Hostile Neil Wagner bounces out Windies
HAMILTON: New Zealand congratulated themselves on a smart plan as they decimated the West Indies with a day to spare in the second Test to sweep the series 2-0 yesterday. The tourists struggled to cope in their second innings against New Zealand’s three-pronged fast bowling attack in Hamilton, particularly against a barrage of bouncers from Neil Wagner.
A brutal spell from Wagner produced three wickets and a broken arm as the hosts romped to a 240-run victory.
The West Indies, set a target of 444 to win after losing the first Test by an innings, folded at nine for 203 with the injured Sunil Ambris unable to continue batting.
“The way we were able to keep putting pressure on them with the ball and bat was a credit to the way we executed our plans,” said captain Kane Williamson. “Here the bounce became a little bit variable which is great in a Test match. You want to see the surface age a little bit and the way (the bowlers) were able to execute plans was outstanding.”
Wagner, who tormented the West Indies throughout the series with his aggressive short balls, took three for 42 while new-ball pair Tim Southee and Trent Boult grabbed two wickets apiece, as did spinner Mitchell Santner. The victory improved New Zealand’s home record to 13 wins, three losses and seven draws in their last 10 home series.
‘DIDN’T WORK OUT’
While Wagner was the chief destroyer, Williamson said the two significant factors were Boult and Southee’s 61-run stand at the tail of the first innings and Ross Taylor’s unbeaten 107 in the second. West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite laid the blame on his batsmen for failing to learn from the first Test when Wagner took nine wickets. “We didn’t bat well. The key was to take it over by over, session by session. Obviously it didn’t work out that way,” he said. “It’s key to have your plans worked out and be very decisive in your shot selection.”
Ambris was taken to hospital after a vicious blow to the forearm during a blistering spell by Wagner. It ended a tough Test baptism for Ambris who made unwanted history in the opening Test when he became the first person to be out for a golden duck in his debut innings by stepping on his wicket.
In the first innings of the second Test, his misfortune continued when he became the first person to step on his stumps in consecutive Tests. Shai Hope, on 23, was also hit on the forearm by a rising Wagner delivery. When play resumed after medical treatment, he tried to take on Wagner only to be caught at long leg. Shane Dowrich lasted two balls after Ambris left, fending a Wagner bouncer to Henry Nicholls at short leg.
Roston Chase and Raymon Reifer manufactured a solid 78-run partnership until Chase, on 64, went in similar fashion to Hope, pulling a Wagner bouncer to the safe hands of de Grandhomme. Reifer was out soon after for 29 as the tail folded with the last three wickets adding 45. The series now moves to three one-day internationals and three Twenty20s
with the tourists to be reinforced with the inclusion of Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels for all six matches, while Andre Fletcher, Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard will play the Twenty20s. – AFP