Experienced seamer Tim Southee and debutant off-spinner Mark Craig shared the bowling honors as New Zealand dismissed the West Indies for 262 to take a potentially match-winning 246-run first-innings lead late on the third day of the first Test at Sabina Park in Jamaica on Tuesday.
By the close, the Black Caps had extended that advantage to 260 in reaching 14 for two in their second innings.
Opener Peter Fulton and first-innings centurion Kane Williamson fell cheaply, but the tourists go into the fourth day still very much in command.
On a dry, wearing pitch that is expected to deteriorate further over the remaining two scheduled days of the match, the tourists are already in an excellent position to take the lead in the three-match series with what would be only their second Test match win in the Caribbean.
Southee’s miserly accuracy (four for 19 off 16.2 overs) and Craig’s persistence (four for 91 off 24 overs) were the highlights of a determined New Zealand effort in the field, with the only substantial resistance coming from the home side’s two most experienced players.
Not for the first time, Shivnarine Chanderpaul was left unbeaten in getting to the top score of 84, although most of the attention was focused earlier in the day on local hero Chris Gayle, who in his 100th Test threatened something special before becoming Southee’s first wicket for 64 just after lunch.
It was no more than the persevering bowler deserved following a probing, but wicketless morning spell, and after removing the dangerous left-hander to a catch at the wicket, he disposed of Marlon Samuels two balls later via the LBW route.
Having identified him as the man to provide the breakthrough, skipper Brendon McCullum turned to Southee again to end a 72-run sixth-wicket stand between Chanderpaul and West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin on the stroke of tea before he polished off the innings with his second delivery with the second new ball.
Yet it was spin bowling that proved most effective for New Zealand in the morning, with Craig and legspinner Ish Sodhi combining for three wickets in the space of 11 deliveries that transformed the West Indies innings from the comfort of 60 without loss to the considerable unease of 61 for three.
Kieran Powell, on 28, fell palpably LBW to Craig. New batsman Kirk Edwards stabbed indecisively at a delivery from the newcomer two deliveries later and Ross Taylor dived low to his right to take the catch at slip.
Bad turned to worse for the West Indies in the next over when Darren Bravo, who has struggled for runs since leaving the tour of New Zealand in November last year for personal reasons, chipped a catch back to Sodhi. Like Edwards, he also failed to score.
Craig added the scalps of tailenders Kemar Roach and Sulieman Benn later in the day, but the resistance engineered by Chanderpaul necessitated the second new ball and Southee, who duly obliged.