Taylor, Nicholls put New Zealand in control

Cricket


Lunch New Zealand 181 for 3 (Taylor 66*, Nicholls 24*) lead West Indies 134 by 47 runs
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Over the last year across formats, Ross Taylor has often consumed too many deliveries to kick his innings into gear. He had made 12 off 32 after weathering a testing first evening, but in favourable batting conditions on the second day, Taylor’s positive intent was evident from the outset. He added 54 off 74 balls to carry New Zealand to 181 for 3, a lead of 47, at lunch on the second day at the Basin Reserve.

When he defended, he did with soft hands, looking for singles either side of the wicket. When West Indies’ seamers offered width, he slashed behind point and drove through cover. Sunny overhead conditions offering no lateral movement aided his strokeplay.

When West Indies switched to using the short ball as a tactic, just like New Zealand had done on the first day, Taylor took on the pull, albeit with middling success. He scored 20 runs through third man, 19 through cover and 13 behind square on the leg side, those three areas producing 79% of his runs.

Henry Nicholls, a naturally attacking player, too found his fluency immediately. He opened his account with a flick behind square for four off his first delivery. He did leave well thereafter, waiting for West Indies to stray into his pads to accumulate his runs.

Kemar Roach produced West Indies’ only wicket of the morning with an unplayable delivery. Bowling from around the wicket in the 48th over, he got one to pitch outside leg and jag away prodigiously off the seam. On 42, Raval, prodding from the crease, didn’t account for as much movement and edged behind. An inch shorter and the ball would have beaten the edge. An inch fuller and Raval would have got behind the line.

The bowlers lacked the discipline thereafter, conceding seven no-balls, and giving New Zealand several boundary-hitting options. All it did was put them all but out of the Test.



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