West Indies moved into a commanding position on the second day of the second Test against New Zealand in Trinidad.
Kraigg Brathwaite and Darren Bravo both scored centuries as the hosts moved to 310-5 and a lead of 89 runs.
Commencing on 6-1, nightwatchman Sulieman Benn was quickly removed for just four as he was bowled by Tim Southee. That brought Kirk Edwards to the crease to join opener Brathwaite in what were better conditions for batting.
After the early breakthrough, New Zealand’s bowlers were unable to pose any serious problems to their opponents, who looked to be positive.
Edwards in particular was very keen to be aggressive, and he brought up his fifty from just 55 balls in an attacking knock.
Mark Craig particularly suffered, as New Zealand’s hero from the last Test went for 43 in seven wicketless overs.
Brathwaite also looked to push forward, and after joining in the mauling of Craig’s bowling he came close to his half-century just before the interval.
Unfortunately for the hosts, Edwards would depart for 55 as he edged Ish Sodhi through to wicketkeeper BJ Watling before the break.
However, Brathwaite would remain unbeaten on 48 at the interval, alongside Bravo on 10 not out, with West Indies looking strong at 124-3 and trailing by just 97 runs.
After lunch, Brathwaite would bring up his half-century, but the game would be delayed because of rain for around an hour. Once play resumed, the West Indians continued on their way against a New Zealand bowling attack that looked short of ideas.
Bravo looked particularly comfortable with a strike rate well above 50.00, while Brathwaite went past his previous Test-best score of 68 with ease and looked set for a century.
Tea came with West Indies looking strong on 209-3, trailing by just 12 runs with Brathwaite well set on 85 not out and Bravo unbeaten on 58 in a partnership of exactly 100.
|West Indies 1st Innings||New Zealand 1st Innings 221 all out|
|C. Gayle||b Boult||1||12||11|
|K. Brathwaite||c and b||Boult||129||370||258|
|S. Benn||b Southee||4||39||20|
|K. Edwards||c Watling||b Sodhi||55||86||64|
|D. Bravo||c Craig||b Williamson||109||195||155|
|S. Chanderpaul||Not Out||4||54||28|
|K. Roach||Not Out||0||10||10|
In the evening session, the West Indians continued to assert their dominance and surged into the lead as they maintained their solid scoring rate.
Having passed New Zealand’s initial total of 221 without further loss, Brathwaite and Bravo were looking to bat on and build a large total.
This partnership between Darren Bravo and Kraigg Brathwaite reminds me of Lara and Chanderpaul! You guys agree?— Barry A. Wilkinson (@LineLength) June 17, 2014
Then on 99, Brathwaite took a quick single past slip to bring up his first Test century—the first time a batsman had reached three figures in Trinidad for five years.
With the two spinners inconsistent and Jimmy Neesham’s medium pace failing to make any impact, Bravo also looked untroubled as he pushed toward his hundred. He would go past that milestone off Kane Williamson with a slightly lofty drive through the covers, bringing up his first century on home soil.
However, just nine runs later Williamson would have his man as Bravo swung hard at a tossed up delivery and top-edged a catch to Craig at long off.
The left-hander was very disappointed with his dismissal—especially as the new ball was available at the end of that over—but at 291-4, West Indies were well set.
That wicket brought Shivnarine Chanderpaul to the crease with his side ahead by 70, with New Zealand then choosing to take the new ball immediately with 17 overs left in the day.
The pair would take West Indies past 300, but then disaster struck in the closing overs as Brathwaite drove a swinging delivery to Trent Boult, who took a good return catch.
The opener was thus removed for 129 and will have been disappointed to fall in such a way with less than 10 overs remaining.
However, Kemar Roach—the hosts’ second nightwatchman—would help Chanderpaul see things out with West Indies 310-5 and ahead by 89 runs.