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New Zealand v Windies, 1st Test – 5 Talking Points

New Zealand beat Windies by an innings and 67 runs.

Tom Blundell of New Zealand
Tom Blundell of New Zealand is all smiles as he leaves the field with teammates. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

It was an outcome of familiar sorts for the unpredictable Windies unit against New Zealand in the first Test. Arriving in to the series, the Windies came with a promise to show some stiff competition to the hosts. However, as the game progressed, they found themselves playing the catching game for most part of the match. The visitors had very few moments of dominance in the match.

On the contrary, New Zealand proved yet again why they can be an unstoppable force in their backyard. With a grand home season coming up after this series, the Windies series seems to be the ideal platform for the Kiwis to gain some confidence ahead of the coming fixtures. Talking about the match, the hosts won the toss and opted to bowl first on a green track.

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As expected, the Windies batters struggled big time and perished for a paltry total of 134 runs. Neil Wagner was the wrecker-in-chief for New Zealand in the innings. In response, twin tons from the Kiwis’ lower middle order batsman set the tone for a massive first innings lead. The lead was a little too much for the visitors and they succumbed to an innings defeat.

Here are the 5 Talking Points from the match:

1. Familiar Windies batting collapse, Wagner bags 7

Over the last few years, one of the prime reasons for the faltering Windies form in the longest form of the game has been their batting. The unpredictable nature of the batting is often evident from the collapses that they suffer. In the first innings, they got off to a decent start with 59 runs added by the openers. But once both openers got out, the entire batting lineup could only add 75 more runs to the total.

Only the openers could breach the 20-run mark. It was Neil Wagner’s seven wicket haul that crushed wreaked havoc on the first day of the Test match. Wagner returned with impressive figures of 7/39 in the 14.4 overs that he bowled.

2. Strong Kiwi response

While the Windies batsmen largely struggled to get their act together, the hosts had a merry time with the bat. Barring skipper Kane Williamson, who got out for 1, all other top order batsmen got amongst the runs. Openers Tom Latham and Jeet Raval scored 37 and 42 respectively, and added 65 runs for the first wicket.

Veteran campaigner Ross Taylor plundered a timely 93. Henry Nicholls also used his opportunity at number 5 to good use with 67 to his name. Meanwhile, the Windies bowling line up had very little to offer on the lively track. Perhaps, they could have surprised the opposition with some spin.

3. Grandhomme, Blundell provide final flourish tons

The top order batsmen had good time at the crease. But the actual impetus to the innings was provided by lower middle-order batsmen – Colin de Grandhomme and Tom Blundell. Both batsmen hammered tons to propel the New Zealand to 520/9. The tons were nonidentical in nature though. Colin de Grandhomme absolutely blew away the opposition with his hard hitting.

He smashed a quick fire 105 off just 74 balls with 11 fours and 3 sixes to his name. He batted with a strike rate of over 140 in the innings. On the contrary, Tom Blundell played the waiting game. His 107 came off 180 deliveries. Blundell hit 13 fours and a solitary six in his knock.

4. Brathwaite’s resistance

After watching the New Zealand pile on runs at will, the Windies camp believed that the track had eased out a little in terms of being batting friendly. Their openers showed resistance yet again. But they could not quite hold to the pressure of a huge lead to overhaul.

Kraigg Brathwaite, the opener, showed some serious spirit and temperament to stay at the crease for 221 deliveries. Brathwaite scored a fighting 91 with 8 fours and a six during his stay at the crease. He lost partners from the other end and eventually was trapped lbw by Mitchell Santner.

5. A little too much for the Windies

All in all, one could easily deduce that the ask was a little too much for the visitors. Brathwaite and Kieran Powell provided yet another decent fifty-plus stand. Shimron Heytmer also played well for his 66 that came off 89 deliveries. Shai Hope showed resistance and slowed down the proceedings with his 125-ball 37 too. But the wickets kept tumbling as New Zealand bowlers found ways to penetrate through the inexperienced Windies lineup. Windies bundled out for 319 in the second innings to concede an innings victory.

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