New Zealand in control after Taylor, Nicholls fifties

Cricket


Tea New Zealand 267 for 4 (Nicholls 66*, Santner 12*) lead West Indies 134 by 133 runs
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Over the last year across formats, Ross Taylor has often consumed too many deliveries to kick his innings into gear. On the first evening in Wellington, he had made 12 off 32 after weathering a testing spell, but in favourable batting conditions on the second day, Taylor’s positive intent was evident from the outset. He struck a 160-ball 93 to lead New Zealand’s dominance on the second day, carrying the hosts to 267 for 4, a lead of 133, at tea at the Basin Reserve. Taylor was assisted by Henry Nicholls, who displaying impressive patience in an unbeaten 66.

When Taylor 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 before lunch.

Attempting to stem the copious flow of runs, West Indies set defensive fields with the new ball on the horizon. Taylor then tucked, nudged and pushed his way towards a hundred in an insipid period.

The game kicked back to life when West Indies took the new ball in the 82nd over. Kemar Roach, from wide of the crease, jagged one away late from a leaden-footed Taylor. The set-up, check. Off the first ball of his next over, Roach got one to seam back in to beat Taylor’s inside edge and strike him plumb in front of off. The wicket, check. Taylor fell seven runs short of his fourth successive ton at home against West Indies.

Nicholls, a naturally attacking player, found his fluency immediately at the other end. He opened his account with a flick behind square for four off his first delivery. He did leave well through his innings, waiting for West Indies to stray into his pads to accumulate his runs.

In the first over after lunch, he gloved a pull off Jason Holder to the keeper, but replays showed the bowler had overstepped. Nicholls only grew more patient thereafter, hitting eight fours in a 153-ball vigil.

Roach produced West Indies’ only wicket of the morning session 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, conceding 10 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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