WELLINGTON: New Zealand’s stranglehold on the Hamilton Test grew tighter on day three, as they piled on the runs to set West Indies 444 to chase, and claimed two wickets before stumps to begin the victory push.
Ross Taylor’s 107 not out was instrumental to strengthening New Zealand’s position – the hundred taking him equal with Kane Williamson and Martin Crowe, who hold the New Zealand record, with 17 Test centuries. Williamson himself struck a lively fifty to steady the innings after West Indies had struck early blows, and Trent Boult was impressive again with the ball, taking wickets off successive deliveries in the morning, before making the first incision of the fourth innings as the day waned. It was not as if West Indies were substantially outperformed on the day – just that they had ceded so much ground already that they required a near-miraculous effort to reimpose themselves on the match. Their quicks were good in patches – Miguel Cummins and Shannon Gabriel running hot at various points through the day. In one especially hostile spell, Cummins bowled Williamson with a searing yorker from outside the off stump, had Henry Nicholls nicking off to a well-directed short ball, and would also have had the wicket of Mitchell Santner had wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich managed to hold a difficult overhead chance off Santner’s top edge. Gabriel, meanwhile, prospered with fast length balls aimed at the stumps.
He claimed two wickets, one of which was an lbw of Colin de Grandhomme – a decision that was overturned in New Zealand’s favour only after a confused third-umpire’s review. Taylor’s, meanwhile, was an innings of moderation. Sixty balls he took to hit his first boundary, having kept out some excellent deliveries from Cummins and Gabriel in that time. At no stage during his knock was he hurried; he was content usually to push the ball into gaps, keeping that brutal cut and those bludgeoned drives in check. Agencies
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