A maiden double-century by Ross Taylor ensured New Zealand cashed in on the platform laid by the top order to declare the innings on 609 for 9 soon after tea on the second day of the Dunedin Test. Their seamers then consistently troubled the West Indies batsmen, snaffling out the openers cheaply, to leave the visitors with a tough task of saving the Test against a superior bowling attack.
New Zealand’s position of ascendancy was, however, established by their batsmen, led by Taylor, after they were put in on a green pitch. All through his unbeaten 217, Taylor maintained a measured approach, keeping the lofted shots out while rotating the strike. After surviving a few nervous moments in the first session – he could have been run-out in the fifth over of the day, an edge fell short of second slip in the tenth over and a bat-pad chance flew past the short-leg fielder – he settled into his innings. Not many boundary opportunities were available with a deep point in place, so he was happy to turn the strike over in the company of BJ Watling, with whom he shared an 84-run stand.
Taylor hit only five boundaries in the first three hours – one of them, a powerful pull off Tino Best that took him past 150 – after 13 boundaries on the first day, but caught up immediately after drinks with four boundaries an over. The first ball of Shannon Gabriel’s 28th over was pulled to the square leg boundary before three shots – one drive and two cuts – found the backward-point boundary, comfortably beating the fielder in every instance.
New Zealand strode past 500 despite two quick wickets early in the second session. Watling scored a useful 41 off 84 deliveries before a rising delivery from Best caught the shoulder of the bat to fly into the hands of second slip and Tim Southee was dismissed in the next over, caught at first slip off a quicker delivery from Narsingh Deonarine.
Ish Sodhi, however, ensured there was not going to be a quick end to the innings with a confident 35 that included an exquisite cover drive off Best and lofted shots off the spinners. He added 76 for the eighth wicket before getting a thick leading edge back to the bowler to give Deonarine his second wicket.
West Indies showed some semblance of control bowling tighter lines on second day, despite a higher percentage of short balls. The few times they pushed the lengths up, they put doubts in the batsmen’s minds. However, with Darren Sammy not being able to bowl after he picked up a hamstring niggle early in the day and the spinners being ineffective, they appeared short on resources.
Best bowled aggressively as usual, but his preference for shorter length meant his only weapon to trouble the batsmen was his pace. He did hustle Brendon McCullum with a rising delivery on the body, which took the batsman by surprise, and resulted in a loose cut shot off the next delivery. But it was a fuller delivery in the next over by Sammy that marked the end of an aggressive innings from McCullum, who went forward to defend only to see the ball cut back through the gap between the pad and the bat to hit the off stump. McCullum had only added four to his overnight score and was out for 113.
McCullum’s departure fired up West Indies and Best got an immediate reward by getting Corey Anderson caught down the leg side. In his next over, he let out a cry of disappointment as an edge off Taylor’s bat landed short of Sammy at second slip. The captain had to ask the bowler to calm down.
But once the seamers tired out, the bowling attack was rendered ineffective and New Zealand picked up runs at ease, going past their previous best innings total of 543 against West Indies.
The New Zealand bowlers then showed how damaging the new ball could be by getting it to dart around. Kirk Edwards poked at an angled Trent Boult delivery after a few came in and edged it to second slip, while Kieran Powell was set up in a similar manner by Tim Southee. Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels played and missed a few, but managed to survive until the end of play with West Indies trailing by 542.
West Indies 67 for 2 (Bravo 37*, Samuels 14*, Boult 1-7) trail New Zealand 609 for 9 dec (Taylor 217*, McCullum 113, Best 3-148) by 542 runs.