New Zealand are 1-0 up in their three-match Test series against the West Indies after an emphatic 186-run win in the first Test. The two sides meet again in Trinidad on Monday, and the Windies have much to prove.
Venue: Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain, Trinidad
Date: Monday, June 16
Time: 4 p.m. BST/10 a.m. AST
Live on: SkySports (New Zealand, UK), Sports Max (Caribbean), Fox Sports (Australia), PTV (Pakistan), New Prime (India), CBN and Cricket Plus (Canada), SuperSport 2 (South Africa), Willow TV (USA), OSN Network (UAE)
Weather: Well, it's heading toward hurricane season in the Caribbean. Much like for the first Test, there are spots of rain forecast throughout the five days of play, according to BBC Weather. The rain did not have an impact on the previous Test, though, so there is hope.
There is no polite way of putting this. The West Indies were woeful in their first Test against New Zealand. While the Black Caps deserve much credit, the hosts looked amateur at times. New Zealand claimed their first Test win in the Caribbean since 2002 and only their second in the format overall.
The batting was a particular disappointment from Denesh Ramdin's men. They could not get over 262 as a total in either innings. Nobody scored a hundred and only three players registered 50s, one of them a tail-ender. It was not good enough, and the West Indies think-tank have made some changes going into the second Test. Kieran Powell and Marlon Samuels have both been dropped.
They are replaced by Jermaine Blackwood and Leon Johnson. Both are young batsmen, who are uncapped in Tests, although Johnson has represented the West Indies in the one-day format, with his last international match coming in 2008.
So, Chris Gayle is guaranteed to have a new opening partner alongside him when the second Test begins. This in itself presents an additional challenge. Gayle is not the patient kind of player. It works magnificently when he is in full flown, but when a tough challenge presents itself, it puts far too much pressure on his partner.
He showed signs of being “the old Gayle” in the first Test but looked out of sorts in the second innings. Not moving his feet and playing in his crease is not something you’d expect of somebody with 7,000 Test runs.
The next Test will be tough for the hosts. For New Zealand, this represents an opportunity to win the series. Their batting was very good in the first Test, and having given the bowlers something to bowl at, their performance was on point.
The second Test provides a big challenge for both sides but probably the biggest one for the hosts. They cannot afford another embarrassment like they had at Kingston. A strong response is needed—not just in context of the series but also for the future well-being of the team.
Jerome Taylor showed that he has found some of his fast bowling vigor once again. Alongside Kemar Roach, the two opening bowlers impressed on a track that was far more suitable to the spinners. What they lacked, though, was thinking the batsmen out. Better plans are needed from both, and it's up to the most senior members of the squad to help them.
Tom Latham's batting effort at the top of the order was solid. Scoring 83 and 73 in the two respective innings, he was a rock with poor Pete Fulton completely out of touch. New Zealand's batting was hardly lacking, but his grit at the top of the order is much appreciated.
Denesh Ramdin (captain), Chris Gayle, Kraigg Brathwaite, Kirk Edwards, Darren Bravo, Jermaine Blackwood, Leon Johnson, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Kemar Roach, Jerome Taylor, Sulieman Benn, Shane Shillingford, Jason Holder and Shannon Gabriel.
Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum (captain), Tom Latham, Corey Anderson, BJ Watling, Luke Ronchi, Jimmy Neesham, Mark Craig, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult and Ish Sodhi.
All stats via ESPNCricinfo unless otherwise stated.