New Zealand were stranded an agonizing 33 runs short of their first Test victory in more than a year yesterday when rain washed out the final session of the first Test against the West Indies in Dunedin.
After four days of bright sunshine, the heavy downpour began at tea on the final day when New Zealand were 79-4 chasing 112 for victory.
After wrapping up the West Indies second innings for 507 before lunch, the modest target appeared a formality despite the forecast rain.
However, the New Zealand batsmen faltered from the start and were rapidly reduced to 44-4 before Ross Taylor and Corey Anderson arrested the slide.
Anderson finished on 20 not out with Taylor on 16, and a Test that at one stage looked as if it would be over in four days instead petered out to a draw on the fifth.
“We would have won that, I believe, if it hadn’t rained,” said a dejected Brendon McCullum who is yet to taste success in 10 Tests since replacing Taylor as captain after their last win in Sri Lanka in November last year. “It was disappointing to set ourselves up and be 33 short.”
West Indies skipper Darren Sammy described it as a “moral victory” for his side coming off two innings defeats in India.
“We’re quite happy from the position we were in at the end of our first innings,” he said.
The New Zealand top order failed to read off-spinner Shane Shillingford, who was inconsequential in the first innings, but produced exceptional figures of 4-26 off 15 overs on a well-worn pitch in the second.
He struck first in the last over before lunch when wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin snapped up a sharp catch down the leg side to remove Peter Fulton.
Umpire Paul Reiffel turned down the appeal, but on review it showed the New Zealand opener had a faint touch.
After lunch Aaron Redmond (6) turned Shillingford into the hands of Narsingh Deonarine at leg-slip and Hamish Rutherford (20) was lured into a favorite heave shot that went straight to Shannon Gabriel waiting at long-on.
McCullum was unable to reproduce his century-making first-innings heroics as he miscued a sweep shot and top edged the ball to Ramdin to be gone for nine. Shillingford then had 4-16.
Darren Bravo’s valiant stand came to an end in the third over of the day when he was bowled by Trent Boult for 218.
Sammy compiled a solid 80 before being the last wicket to fall, caught by Ish Sodhi at cover off the first delivery with the new ball by Tim Southee.