Century men Brathwaite, Bravo put Windies on top

Port of Spain: Centuries by Kraigg Brathwaite and Darren Bravo put West Indies in control at 310 for five in reply to New Zealand`s first innings total of 221 at stumps on the second day of the second Test at Queen`s Park Oval on Tuesday.

Brathwaite`s patient 129, his first Test century, and Bravo`s stroke-filled 109, his sixth in Test cricket but first in the Caribbean, highlighted an excellent day for the home side.

Their fourth-wicket partnership of 182 was a new record for the West Indies in Tests against New Zealand and although both fell in the final hour of an extended day, the hosts will be confident of building further on a first innings advantage of 89 runs going into day three.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the man after whom Brathwaite modelled his phlegmatic style of batting, will continue the effort for the home side in partnership with Kemar Roach after what was a tiring, frustrating day for the visitors.

Their early removal of night-watchman Sulieman Benn, bowled off his pads by Tim Southee, proved deceptively encouraging as new batsman Kirk Edwards set the tone for the West Indies` positive resistance.

He blazed his way to 55 and dominated a bright morning session that produced 114 runs before falling to a catch at the wicket just before lunch in the first over bowled by leg-spinner Ish Sodhi.

His partnership with fellow-Barbadian Brathwaite was worth 93, yet better was to come for the West Indies through an afternoon interrupted by a sharp shower and deep into the final session.

The opener continued to compile his runs in an understated, unruffled manner, the only nerves being apparent just before the 21-year-old completed the cherished 100th run.

Bravo, as is his style, was more inclined to take the attack to the bowlers, hoisting four sixes off the spinners to complement 11 fours over an innings that spanned 155 deliveries, compared to Brathwaite`s 258-ball vigil over more than six hours at the crease.

Yet it was a scrambled single that took him to the hundred.

Neither could carry on to the end though, Bravo miscuing a lofted drive off Kane Williamson to be caught at long-off and Brathwaite pushing a catch back to Trent Boult operating with the second new ball.

Those late wickets were more than a little consolation for the New Zealanders, who are already facing the prospect of a sizeable first innings deficit and a strong second innings rearguard, beginning some time on the third day, if they are to retain a series lead heading into the third and final Test in Bridgetown next week.

Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum would have been disappointed though with the lack of support for his opening bowlers and will be expecting the likes of Sodhi, Mark Craig and Jimmy Neesham to improve considerably on their second day profligacy.

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