Cricket: Black Caps survive to stumps

West Indies bowler Sulieman Benn, middle, is congratulated by teammates after taking the wicket of New Zealand's batsman Jimmy Neesham. Photo / AP
West Indies bowler Sulieman Benn, middle, is congratulated by teammates after taking the wicket of New Zealand's batsman Jimmy Neesham. Photo / AP

The Black Caps have pushed the second test against the West Indies to a fifth and final day thanks to some gritty lower order batting.

BJ Watling and Mark Craig batted for more than 27 overs to see the Black Caps through to stumps on day four and hold a slim 18-run lead with two wickets in hand.

The Black Caps were 257 for eight at stumps with Watling on 38 from 150 balls and Craig on 29 from 102 balls.

Rain is forecast for Port of Spain tomorrow with a possible storm expected.

Earlier the West Indies looked on the verge of victory when Tim Southee was dismissed for a quickfire 15 from 12 balls, which left New Zealand 212 for eight - still 27 runs short of making the hosts bat again.

But Watling and Craig were solid in the third session, adding 45 runs for the ninth wicket and forcing the test to a final day.

Kemar Roach led the way with 3-53, Jerome Taylor claimed 2-46 while left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn, who starred in the morning session, took 2-62 in a marathon 49 overs.

Shannon Gabriel provided the key wicket of Ross Taylor, who had defied for just over two hours in scoring 36 off 88 deliveries.

Taylor edged a drive to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin at 153-5.

Jerome Taylor gained reward for his accurate swing bowling with the scalp of Hamish Rutherford, who was lbw playing no stroke to an in-dipper. Rutherford fell at 176-6 after scoring 13.

Benn took two wickets and a stunning return catch as the West Indies toiled towards a series-levelling victory by reducing New Zealand to 129-4 at lunch.

Kane Williamson hit a top score of 52 before pacer Kemar Roach, 1-34, made a telling breakthrough.

The determined partnership between Williamson and opener Tom Latham carried on for the first 45 minutes of the day, taking New Zealand from 73-1 overnight to 84 before Benn struck.

Latham gloved to silly point after a delivery from the left-armer reared off a good length. The left-hander scored 34 off 138 balls and his stand with Williamson was worth 75.

The West Indies had to wait another hour before they broke New Zealand's resistance again as pacer Roach finally prized out Williamson, who spent 214 minutes at the crease. The right-hander hit five fours off 178 balls before nibbling outside the off stump and edging to wicketkeeper and skipper Denesh Ramdin.

Benn provided the highlight of the morning session just before the break, diving full length to his right to haul in a one-handed catch from Jimmy Neesham's crunching drive. Neesham departed for 7, and Benn had 2-41.

- AP

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