BEST BACK: West Indies pacer Tino Best, left, celebrates the wicket of New Zealand batsman Aaron Redmond, also in photo, for 20 on the first day of the first Test at University Oval in Dunedin yesterday. The Windies were made to toil, though, as the hosts piled up 367 for three in their first innings. —Photo courtesy WICB Media

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ROUGH START

New Zealand bats make Windies toil on Day One

 l  DUNEDIN


West Indies’s bowlers toiled with little success as New Zealand’s two most recent captains, current skipper Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor, scored centuries to spearhead a New Zealand domination at the close of the first day of the first test at University Oval in Dunedin yesterday.

Wayward bowling and a docile pitch assisted McCullum and Taylor, who were unbeaten on 109 and 103 respectively as New Zealand closed on 367 for three.

None of the West Indies’s bowlers caused any serious threat as McCullum hit his seventh Test hundred and Taylor followed suit with his ninth, putting on 182 – unbroken – for the fourth wicket.

Off-spinner Shane Shillingford was expected to be one of the main weapons for West Indies, but he was the target of much of McCullum’s punishment.

West Indies’s only period of dominance was for about an hour after lunch when a hostile Best dismissed Aaron Redmond for 20 and peppered Taylor with a barrage of short-pitched deliveries.

The Caribbean side won the toss and chose to field, but the new-ball pair of Tino Best and Shannon Gabriel failed to extract sufficient movement in their opening spells on a green pitch, chilly temperatures and overcast skies.

They were under pressure early when Hamish Rutherford set the tone for New Zealand with 62 and fellow opener Peter Fulton 61, sharing 95 for the first wicket, as the Black Caps reached 100 for one at lunch.

Shillingford, under pressure after undergoing testing in Perth in neighbouring Australia for a suspect bowling action, gave the Caribbean side the initial breakthrough.

The lanky off-spinner had suffered, when Rutherford thumped him for a six and a four over long-on in his third over, but he gained revenge in his following over, when the left-handed opener tried to clear the air space in the same direction and a wrong-footed Narsingh Deonarine held a right-handed catch, running backwards.

Sammy had Peter Fulton caught at second slip, edging a back-foot drive at a delivery that bounced a little awkwardly and moved away about 15 minutes before tea, setting the stage for McCullum and Taylor.

Taylor and McCullum saw the hosts through to tea then launched an aggressive attack in the final session as the pitch flattened out and became better for batting.

Shillingford, who had been under a selection cloud following bio-mechanical analysis of his action when he bowled the doosra, was arguably the pick of the visiting bowlers.

The 30-year-old had figures of one for 88 off 28 overs but was extracting little assistance from the pitch and got more expensive as the day wore on.

Gabriel was particularly expensive, finishing none for 98 off 17 overs, and his poor deliveries allowed the home side to release the pressure that had been built by Best and Shillingford.

–CMC

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