Gayle fifty leads Windies fightback

Neesham ton puts NZ in command

Gayle fifty leads Windies fightback

Talismanic opener Chris Gayle stroked an unbeaten half-century to hint at something special in his 100th Test, but it glossed over another dodgy West Indies batting effort on the third day of the first Test against New Zealand here Tuesday.

At lunch, the left-hander was not out on 59, an innings that steered the West Indies to 97 for three, in response to New Zealand’s massive first innings total of 508 for seven declared at Sabina Park.

He was partnered by unflappable left-hander Shiv Chanderpaul, another veteran of over 100 Tests, who was unbeaten on 10.

Gayle has so far faced 115 balls and struck 10 fours in a knock that has been a mixture of caution and his typical aggression.

Resuming the day on 19 without loss, Gayle and fellow Kieran Powell seemed to be laying the foundation for a respectable response, when they put on 60 for the first wicket.

However, the introduction of debutant off-spinner Mark Craig (2-23) changed the tone of the morning session as he removed Powell for 28 and Kirk Edwards without scoring, in his fifth over of the day, before leg-spinner Ish Sodhi accounted for Darren Bravo in the next over, also without scoring.

Neesham shines

Earlier on Monday, Jimmy Neesham became the first New Zealander to score hundreds in his first two Test matches to put the visitors in a commanding position at the end of day two.

Neesham’s innings of 107 and a 201-run sixth-wicket partnership with BJ Watling (89) lifted the Black Caps to an imposing total.

Despite an encouraging effort in the morning session when three wickets fell for 20 runs to have New Zealand at 279 for five from their overnight position of 240 for two, the West Indies bowlers again laboured on a benign pitch throughout the afternoon. 

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