It’s all square as the West Indies and New Zealand head into their third and final Test at Bridgetown starting on Wednesday.
Venue: Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados
Date: Thursday, June 26 - Monday, 30 June
Time: 4 p.m. BST/10 a.m. local time
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: As has been the case throughout this Test series, AccuWeather predicts that there is a chance of rain interrupting play at least once. None of the weather should be so severe that it wipes out an entire day but expect a few stoppages.
After a woeful start to their series against New Zealand, the West Indies bounced back and put up a more convincing performance to win the second Test. Kraigg Brathwaite scored a ton on his return to the side, Darren Bravo channeled his inner Brian Lara and almost every other batsman played a hand in their first innings. With the West Indies' bowlers having restricted New Zealand to 221 runs, the reply of 460 was impressive.
The bowlers did it again in New Zealand's second turn, and the hosts were left with a small total to chase, despite rain interrupting the final day. This time, it was the Chris Gayle show. He whacked 80 runs off 46 balls for the 95 runs the West Indies required for victory. It was a stark improvement from the first outing where the hosts looked listless.
With the series to play for now, it will be interesting to see how a revitalised Windies team approaches the final Test. Surely they want to continue the trend and win the series? That will require some element of risk and some aggressive cricket. Thus, for captain Denesh Ramdin, it will be one of the biggest challenges of his short tenure in charge of the team.
Field settings, bowling changes and timing of declarations will all play a big part, especially with dodgy weather looming.
New Zealand have battled bravely, but they now know that the hosts will not be so easily rolled over. With a series win up for grabs, it’s all about who wants it more. If the rain plays along, we could have a fascinating encounter on our hands.
Kemar Roach found some of his fighting spirit in the second Test and picked up five wickets. Bridgetown pitches will be fast and bouncy, but they usually favour the batsmen more than the quicks. It's going to be tough going for Roach and he will have to think players out, but he is a key part of the bowling attack.
Kane Williamson has had a good tour with a hundred in the first Test and two tidy contributions of 42 and 52 in the second. He offers the middle order some stability if the top order fails. With New Zealand seemingly undergoing an opener crisis, with nobody other than Tom Latham able to perform, Williamson's role is critical in helping the Black Caps rebuild.
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, BJWatling, Luke Ronchi, Jimmy Neesham, Mark Craig, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult and Ish Sodhi.
All stats via ESPNCricinfo unless otherwise stated.
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