West Indies recorded a comfortable 10-wicket win over New Zealand in the second Test in Trinidad, levelling the series at 1-1 with one match remaining.
After taking the final two wickets, Chris Gayle struck a magnificent unbeaten 80 from 46 balls to help the hosts to their target with plenty of time to spare.
With some drizzle around in the morning, New Zealand resumed on 257-8, ahead by just 18 runs and with a full day ahead of them.
Mark Craig started well but then had two enormous let-offs from two consecutive deliveries by Jerome Taylor, as he was dropped at third slip by Sulieman Benn and then at first slip by Gayle.
Craig went on to bring up his first-ever fifty in Tests, but then he received another life as he ducked a short ball from Taylor that hit his forearm and ballooned for a catch to Benn.
The West Indians chose to review the umpire’s original decision that Craig was not out, but the call stood so the New Zealand tailenders would remain.
Craig and BJ Watling would take the Kiwis’ lead past 50 runs, and soon after Watling would also bring up his half-century in what was a relatively successful morning for the visitors.
With West Indies looking a little short of ideas, New Zealand would bring up their 300 as the hosts leaked runs alarmingly.
However, the partnership would finally be broken with the score on 311 as Craig nicked a wide one from Kemar Roach and saw Denesh Ramdin take an easy catch behind the stumps.
The removal of Craig for 67 brought the last man Trent Boult to the crease with New Zealand’s lead at 72, but the players almost immediately left the field for a short rain delay.
|New Zealand 2nd Innings||NZ 1st Innings 221||West Indies 1st Innings 460 all out|
|T. Latham||c Brathwaite||b Benn||36||195||138|
|B. McCullum||lbw||b Taylor||3||30||17|
|K. Williamson||c Ramdin||b Roach||52||215||178|
|R. Taylor||c Ramdin||b Gabriel||36||125||88|
|J. Neesham||c and b||Benn||7||22||15|
|B. Watling||Not Out||66||387||216|
|H. Rutherford||lbw||b Taylor||13||58||34|
|I. Sodhi||c Ramdin||b Roach||14||31||30|
|T. Southee||c Edwards||b Roach||15||21||12|
|M. Craig||c Ramdin||b Roach||67||184||167|
|T. Boult||c Ramdin||b Gabriel||8||39||21|
|Extras||2nb 1w 9b 2lb||14|
|Total||Lead by 92||331 all out||152.2 overs|
|West Indies 2nd Innings||93 to win|
|C. Gayle||Not Out||80||52||46|
|K. Brathwaite||Not Out||14||52||34|
|Total||West Indies win by 10 wickets||95-0||13.2 overs|
Boult would join the resistance with Watling and nearly took his side to the lunch break, but he would depart for eight as he edged through to Ramdin off Shannon Gabriel.
That left the home side a victory target of 93, which would have been vastly reduced had it not been for Watling in particular, whose unbeaten 66 came off 216 balls.
After Boult’s dismissal the poor weather came back, with the covers coming on as the rain soaked the outfield and delayed proceedings for over an hour.
The players would take lunch while off the field due to the rain, and would return at 1.50 p.m. with West Indies looking to knock off their small victory target.
The hosts’ openers made a fast start, clearly with one eye on potential bad weather and keen to wrap up victory in quick time.
Gayle in particular looked to be very positive, and hit early boundaries without making any attempt to keep the ball on the ground.
Alongside him, Kraigg Brathwaite was more circumspect and a mere onlooker as his colleague played an innings more likely to be found in a Twenty20 match.
Gayle’s first maximum came in the sixth over off Boult, then from the final two balls of that over he hit two more sixes to take his tally to 45 runs from 27 balls.
The left-hander would then bring up his 50 from the eighth over, the first bowled by Ish Sodhi, making Gayle’s knock the second-fastest half-century in West Indian history.
Sodhi’s first over would end up going for 17, and with West Indies 66-0—Gayle having scored 62 of those—the hosts were in the driving seat.
The hosts would continue their march to victory and reached the win without losing a wicket, thanks in large part to Gayle’s unbeaten 80 and support from Brathwaite, scoring 14 not out.
The win meant West Indies equalled the series, with one Test left in Bridgetown, Barbados to determine which side will take the overall victory.