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WI going great guns

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

WI going great guns

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NORTH SOUND – Sunil Narine and Kemar Roach grabbed crucial wickets in the final hour to keep West Indies on the path to victory over New Zealand in the first Test yesterday, after resolute batting from Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill appeared to derail them.
Off-spinner Narine finished the fourth day with two for 67 from 26 overs, including the scalp of Guptill, and Roach removed McCullum, as the New Zealanders reached 199 for three in their second innings – a lead of 28 – at the close.
Gaining limited assistance from the hard, true Vivian Richards Cricket Ground pitch, the Windies bowlers were frustrated for more than two hours, as McCullum and Guptill put on 123 for the second wicket.
But Narine and Roach enhanced the Caribbean side’s chances of  making a last-day charge for victory on Sunday when they scalped both in the final session.
This unfolded after West Indies captain Darren Sammy hit a belligerent, even 50 to increase his Test career aggregate to 1 034 runs, as his side was dismissed for 522 about two minutes before the scheduled lunch interval to gain a first innings lead of 171.
Narine then claimed the only wicket the Windies collected before tea, after Guptill and fellow opener Daniel Flynn gave the visitors a solid start.
Narine, the wrecker-in-chief of the New Zealand first innings, grabbed the scalp of Flynn as the Black Caps reached 92 for one at the break.
After Ravi Rampaul and Kemar Roach failed to make an impact with the new ball, Narine made the breakthrough when Flynn was trapped lbw for 20, playing back and down the wrong line.
But the hosts ran into a roadblock, with Guptill and McCullum spending the remainder of the afternoon session and an hour-and-a-quarter in the final session in a consolidation mode.
West Indies suffered a bit of misfortune, when Roach had Guptill, on 27, caught at short mid-wicket in the first over after tea.
The batsman, however, gained a reprieve, when umpire Richard Kettleborough of England asked for a review of the dismissal and TV replays showed the Windies fast bowler had delivered a no-ball.
This deflated the home team, but Guptill grew in confidence, reaching his second half-century of the match from 115 balls, whipping a delivery through square leg for a single off Narine.
McCullum then reached 50 from 92 balls, when he cut the last of three successive boundaries of Marlon Samuels’ part-time off-spin through backward point.
Just when things were beginning to look discouraging for West Indies, Narine had Guptill caught at forward short leg, playing defensively forward. Guptill batted 197 minutes, faced 151 balls and struck seven fours.
Almost an hour later, Roach was brought back for a third spell and bowled McCullum off the inside edge after the batsman had struck eight boundaries from 139 balls in 187 minutes.
Earlier, Sammy struck four fours and three sixes from 80 balls in 114 minutes, as the Windies stretched their lead after resuming on their overnight total of 442 for six.
He reached his 50 from 79 balls, when he slog/swept New Zealand’s bespectacled champion left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori over mid-wicket for his last six.
But Sammy gave a tame return catch to Vettori, when he tried to repeat the stroke off the very next delivery and got a steepling top-edge.
He and Narsingh Deonarine – with 79 – shared a valuable 69 for the seventh wicket before the Windies lost their last four wickets for 25 runs in the space of 70 balls.
Sammy gave West Indies a bright start yesterday, when he flicked the first delivery of the day, from Doug Bracewell, through backward square leg for four. (CMC)