KINGSTON, Jamaica – Kemar Roach underlined his role of strike bowler for West Indies with another telling bowling performance, helping to demolish New Zealand’s fragile batting in the second Digicel Test at Sabina Park on Thursday.
Roach snared four for 70 from 17.2 overs, as the New Zealanders, whose batting was propped up by 71 from Martin Guptill and 60 from Ross Taylor, were dismissed for 260 in their first innings about 20 minutes past the scheduled close on the opening day.
Tino Best gave Roach fiery support, taking 2-40 from 16 overs, and Narsingh Deonarine winkled out 2-43 from 12 overs withhis part-time off-spin.
Chris Gayle, not out on one, and Kieran Powell, not out on 10, survived five lively overs from the Black Caps’ fast bowlers, carrying the Windies to 11 without loss at the close.
Roach, now a top-10 bowler in the world rankings following his match-winning spell in the previous Test in Antigua, enhanced his reputation with critical wickets that empowered the Caribbean side.
Before lunch, he and Best had New Zealand wobbling on 11 for two in the first half-hour before Guptill and Taylor led a recovery for the visitors, taking them 74 for two at the interval.
Roach made the breakthrough, when he had BJ Watling caught at first slip for two, playing defensively forward to a pitched-up delivery, although a TV review seemed to suggest that he may have delivered a front-foot no-ball.
Best followed up in the next over, when a well-pitched delivery that moved away squared Brendon McCullum up and he was caught behind for a fourth-ball duck from a thin edge.
The two West Indies fast bowlers were tamed, however, when Taylor came to the crease and joined Guptill.
Best came close to removing Taylor early in his innings, when the batsman fended a snorter into no man’s land between gully fielder Marlon Samuels and backward point fielder Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Approaching lunch, Narine was the grieving bowler, when Guptill, on 27, glanced a delivery from the off-spinner down the leg-side just past wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin.
After lunch, Best helped West Indies overcome a century, third-wicket stand between Guptill and Taylor, as the New Zealanders reached 152 for three.
Play after lunch was delayed by 20 minutes, following rain during the interval, and on resumption, a short ball from Roach was smashed through mid-wicket for four by Taylor, taking the batsman to his 50 from 91 balls.
But Best, extracting true bounce from the Sabina Park pitch, scalped Taylor, when the Black Caps’ captain chased a wide, short, rising delivery and was caught behind from a top-edge. He batted 131 minutes, faced 100 balls and struck 10 fours, putting on 103 with Guptill.
The home team failed to make further inroads into the batting, as Guptill and Kane Williamson defied them for the remainder of the session.
Off-spinner Sunil Narine was pulled through mid-wicket to give Guptill his third four and carry him over the 50-run threshold for the third time in the series from 119 balls.
Deonarine should have tightened the screws on the visitors just prior to the break, but he failed to hold onto a head-high return chance, when Williamson was 17.
After tea, three wickets for nine runs in the space of 40 balls rocked New Zealand, leaving them 170 for six.
Deonarine ended Williamson’s defiance, when the batsman reached for a widish delivery and was caught at slip for 22.
Roach – defying the no-ball problem that has dogged him in recent Tests – had Dean Brownlie caught behind, edging a flat-footed drive for a six-ball duck.
Best’s involvement continued, when Guptill was run out, failing to beat the fast bowler’s direct hit from extra cover at the striker’s end. He batted 254 minutes, faced 174 balls and hit six fours and two sixes.
But West Indies again ran into a stumbling block, when Doug Bracewell and Kruger van Wyk spent close to an hour together and put on a valuable 32 for the seventh wicket.
Narine brought an end to their fun, when Bracewell was bowled for 14 essaying a slog/sweep, and van Wyk was also bowled for 16, when he offered no stroke to an off-break from Deonarine, sinking New Zealand to 202 for eight.
Roach wrapped up the innings, when Tim Southee’s cameo of 18 ended with a catch to second slip, and Neil Wagner’s late flurry for 23 with a catch to mid-on.
Injuries forced both sides to make changes to their line-ups from the previous Test, which West Indies won by nine wickets last Monday at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds in Antigua, taking a 1-0 lead in the two-Test series.
West Indies brought Best in to replace injured fellow fast bowler Ravi Rampaul (groin), while New Zealand included Watling, Southee and Trent Boult for the injured pair of left-handed opener Daniel Flynn (groin) and left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori (side), along with out-of-favour Chris Martin.