Williamson puts Kiwis in front

Williamson puts Kiwis in front

Kane Williamson’s sixth Test hundred and a battling 83 by opener Tom Latham put New Zealand in control at 240 for two at stumps on day one of the first Test against the West Indies.

Justifying captain Brendon McCullum’s decision to bat first on a pitch devoid of grass on Sunday, Williamson, batting on 105, put on 165 for the second wicket with Latham.

It came at the expense of a completely revamped West Indies bowling attack from the one that featured in the Caribbean side’s last Test six months ago against the same opponents in Hamilton.

Fast bowler Jerome Taylor impressed on his return after a four-and-a-half year absence through a series of injuries, taking the early wicket of Peter Fulton to a catch at the wicket by Denesh Ramdin, the home side’s new Test captain.

He should have added the scalp of Latham in the first over after lunch when the left-hander, on 39, edged a drive to gully only for television replays to confirm that the pacer had delivered a no-ball.

Television technology had already proved critical to Latham’s progress in the morning session.

He missed out on a maiden Test hundred in just his second match however, off-spinner Shane Shillingford completing a simple caught-and-bowled dismissal in the final session.

Any hopes the West Indies had of further breakthroughs were dashed by Williamson and Taylor, who took a particularly heavy toll on the second new ball, slashing three boundaries in the comeback over of Kemar Roach.

In contrast to the protracted struggle that followed, West Indies started the match in a celebratory mood with a small ceremony to mark the 100th Test for local hero Chris Gayle.

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