West Indies vs. New Zealand, 1st Test: Winners and Losers from Jamaica
The first Test between West Indies and New Zealand has drawn to a conclusion, with the visitors victorious by 186 runs at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica.
With the next game due to begin on Monday at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain, Trinidad, let’s first take a look back.
Who can count themselves as a winner from this game, and who can count themselves as a loser?
Read on to find out.
Winner(s): Fans of Test Cricket
For the first time in 95 days, those who enjoy the game’s longest form were able to sit back and enjoy Test cricket.
It was the lengthiest absence of Tests without being interrupted by a Cricket World Cup ever, having been affected by the recent World Twenty20 and the Indian Premier League.
Those who enjoy watching the five-day battle between bat and ball have plenty more to look forward to in the coming months.
This game has certainly whetted the appetite for more.
Loser: Peter Fulton
This was a thoroughly depressing outing for New Zealand opener Peter Fulton.
Just one run in two innings—amidst a miserable run of form that has seen him fail to pass 15 in 10 innings and make double figures on just four occasions—showed a man completely out of form.
With plenty of other batsmen lurking in the background, the 35-year-old’s place must surely be in question.
Winner: Mark Craig
With just 22 first-class games to his name and a bowling average well over 30, many were scratching their heads at the inclusion of off-spinner Mark Craig in this game.
However, the 27-year-old Otago man looked mightily impressive, ending with match figures of 8-188—the best bowling statistics ever by any Black Caps Test debutant.
With four wickets in each innings on a slow and turning pitch, Craig looked the part in international cricket and may well become a regular part of the team.
For good measure, when he came out to bat in the second innings, he hit his first ball—the first he faced in Tests—for six.
He was a deserving recipient of the man of the match award.
Loser(s): West Indies Top Order
The West Indian batting lineup twice collapsed in a heap, especially the top six.
Marlon Samuels had a particularly miserable Test as he lasted only two balls in each innings and recorded a pair.
If they are to take anything out of this series, West Indies will need far more from their batsmen.
Winner: Jimmy Neesham
The incredibly talented all-rounder Jimmy Neesham continued his magnificent start to Test cricket with 107 in the first innings.
In just two matches, Neesham has passed 100 on two occasions and is quickly becoming a crucial player for New Zealand.
With Neesham in form, others in the team looking in form and yet more players on the fringes of the side, the Black Caps have plenty of resources at their disposal.
Loser: Chris Gayle
In his 100th Test match, Chris Gayle will have been desperate to make a big impact and help his team to victory.
With all collapsing around him, he looked in good touch in the first innings, making 64 from 125 balls.
The second time around, he was removed for just 10—dismissed on both occasions by Tim Southee—as the hosts crumbled again.
Having bowled a little but spent time off the field receiving treatment, it was a tough way for Gayle to celebrate his personal milestone.
Winner: Shane Shillingford
Only three West Indian batsmen passed fifty, one of which was something of a surprise—No. 11 Shane Shillingford swiped an unbeaten 53 from just 29 balls.
His first half-century in Tests and just his fifth in first-class cricket, it was an enjoyable last stand from a player who knew the game was lost.
Not only that, Shillingford took five wickets with his off-spin and bowled well in tandem with the returning Sulieman Benn, who made his first Test appearance since December 2010.
After all the controversy swirling around Sunil Narine’s exclusion from this series, it will have been heartening for the West Indians to see another spinner step up well.
Loser: Denesh Ramdin
In his first Test as captain, Denesh Ramdin will have been hoping for a better outcome than a crushing defeat inside four days.
He could do little to prevent New Zealand racking up 508-7 declared in the first innings, then saw his side’s batting collapse twice.
For Ramdin personally, he will be disappointed to have conceded 19 byes in the first innings. However, with scores of 39 and 34 with the bat, he looked in some form.
He will be determined to overcome this disappointment and take victory in Trinidad.