knew they were on top.
A battling Shivnarine Chanderpaul could only manage nine before he became Southee's first wicket edging to Ross Taylor at first slip as he felt for the delivery angled across him at 82-4. Deonarine (0) followed in the next over, edging his uncertain prod to Boult's away swinger for wicketkeeper Kruger Van Wyk to take the catch at 83-5.
Without a run added, the West Indies could have been in even greater strife, but Samuels pushing out at Southee saw the edged chance dropped by McCullum at second slip. The umpires needed a review to determine if the ball hit ground.
Samuels celebrated by banging a Boult long hop to the extra cover boundary and an assured Denesh Ramdin offered hope of a substantial stand. His flowing on drive against Wagner preceded Samuels's upper cut and gloriously cover driven boundaries off Bracewell. But the promise dissipated as Wagner again found extra bounce to defeat Ramdin -- caught at gully off the leading edge.
Captain Darren Sammy made a breezy 32 from 29 balls (six fours) to add 49 with Samuels and substantially reduce the deficit before falling LBW to Southee. Sunil Narine (one) and Kemar Roach came and went quickly to the aggressive Bracewell with Samuels in the nineties.
The right-hander responded by drawing away to carve Southee over extra cover for six to bring up his century as the small crowd roared. As Tino Best watched from the other end, Samuels followed up by hitting Southee back over his head for successive sixes and pulled Bracewell over midwicket for another. But another big shot, the upper cut against Bracewell, was one too many, and was well caught by Guptill on the point boundary.
NEW ZEALAND 1st Innings 260
(M Guptill 71; K Roach 4-70)
WEST INDIES 1st Innings
(overnight 11 without loss)
C Gayle c Watling b Wagner 8
K Powell c Brownlie b Boult 10
A Fudadin lbw b Boult 5
M Samuels c Wagner b Bracewell 123
S Chanderpaul c *Taylor b Southee 9
N Deonarine c wkpr van Wyk b Boult 0
+D Ramdin c Williamson b Wagner 15
*D Sammy lbw b Southee 32
S Narine c Guptill b Bracewell 1
K Roach c Guptill b Bracewell 0
T Best not out 0
Extras (lb4, w2) 6
TOTAL (all out, 64.3 overs) 209
Fall of wickets: 1-11 (Powell), 2-17 (Fudadin), 3-53 (Gayle), 4-82 (Chanderpaul), 5-83 (Deonarine), 6-113 (+Ramdin), 7-162 (*Sammy), 8-177 (Narine), 9-183 (Roach)
Bowling: Boult 17-2-58-3; Bracewell 15.3-3-46-3 (w1); Southee 19-5-70-2 (w1); Wagner 10-3-24-2; Williamson 3-0-7-0
NEW ZEALAND 2nd Innings
M Guptill lbw b Deonarine 42
BJ Watling lbw b Deonarine 11
N Wagner not out 2
B McCullum not out 1
Extras (lb1, nb2) 3
TOTAL (2 wkts) 59
Fall of wickets: 1-55 (Watling), 2-56 (Guptill)
Bowling: Roach 5-1-17-0 (nb1); Best 5-1-16-0; *Sammy 6-2-19-0 (nb1); Narine 3-0-3-0; Deonarine 2-1-3-2
Position: New Zealand lead by 110 with eight second innings wickets standing
Umpires: M Erasmus (South Africa), P Reiffel (Australia)
TV Umpire: R Kettleborough (England)
Match Referee: R Madugalle (Sri Lanka)
Reserve Umpire: G Brathwaite (West Indies/Barbados)