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West Indies fight back as Black Caps bouncer barrage goes awry

Two days can make a world of difference in a Basin Reserve test. Now resembling a competitive cricket team, West Indies have the chance to prove their coach's bold prediction correct. The tourists finally enjoyed the upper hand late on day three of a rollicking first test but still face a day and a half of hard toil to avert what still looks a very strong chance of a New Zealand victory. But we have a semblance of a contest. West Indies will resume 214-2 in their second innings, still trailing by 172 and sure to face another barrage with the second new ball on the fourth morning. Batsman of the moment Shai Hope, after a third ball duck in the first innings, remains on 21 and with dour, determined opener Kraigg Brathwaite unbowed on 79 after 275 minutes at the crease there are more runs out there. Just two wickets fell on the day, after 12 tumbled on Friday. Their Australian coach Stuart Law won't have conceded defeat after these comments on day one after his side were skittled for 134: "By no means are we dead and buried in this contest… anything's possible in the second innings for our batters." A three-day test remained in prospect when home skipper Kane Williamson declared their first innings at 520-9 after hometown wicketkeeper Tom Blundell became New Zealand's 11th centurymaker on test debut. A deficit of 386, after toiling 148.4 overs in the field, can look like cricket's Everest but a third innings at the Basin also presents an opportunity. New Zealand plundered 680-8 against India with a Brendon McCullum triple century in 2014, then racked up 524-5 the following year against Sri Lanka to set up an unlikely victory. A day three Basin pitch is what batsmen's dreams are made of, and there were few terrors as the West Indies sensed their chance. There was no swing or seam, again, but still some pace and New Zealand's bowlers went hard at their rivals. Some edges fell short, other half chances flew wide. Neil Wagner admitted he felt "horrible" when he took 7-39 on day one. This time it wasn't happening at all, showing the fine line fast bowlers can tread, as he ended the day with 0-89 off 15. He bounded in and bowled short, clanging Kieran Powell and Shimron Hetmyer on the helmet in successive overs, but the ball flew far off the willow too. Powell (40) was unsettled enough to hand his wicket to Henry when he was too early on a drive. Henry, picked ahead of the unlucky Lockie Ferguson, stuck out his right hand and had his first scalp of the match. Hetmyer captained West Indies under-19 to a world title two seasons ago and showed his class. The left-hander boomed Mitchell Santner out of the ground and produced the shot of the match; a straight drive off Trent Boult into the sightscreen. It was getting interesting as the batsmen took the bowling on, but the dry surface began to offer variations in pace and bounce and Hetmyer (66 off 89) got a leading edge to Henry. Even a few home fans were enjoying the knock and it was over too soon. Santner got a hint of late turn and it will be time for him to stand up on day four and prove he's a wicket-taker. The first session was Blundell's as the crowd rose to his century on debut, after Colin de Grandhomme lit up the Basin with a 71-ball ton on Saturday night. A composed, confident Blundell resumed on 57 and a century looked a very slim chance, but Boult had other ideas. The No 11 defended stoutly and played for his team-mate in 109 minutes of defiance. The pair added 78 unbroken for the 10th wicket as Blundell cruised towards three figures then spent 41 deliveries in the 90s. It was nervy, but finally Blundell charged Roston Chase's spin and whipped him away for two and a huge roar followed. He was 107 not out, his century coming off 178 balls and another chance looking likely in Hamilton in Saturday's second test with BJ Watling's hip injury still stopping him keeping wicket. - Stuff
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Cricketwindies is the leading voice for Caribbean and International cricket news, information and opinion. We’re a community of cricket fans who follow all cricket. In other words, a bunch of high-strung, fanatical cricket enthusiasts who have far too much time on their hands.

For many years the West Indies team ruled the cricket world, playing undefeated in a Test series for over 15 years. Recently the West Indies team has suffered several losses but with the emergence of new high-calibre players the future for the West Indies cricket team looks very good!

West Indians are passionate about their cricket, quick to cheer when the team performs well but also quick to criticize a poor performance. Thousands of West Indians always turn out to watch their team play .... and hopefully win!

Cricket is seen as a unifying force in the West Indies, bringing together players (and supporters) from across the region. This gentleman's game has brought considerable exposure to the islands of the Caribbean, with the West Indian cricketers being remembered not only for their incredible talent and skills but also for their deportment and sense of fair play.

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