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New Zealand beat West Indies in 2nd test, sweep series 2-0

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Image Source : AP

New Zealand’s captain Tom Latham (centre) leads his players off the ground after defeating the West Indies on the fourth day of their second cricket test at Basin Reserve in Wellington.

New Zealand achieved the first objective of the domestic summer when it swept the West Indies in a two-test series to join Australia atop world cricket’s test rankings.

After winning the first test in Hamilton by an innings and 134 runs, New Zealand won the second at the Basin Reserve by an innings and 12 runs inside the first hour of the fourth morning on Monday.

The West Indies resumed their second innings at 244-6, trailing New Zealand by 85 runs after being forced to follow-on 329 behind.

Wicketkeeper Joshua da Silva (57) provided some late resistance, achieving a half century in his debut test, before the tourists were all out for 317, their highest innings total of the series.

The series win lifted New Zealand level with Australia on a rating of 116 points in first place on the ICC world test standings, the first time in its history it has achieved that ranking.

New Zealand also moved past England into third place in the world test championship standings, a more pressing objective as it attempts to claim a place in next year’s final at Lord’s. A clean sweep of Pakistan in a two-test series starting later this month will give New Zealand a chance of competing with Australia and India for a place in the June final.

The ICC test championship started last year and involves nine teams each playing six series for points on a home-and-away basis, with the top two meeting in the final. Australia and India are meeting in a four-test series starting Thursday.

New Zealand is now unbeaten in its last 15 test matches at home, giving it one of the most formidable home advantages in world cricket.

“Looking at the world test championship, it’s nice to get the full points from this series,” New Zealand captain Tom Latham said.

Latham took over the captaincy for the second test from Kane Williamson, who missed the test because his wife is expecting their first child, and New Zealand showed depth in its ability to win in Williamson’s absence.

“As far as the world rankings go, it’s nice to go there but that’s a by-product of the effort these guys have put in time and time again over the last couple of years,” Latham said. “We’ve got another test series starting (soon) and so the focus now will turn to that.”

The secret of New Zealand’s success is an open one. It has an extremely solid batting lineup, especially with Williamson in his regular place in the top order. But it is the work of the bowlers which is the key ingredient: New Zealand’s four-pronged seam attack, led by Tim Southee and Trent Boult and with Kyle Jamieson now a key member, is relentless and gives batsmen very little respite from pressure.

Jamieson finished with a match analysis of 7-77 and Southee with 7-128.

The second test win was also set up by Henry Nicholls’ career-best 174 which allowed New Zealand to reach 460 in its first innings after losing the toss and being sent in on a green pitch. Nicholls held together the New Zealand innings, forming five partnerships worth 50 or more.

Southee took 5-32 and Jamieson 5-34 as New Zealand bowled out the West Indies for 131 in the first innings, enforcing the follow on. It was only the third occasion and the first in 36 years that New Zealand bowlers have completed five-wicket hauls in the same innings of a test.

The West Indies produced its best batting effort of the series in the second innings but fell short of making New Zealand bat again.

“The fight we showed in the second innings was what we were looking for in the first test match and even in the first innings here,” West Indies captain Jason Holder said. “Generally we let ourselves down in the field and if we had held chances it would have been a different game.”

New Zealand made a positive start Monday after a short rain delay, with Southee bowling Holder for 61 in the fourth over and ending his 82-run partnership with Da Silva.

Alzarri Joseph hit two sixes and three fours in a bright innings of 24 before being caught down the leg side by wicketkeeper B.J. Watling from Southee’s bowling. That lifted Southee’s test tally to 296 wickets, leaving him poised to become the third New Zealander after Richard Hadlee and Daniel Vettori to take 300 test wickets.

Da Silva posted his half century from 77 balls before falling lbw to Neil Wagner.

That heralded the end of the innings; last man Shannon Gabriel was bowled for a duck by Wagner shortly afterwards.




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