Spin looks to be king against Windies

By Daniel Richardson

West Indian twirler Sunil Narine. Photo / AP.
West Indian twirler Sunil Narine. Photo / AP.

Spin looks set to play a major role when New Zealand take the ball in the first test against the West Indies in Antigua.

As West Indian twirler Sunil Narine spun the Black Caps into knots late on the first day at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua, skipper Ross Taylor said his tweakers would be vital to their cause as the test wore on.

New Zealand began the first test in Antigua in fine fashion as they ploughed their way to 223-2 on day one before Narine spun the home side back into the game.

He dismissed Taylor (45) and Martin Guptill (97) late in the day as New Zealand closed the opening day on 232-4. Taylor said Narine was a unique threat in test cricket as opposed to the limited overs game.

"Red ball or white ball is totally different," Taylor said. "We don't have to go after him [in test cricket], he has to come and get us and with the white ball we have to attack him and it showed today that if you sit on him he goes searching. He picked up a couple of wickets towards the end there but we thought the way we played him was very good."

New Zealand took only one specialist spinner, Daniel Vettori, into the match, but extra overs of slow bowling will be handled by Kane Williamson and Guptill.

"I think Daniel is going to have to play a part, and Williamson," Taylor said." [The West Indies] have got five out of their top six that are left-handed batsmen. So we are going to have to bowl well to them and our plans to the left-handers are going to have to be spot on."

Leg-spinner Tarun Nethula was left out of the team after he failed to make good on his opportunity to deliver when he managed just one wicket in the drawn three-day tour match played against the West Indies Cricket Board President's XI last weekend.

Nethula's place in the side was taken by bowling all-rounder Doug Bracewell which was the only change to the New Zealand team from the tour match, which also meant a long-awaited test debut was handed to Neil Wagner, who came out to bat late on day one as a night watchman.

Taylor won the toss and elected to bat, and New Zealand openers Daniel Flynn (45) and Guptill put on 97 for the first wicket.

Flynn, who batted well to take the shine off the new ball as he applied himself for more than two and a half hours at the crease, also had to battle an upset stomach.

Guptill's knock, his third-highest in test cricket, exemplified what the New Zealand batsmen are capable of when they dig in on a tough wicket, but his hard work was undone by a rash stroke in the 87th over of the day.

He attempted to slog-sweep across the line at a Narine delivery and was well caught by Narsingh Deonarine. It was a double blow for the Kiwis who had lost Taylor only two overs before.

Narine snagged 13 wickets from the five one-dayers against the Kiwis on the tour and after an unflattering test debut against England last month, where he failed to claim a single scalp, he said it was nice to get off the mark in his test career.

"It's good to pick up my first wicket at home," Narine said.


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