Should the West Indies be celebrating a series-levelling test cricket victory in a few days, they will owe a substantial debt to two of their older hands.

Without the 200-run stand between Shiv Chanderpaul and Denesh Ramdin for the sixth wicket, which revived their first innings after being sent in at Seddon Park in Hamilton yesterday, the tourists' hopes would be just about fried.

Instead, it is not a stretch to say today will make it clear whether they are in business to move to the ODI series in buoyant mood, or with head and shoulders slumped.

At 289 for six it is an even stevens contest; at 86 for five soon after lunch, it was anything but.


The morning hadn't produced exaggerated swing, or many splashes of colour from the batsmen. It was all a bit muted.

Then the West Indies lost four for nine in 34 balls, with a hint of village cricket about some of the shots.

They had lost first test double centurymaker Darren Bravo before play began, after he took a blow on the arm in the nets the previous day. All the more reason for application.

Instead, opener Kraigg Brathwaite before lunch excluded, there was little resolve and desire to hunker down.

That said, allrounder Corey Anderson acknowledged New Zealand might have dropped off for a while around that time.

"We might have just been a little bit ahead of ourselves," he said last night. "We thought for a wee while when it was 90 for five that things might have happened as fast as they did in Wellington. We've got to realise this West Indies side is still a dangerous side."

So Chanderpaul, eyeing his 29th test hundred, and Ramdin, 18 fours in his 107, settled into their work by contrasting methods.

Chanderpaul is a worker of the ball, a patient man who bided his time. Ramdin didn't hold back if he had a chance.

He drove superbly and benefited from two lives. Kane Williamson dropped him on 57 at mid-wicket off Ish Sodhi, and Tim Southee, who had dropped Brathwaite on 13, put him down off Trent Boult on 92.

His fourth test ton came up with a slash over slips and a leaping wave of the bat, which may have been for the benefit of his wife, Janelle, who was looking on.

"The legend, Shivnarnine, guided me through that period [early on]," Ramdin said as he reflected on what he called his best test hundred.

"I gave a couple of chances. He just told me to tighten up and keep going."

Runs came at a hectic rate for a time but left-armer Anderson redressed the balance by having Ramdin caught four overs from stumps.

It enabled him to finish the day with three inexpensive wickets.

Anderson reckons New Zealand are in good shape; Ramdin hopes for signs of spin today. The West Indies have brought in left arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul for seamer Shannon Gabriel.

With Sunil Narine the key figure, the tourists clearly believe as the seamers hadn't done the job in the first two tests they might as well go for broke.

Chanderpaul and Ramdin have ensured they are in the contest. If Chanderpaul can chivvy them up to 400 today, they are well in business.

"That first hour [today] will be important," Ramdin said.

He might have added that was true for both teams.