New Zealand’s perseverance with their frontline bowlers paid off eventually as the visitors completed a 53-run victory over the West Indies in the last hour of the third and final Test match at Kensington Oval in Barbados on Monday.
Despite being held up by a 77-run eighth-wicket partnership between debutant Jason Holder and Shane Shillingford, the Black Caps finished off the job with Trent Boult, who did the early damage in the morning, returning with the second new ball to trap last man Jerome Taylor LBW and dismiss the home side for 254.
Boult, fellow seamer Tim Southee and off-spinner Mark Craig took three wickets each to lead the New Zealand effort which gave them the match and the series 2-1, only their second Test win at Kensington Oval and second Test series triumph in the Caribbean.
“We’re really thrilled with pulling off this series win,” New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said at the end of the match. “It was tough cricket all the way through, so we’ll enjoy this moment.”
New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson, who scored 161 not out in the second innings, took both the Man of the Match and Man of the Series honors.
Holder, who topscored with 52, and Shillingford (30 not out), gave the West Indies a slim hope of saving the match as they defied the opposition for almost two hours in a 77-run stand. Before their intervention, all seemed set for a swift finish when the regional side slumped to 144 for seven just before tea.
Any hopes the West Indies harbored of an improbable victory had disappeared in the afternoon with the demise of Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Darren Bravo, the two key middle-order batsmen who resumed after the lunch interval with the responsibility resting on their shoulders of leading the home side out of the early trouble.
Craig had Chanderpaul stumped for 25 — the first time in his 20-year Test career, comprising 156 matches and 266 innings, that he had been stumped. Bravo got to 40, but departed in exactly the same manner as his first-innings dismissal, slicing a drive to Kane Williamson at gully.
In the first innings, the successful bowler was Neil Wagner. This time, though, Southee was the celebrating bowler. He had also removed West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin, who got to 29 before edging a catch to Ross Taylor at first slip.
“One of the major problems for us in this match was the inability to knock over the New Zealand lower order,” Ramdin said. “In the batting department, those who got starts for us could have pushed on, but it didn’t happen.”
McCullum’s declaration just before the start of play, setting the West Indies 308 to win, lay down the challenge to his bowlers to deliver victory and they responded almost immediately.
Boult struck the first two blows. Kraigg Braithwaite misjudged the line of an inswinging delivery and had his off-stump knocked back, while new batsman Kirk Edwards lived a charmed life before edging into the safe hands of Taylor at first slip.
Chris Gayle, who has been troubled by a back injury and struggled to find his best form in the series, was next to go, bowled for 11 off the inside edge as he aimed a big drive at Southee to reduce the West Indies to 31 for three.
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