Williamson, Latham dominate Windies to hand NZ initiative


Williamson, Latham dominate Windies to hand NZ initiative

Friday, December 04, 2020

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HAMILTON, New Zealand (CMC) — Captain Kane Williamson was on the verge of his 22nd Test hundred while opener Tom Latham narrowly missed out on three figures, as New Zealand blunted West Indies' four-pronged pace attack on a grassy strip to take the early initiative in the opening Test here yesterday.

On an absorbing opening day at Seddon Park extended to 7:30 pm (2:30 am Eastern Caribbean time) after the first session was lost to persistent rain, the Black Caps coasted to 243 for two with Williamson unbeaten on a calculated 97.

Latham perished for 86 when seemingly set for his 12th Test hundred while Ross Taylor came late to further frustrate an already tired Windies attack with an unbeaten 31.

With rain around and boosted by the sight of a green top, West Indies opted to bowl first after play finally got underway at 1 pm (8 pm ECT) but found themselves starved of success dispute the early capture of debutant Will Young for four in the fourth over of the afternoon.

The right-hander had been missed the previous delivery off speedster Shannon Gabriel when he nicked one between wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich and Darren Bravo at first slip, for the only four of his innings to third man.

Dowrich initially moved to his right but then pulled out while Bravo turned his back, allowing the chance to go abegging.

Off the very next delivery, however, Gabriel produced a full length delivery that was angled in, trapping Young palpably lbw as he played across.

Arriving at the crease with his side on 14 for one, Williamson wasted little time finding his stride in an innings which has so far consumed 219 balls and included 16 fours.

Importantly, he posted 154 for the second wicket with the left-handed Latham who faced 184 balls and struck 12 fours and a six, the pair taking the Black Caps to tea on 99 without further loss.

Both were unhurried early on and New Zealand crawled to 23 for one off 11 overs inside the first hour and 62 for one at the second drinks break, as Captain Jason Holder rung the changes in a session extended to nearly three hours.

Latham provided the early momentum and was unbeaten on 45 at tea but escaped with a life in the penultimate over before the break when West Indies opted against reviewing an appeal for caught behind off Holder, with subsequent TV replays confirming a thin edge.

The tourists also muffed another chance to claim Latham on 80, the 28-year-old finding himself stranded after being sent back over a short single, only for Shamarh Brooks to miss the stumps at the striker's end with his throw from short square.

Seamer Kemar Roach, who played the Test despite death of his father hours earlier in Barbados, ensured the miss did not prove costly as he bowled Latham through the gate with the second ball of his second spell after tea, with one that angled in and straightened.

But any hopes of further breakthroughs were quickly dashed, however, as Taylor, who has hit five fours in 61 balls at the crease, put on 75 in an unbroken third-wicket partnership with Williamson to sustain the Black Caps' advantage.

The unruffled Williamson, on 39 at tea, spent 22 balls on 49 before reaching his 33 Test half-century off the first ball following the first drinks break.

With the Windies seamers finally finding their lengths inside the last hour, Williamson and Taylor survived a difficult period, especially against Alzarri Joseph who beat the bat several times in an impressive five-over spell that yielded four maidens and just seven runs.

New Zealand 1st innings
T Latham b Roach 86
W Young b Gabriel 5
K Williamson not out 97
R Taylor not out 31
Extras (b6, lb10, nb7, w1) 24
Total (2 wkts, 78 overs) 243
To bat: H Nicholls, T Blundell, D Mitchell, K
Jamieson, T Southee, N Wagner, T Boult
Fall of wickets: 1-14 (Young), 2-168
Bowling: Roach 15-3-53-1, Gabriel, 17-
5-62-1 (6nb), Holder 19-8-25-0 (1nb),
Joseph 17-6-43-0 (1w), Chase 9-0-42-0,
Brathwaite 1-0-2-0
West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite, John
Campbell, Darren Bravo, Jermaine
Blackwood, Shamarh Brooks, Roston
Chase, Shane Dowrich, Jason Holder
(capt), Kemar Roach, Alzarri Joseph,
Shannon Gabriel.
Toss: West Indies
Umpires: Chris Gaffaney (NZL), Wayne
Knights (NZL)
TV umpire: Chris Brown (NZL)
Match referee: Jeff Crowe (NZL)

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