NZ consolidate after early strikes in second test

Reuters| Updated: Dec 11, 2013, 09:01 AM IST

Wellington: West Indies` bowlers backed up captain Darren Sammy`s decision to bowl first on a green Basin Reserve pitch with two early wickets before New Zealand recovered to 79 for two at lunch on the first day of the second test on Wednesday.

Recalled batsman Kane Williamson was on 21, while Ross Taylor, who scored a double century in the drawn first test at University Oval in Dunedin, was on 32 after he was dropped in the slips on nought.

New Zealand had made an awful start with opening batsman Peter Fulton caught by wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin for six off Sammy while Hamish Rutherford was dismissed in similar fashion for 11 off Tino Best.

The double-strike left the hosts floundering at 24 for two and they could have been in further danger when Taylor was dropped by Kirk Edwards at second slip with New Zealand`s score on 26.

Taylor and Williamson, however, settled the innings and were beginning to look comfortable in their 55-run partnership.

Sammy had called correctly for the second successive test and wasted little hesitation in inserting New Zealand, telling local radio there had been "no chance" of even considering batting first.

The decision paid immediate dividends with Best trapping Fulton leg before wicket on the first ball of the game, only for the tall batsman to review the decision, which showed he had hit the ball before it thundered into his front pad.

Fulton, however, was unable to capitalise as the visitors tightened up and strangled the batsmen before the right-hander prodded at a Sammy delivery that moved slightly away with the ball going through to Ramdin.

Rutherford fell shortly after when he attempted to guide a short delivery from Best backward of square on the offside, only for the ball to flick the edge to Ramdin.

Williamson returned to the side after recovering from a broken thumb he sustained in Bangladesh in October. He replaced Aaron Redmond.

West Indies were unchanged from the first test in Dunedin with fast bowler Shannon Gabriel given a second opportunity to prove himself after he finished the match wicketless for 164 runs from his 32.5 overs.

The third and final match of the series is at Seddon Park in Hamilton from December 17.