Fri, Jul 27, 2012 - Page 20 News List

Guptill out on 97 as Windies strike

AP, NORTH SOUND,Antigua and Barbuda

New Zealand opener Martin Guptill was dismissed for 97 on Wednesday as offspinner Sunil Narine helped the West Indies fight back to limit the visitors to 232-4 at stumps on the opening day of the first Test.

Guptill anchored a strong position for New Zealand, which elected to bat at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. He struck 14 fours and a six in an innings that took 249 balls and nearly six hours.

He tried an ambitious swipe to leg to become one of two late strikes by Narine, who finished with 3-73.

Guptill shared half-century stands with Daniel Flynn and captain Ross Taylor. He added 97 for the first wicket with Flynn, who made 45, and then a further 90 with Taylor, who also compiled 45.

Guptill and Flynn began cautiously once Taylor won the toss, eking out just 16 runs from the first nine overs, but they overcame a few anxious moments to take New Zealand to lunch at 71-0.

The pair continued to blossom after the break and both batsmen were closing in on half-centuries when Narine broke through by claiming Flynn.

The left-hander, who struck seven fours from 127 balls in 156 minutes, tried to force through the offside off the back foot and skewed a catch to backward point off the top-edge to give Narine his first Test wicket.

The 25-year-old Guptill reached his half-century, off 107 balls, with his eighth four soon after Flynn’s dismissal.

He and Brendon McCullum forged another useful stand of 36 before paceman Kemar Roach claimed the No. 3 batsman just as he began to look dangerous.

McCullum lashed five fours to score 25 off 43 balls, before lofting an off drive for Narsingh Deonarine to hold a good, low catch at mid-off.

Roach took 1-46 off 15 overs.

New Zealand took tea at 159-2, and Guptill and Taylor deflated the West Indies for most of the final session with a fluent stand.

Guptill survived a close LBW shout from Ravi Rampaul soon after the break. The subsequent decision review showed the batman’s foot was marginally outside the line when hit by a yorker.

Taylor played some majestic offside strokes and Guptill continued to blunt the West Indies’ attack.

Narine, playing only his second Test, finally begin to trouble the batsmen more regularly in the final hour and deservingly reaped the rewards in the final 45 minutes.

Taylor, who had been dropped at short leg when on 41, was bowled as he tried to paddle to leg, the ball rebounding from thigh and glove onto the stumps to make it 223-3.

He struck six fours from 96 balls in 136 minutes.

Five runs later, Guptill’s adventure in trying to score his third Test century proved to be his downfall.

The Auckland player swung across the line to a ball on a good length and miscued badly, allowing Deonarine at mid-on to make no mistake in catching the skied chance.

Nightwatchman Neil Wagner, on debut, survived to the close to be 4 not out, while Kane Williamson was unbeaten on 2.

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