West Indies lose three to short-ball barrage


Lunch West Indies 79 for 3 (Hope 0*, Wagner 2-23) v New Zealand
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Openers Kraigg Brathwaite and Kieran Powell began West Indies’ tour of New Zealand with a display of impeccable defensive technique, solidly weathering the first hour after they were put in on a grassy pitch at the Basin Reserve. That forced New Zealand to switch tact. A barrage of short balls eventually produced three wickets late in the morning session, as West Indies went to lunch at 79 for 3.

Both openers played close to their body and waited for the bowlers to err in areas they could benefit from. They would also have been pleasantly surprised by the lack of either seam or swing for New Zealand’s seamers through the first session.

Trent Boult often hit the perfect area – fuller than a good length – in his opening spell. Boult usually gets his wickets when the ball swings from that length, but with no lateral movement available, the openers were rather comfortable leaving or defending. Boult began the day with three straight maidens.

Matt Henry, brought in for Tim Southee, searched for movement with a full length, but overpitched often. Powell, in particular, was then rewarded for his patience as he drove straight productively.

Captain Kane Williamson’s hand was forced. He had a short leg and leg gully in, and fine leg and square leg out for Neil Wagner. West Indies, it seemed, were more comfortable pulling than fending. Brathwaite’s first boundary was a top-edged pull for six over the keeper.

Wagner, from around the wicket, continued to angled short deliveries into their ribs. Brathwaite, trying to defend with a straight bat, then awkwardly fended a catch to short leg, only giving Wagner more oomph in his spell.

On the stroke of lunch, a short ball from Boult didn’t climb as steeply as Powell had expected. He dropped his hands to let it go, but the ball ricocheted low to third slip off the glove. The scales evened out after a dominating morning for West Indies.

The session turned decisively in New Zealand’s favour as Shimron Hetmyer, who struck three delectable boundaries in his 13, also fended a catch to second slip, unable to sway out of the line of a short delivery.

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