West Indies vs. New Zealand, 2nd Test: Winners and Losers from Trinidad
West Indies won their first Test match against a top-eight side for two years on Friday, beating New Zealand by 10 wickets in the second Test in Trinidad.
It squares the three-match series going into the decider at the Kensington Oval in Barbados next week.
And these were the winners and losers from Port-of-Spain…
Winner: Kraigg Brathwaite (West Indies)
The West Indies selectors’ decision to replace Kieran Powell at the top of the order with Kraigg Brathwaite really paid off in the second Test after the young opener made his maiden Test hundred.
What’s more, though, Brathwaite also showed real maturity on the second morning after the home side found themselves wobbling a little at 16-2 to help construct a vital third-wicket partnership with Kirk Edwards.
And the 21-year-old, who had in the past been unable to convert half-centuries into three-figure scores, made no mistake this time around in Trinidad to help put his team in a match-winning position with a patient knock of 129 from 258 balls, including 13 fours, a large majority of which came off the bowling of Mark Craig.
Loser: Jimmy Neesham (New Zealand)
What a turnaround in fortunes from the opening Test in Jamaica for young New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham at the Queen’s Park Oval.
In the first Test of this three-match series, Neesham’s second century of his so far fledgling international career helped the tourists record a convincing 186-run win in Kingston.
However, the 23-year-old found it much harder going in Trinidad, with Neesham making scores of just 15 and seven—although he was the victim of a stunning caught and bowled from Sulieman Benn in his second innings—while his medium pacers also proved expensive, as West Indies racked up 460 in their first innings.
Winner: Darren Bravo (West Indies)
Silky-smooth West Indies middle-order batsman Darren Bravo responded to his twin failures in the opening Test last week by making his first-ever Test ton on home soil as his side squared the three-match series in Port-of-Spain on Friday.
Bravo, 25, shared in a match-turning fourth-wicket stand worth 182 runs with Kraigg Brathwaite that handed West Indies the initiative on the second day at Queen’s Park Oval, and the men from the Caribbean never let go thereafter.
And compared to his partner’s knock, Bravo’s 109 from just 155 deliveries, with 11 fours and four sixes, was a far more free-flowing and at times risky innings by a player making his sixth Test hundred overall.
Loser: Brendon McCullum (New Zealand)
Brendon McCullum followed up his poor showing with the bat in the first Test—when the Kiwi skipper made just 24 runs in total in his two knocks—with an even more disappointing performance in Port-of-Spain.
On the first day—after McCullum had won the toss and decided to bat—the 32-year-old once again fell cheaply to Benn, as he also did in Jamaica, at a time when his country could really have done with a captain’s innings from their star man.
Second time around, McCullum promoted himself to open in place of the ill Hamish Rutherford, only for the big-hitting batsman to be trapped leg-before by Jerome Taylor for just three as the tourists made the worst possible start to their reply.
This is the first time Brendon McCullum has opened in a Test innings since the South Africa series in January 2013.— strangepasserby (@strangepsbcric) June 18, 2014
Winner: Jermaine Blackwood (West Indies)
Making his Test bow, West Indies’ Jermaine Blackwood played a key knock in the home side’s first innings that ultimately helped the Calypso Kings square the three-match series against New Zealand going into the decider in Barbados next week.
The 22-year-old made a bright and breezy 63 off just 100 balls, coming in at No. 8 to propel West Indies to 460 on the third day in Trinidad, as Blackwood shared key stands of 47 for the seventh wicket with Shivnarine Chanderpaul and 76 with skipper Denesh Ramdin to well and truly take the game away from the tourists.
And while the youngster was fortunate to be dropped at short leg having made just 11—while riding his luck on several other occasions as well—Blackwood did also manage to smash six fours and two sixes during his entertaining cameo, which ultimately enabled West Indies to take a decisive 239-run lead on first innings.
Loser: Mark Craig (New Zealand)
Well, I suppose there is only one way that you can go after turning in a man-of-the-match display on your Test debut, as New Zealand’s Mark Craig managed in his side’s thumping win over West Indies in the opening contest of the series in Kingston last week.
Craig, who spun the tourists to a 186-run victory at Sabina Park after recording stunning match figures of eight for 188, found the going much tougher the second time around in Port-of-Spain, despite top scoring in New Zealand's second innings with a maiden half-century.
so Mark Craig's last 12 overs in Test cricket have gone for 107 runs with no wickets … #WIvNZ— Craig Cozier (@YeahCozier) June 17, 2014
And Kirk Edwards in particular seemed to take a special liking to Craig’s off-breaks, with the West Indies No. 3 launching the 27-year-old for three massive sixes during his first-innings knock of 55, as the spinner went wicketless through his 29 overs on this occasion.
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