New Zealand trounce hapless hosts to take early 1-0 lead
TAIL-ENDER Shane Shillingford hit a record-breaking 50 yesterday, but New Zealand completed a first- ever Test win at Sabina Park after hammering hapless West Indies by 186 runs in the opening match of the series.
Set a mountainous target of 403 for victory after New Zealand declared on 156-8, the West Indies crumpled for 216 on a wearing fourth-day pitch to hand the visitors only their second Test triumph in the Caribbean.
Scores: New Zealand 508-7 decl'd (174.3 overs) & 156-8 decl'd (60.5 overs); West Indies 262 (81.2 overs) & 216 (47.4 overs).
Shillingford, who batted at number 11, top scored with a Test-best 52 not out to delay the inevitable. He hoisted a six off the off-spinner Mark Craig to reach the half-century mark from only 25 balls — taking the record for the fastest 50 by a West Indian in Test cricket. The 31-year-old was also one ball shy of equalling South African Jacques Kallis' 24-ball Test world record.
But Shillingford's achievement was scant consolation after another tame showing from the West Indies top-order batting as the debutant Craig, given the Man-of-the-Match award, took 4-97 off 15 expensive overs to end with eight wickets in the encounter.
Earlier, New Zealand resumed on their overnight 14-2, but pacer Jerome Taylor, looking sharp despite the almost five-year Test lay-off, grabbed the wickets of night-watchman Inderbir Singh Sodhi (four) and Ross Taylor (zero) off consecutive deliveries.
The Jamaican trapped Sodhi leg before wicket with a fairly full delivery that angled in towards the batsman, before straightening and cannoning into the back pad in front of the off-stump.
It was 14-4 a ball later when Ross Taylor, scorer of three hundreds during the regional side's tour of New Zealand last year, was rooted to the crease to a delivery that slanted in to him and would have rattled into the stumps if not for his back leg hanging in its path.
Local hero Christopher Gayle dropped Brendon McCullum off Roach when he was on seven, but the Kiwis captain added only 10 more runs before he was bowled by a Shillingford full-pitched off-spinning ball that ripped between bat and pad.
There was a momentary halt to the flurry of wickets as the left-handed pair of Tom Latham and first innings centurion James Neesham resisted, but after adding 63 runs, the sixth-wicket stand was broken.
Neesham, going for quick runs, was caught at long-off by substitute fielder Brathwaite off Shillingford.
Latham, abandoning his usual economical approach to batting, stepped down the wicket and edged a Roach delivery to Gayle at slip. Gayle remained unfazed despite Denesh Ramdin diving across him to partially obscure his view.
With the score on 156, Southee was caught by Darren Bravo — running in from the long-on boundary — off left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn's delivery, and the declaration came immediately after.
Jerome Taylor, 29, who also bowled beautifully in the first innings while capturing only one wicket, had better fortune second time around, finishing with 3-28 off 12 overs.
Faced with a colossal task, West Indies were soon pegged back to 11-2 with the loss of both left-handed openers.
Kieran Powell (zero) clipped a delivery from seamer Tim Southee straight McCullum at short midwicket.
Then Southee, who tormented and eventually dismissed Gayle for 64 in the first innings, put a damper on the batsman's hundredth Test celebrations when, for the second time in the match, he had him caught by wicketkeeper BJ Watling.
Gayle, who at least made it past 7,000 runs in the longer format, contributed only 10.
The 27-year-old Craig, who was not always consistent with his line and length, got spin and bounce and accounted for Kirk Edwards (14), left-hander Darren Bravo (12), Marlon Samuels (zero) and Kemar Roach (19)
Meanwhile, the wrist spinner Sodhi dismissed left-handed veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul (24), captain and wicketkeeper/batsman Denesh Ramdin (34) and Taylor (18) to end with 3-42.
At 134-9, it seemed impossible that the game would enter the fifth and final day, but a rollicking 82-run partnership between Shillingford and number 10 batsman Benn (25) for the last wicket pushed proceedings to the last over of the day.
As long shadows crept across the outfield, part-time off-break bowler Kane Williamson had Benn caught by Watling as the Kiwis won their first Test in the West Indies since 2002 in Barbados.
The second Test match is set to be played at the Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad & Tobago from June 16-20. The third match is scheduled for the Kensington Oval in Barbados from June 26-30.