HAMILTON Trent Boult captured his 200th test wicket as New Zealand beat the West Indies by 240 runs on Tuesday, completing a 2-0 sweep of its first test series since March.
Boult took 2-52 as New Zealand bowled out the West Indies for 203 after setting the tourists a target of 444 for victory. New Zealand made 373 and bowled out the West Indies for 221 for a 152-run first innings lead, declared its second innings at 291-8 late on day three and had the West Indies 30-2 overnight.
The tourists quickly lost captain Kraigg Brathwaite (20) and Shai Hope (23), then had a major setback when Sunil Ambris was forced to retire hurt after being struck on the forearm by Neil Wagner.
Ambris was taken to hospital, where tests confirmed he had a broken arm which prevented him batting again on day four and has ruled him out of the three-match limited-overs international series which begins next week.
Wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich was out for a second ball duck at 80-5, effectively 80-6, and the West Indies seemed to be tumbling towards another collapse and defeat.
But Roston Chase made a half century in a 78-run partnership with Ramon Reifer (29) which delayed New Zealand’s push for victory by almost two hours. Chase was finally out for 64, having batted almost three hours, and Reifer lasted 2-1/4 hours for 29.
When Chase finally fell to Wagner at 158-6, Reifer quickly followed. Some heavy hitting near the end by Kemar Roach, who hit 32 from 44 balls with four fours and six, reduced the final margin of victory but Roach and Miguel Cummins fell to consecutive deliveries from spinner Mitchell Santner (2-13) to bring to an end the match and series.
The two-match series against the West Indies was New Zealand’s first since March and in winning both matches inside four days, New Zealand is halfway through its domestic test schedule this summer. It will play only limited-overs matches until its two-test series against England in March.
New Zealand won the first test by an innings and 67 runs in Wellington and achieved a win in the second test which was almost as comprehensive. It’s success was based on the outstanding performance of its frontline bowlers ? Boult, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner ? who contributed in every innings and to its batsmen who built on their efforts with solid scores which gave it the upper hand throughout the series.
“We were fortunate to be on the right side of the result in both games and to learn a lot from both games,” captain Kane Williamson said. “I suppose it’s nice to be back in our home conditions and to get a lot from that.
“We don’t have a huge amount of test cricket this year. But in terms of how we wanted to execute our plans, I thought we did it superbly but we know we’ll have to be very good again against England in March.”
Boult became the fifth New Zealander after Richard Hadlee (433), Daniel Vettori (361), Chris Martin (233) and Chris Cairns (218) to take 200 wickets in tests.
He began the West Indies’ decline on day four by removing captain Kraig Brathwaite for 20. Brathwaite, leading the West Indies in this test in place of the suspended Jason Holder, top-scored in the first innings with 66 and seemed the critical wicket.
Wagner, who used leg theory to take 7-39 in the first innings of the first test, hit Shai Hope on the forearm with a short delivery early in the day, then quickly claimed his wicket before he settled. He then struck Ambris who tried briefly to bat on before retiring to seek medical treatment.
The incident continued an eventful start to Ambris’s test career; he has been out hit wicket twice in his first three innings, including to the first ball he faced in test cricket.
The young West Indies team battled well at times but couldn’t avoid collapses which placed it under pressure.
“For us with the bat we didn’t produce, especially in the first innings and in the first test,” Brathwaite said. “It was a loss but we saw on these pitches you have to be careful in your shot selection but we saw how New Zeland played and realize we have to be more decisive with the bat.” —AFP