A century stand by Tim McIntosh and Daniel Flynn put New Zealand in the box seat as they hunted down the West Indies’ first innings total of 307 in the second Test yesterday.
At stumps on the second day, New Zealand were 145 for two, with McIntosh on 62 and Flynn out for 57, requiring a further 163 runs to get their noses in front.
The West Indies’ first innings was wrapped up in an hour on the second day with a masterful 126 not out by Shivnarine Chanderpaul providing the backbone of an undaunting 307 on an easy wicket.
The chief destroyer for New Zealand was Iain O’Brien, who finished with career best figures of six for 75 from 26 overs.
New Zealand’s reply started with an early setback when the out-of-form Jamie How survived two chances before falling for 12, pulling Fidel Edwards straight to Sewnarine Chattergoon at square-leg.
McIntosh was given a life when he skied an attempted pull shot. Edwards, looking for his 100th Test wicket, and wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin both ran for the catch, then pulled out at the last moment allowing the ball to drop between them.
New Zealand were then 36 for one and the lack of calling proved costly for the West Indies as the home side added 101 runs before Edwards reached his milestone with the caught and bowled dismissal of Flynn for 57.
In between, the novice pair — McIntosh in only his second Test and Flynn in his ninth — had made it clear they were determined to break New Zealand’s string of top order failures that have dogged the side in recent years.
By tea, they had raised the score to a patient 74 for one after 41 overs. The pairing lifted the pace to add 63 runs in 23 overs, before Flynn fell in a rain and bad light-disrupted final session.
After surviving his early chance, McIntosh settled down to play a sound innings, waiting for the right ball to hit.
He reached his 50 driving West Indies captain Chris Gayle to the boundary, one of only eight boundaries from the 210 deliveries he faced.
Gayle had called on all his attacking options, rotating the ball through six bowlers, but only the 26-year-old Edwards was able to make his presence felt, capturing both wickets.
Although there is promise of spin later in the Test, the McLean Park wicket remained batsman-friendly throughout the second day and the visitors’ total of 307 appears well within New Zealand’s reach. It was a surprise that most of the West Indies batsmen succumbed so cheaply, while Chanderpaul remained untroubled.
Resuming the day at 258 for six, the West Indies innings lasted just over an hour and produced a further 49 runs.
O’Brien was New Zealand’s star as be bagged his maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket, taking the remaining four wickets to fall.
He removed first Test century-maker Jerome Taylor for 17 and Sulieman Benn for a duck in the same over, and he followed with the wicket of Daren Powell for 6, all caught by wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum. The pace bowler ended the West Indies innings when he trapped Edwards in front with a slow yorker.
Chanderpaul was left unbeaten on 126 with his 20th Test century lasting 4 hours, 22 minutes and including 11 fours and three sixes.