Twitter Reactions: Henry Nicholls’ gritty ton keeps New Zealand ahead on Day 1

Twitter Reactions: Henry Nicholls’ gritty ton keeps New Zealand ahead on Day 1

Had West Indies managed to hold on to the many missed chances, they would have been much better placed.

Henry Nicholls
Henry Nicholls. (Photo by MARTY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty Images)

Another juicy green top at the Basin Reserve in the capital city of Wellington that offered a fair bit to the bowlers witnessed some soaking action of cricket on the first day between New Zealand and West Indies. Having won the toss, West Indies elected to field first after making two forced changes as Joshua da Silva, and Chemar Holder made their debut. As for the Kiwis, skipper Williamson – who took leave on account of the birth of his child – was missing and BJ Watling was roped in as the replacement.

Windies’ move of choosing to bowl paid off quite immediately as Shannon Gabriel, who was playing his 50th Test, got a perfect length ball to move in to knock over Tom Blundell’s (14 from 19) stumps. In Williamson’s absence, the duties at number three were rested with Will Young, who survived a riveting passage of the game alongside Tom Latham. Though the two batsmen saw off some great spells of pace bowling, the partnership did not bore too many fruits as Latham (27 from 53) became Chemar Holder’s maiden wicket in the 17th over as he edged a testing-length-ball behind the wicket.

The hosts were pushed into deeper trouble when their mainstay Ross Taylor was undone by a near-unplayable back-of-a-length ball that was angling into the right-hander’s stumps. Gabriel continuously bowled at testing lines and the assistance from the pitch was just sufficient for him to make the batsmen fight hard to bide their time in the middle. At 82/3, West Indies, quite clearly, had an edge over the hosts.

Henry Nicholls stands tall

However, the tide change slightly in the favor of the Kiwis come the second session of the day. Getting a fair bit of luck on their side, the centurion Henry Nicholls was given a life early in his innings, which the batsman materialized to the best of his credit. Nicholls and Young kept them at bay as both the batsmen played and timed the ball beautifully in their 70-run stand. Both of them ensured that they did not allow the bowlers to settle and push them back as they successfully did in the first innings.

Adding 88 in the session, New Zealand went into Tea at 170 for 4, with Young (43 from 87) – who edged one off Gabriel in the second slips to Jason Holder – being the only man to fall in the session. West Indies were way too ordinary in the field – dropping as many as 5 chances, 3 of which were given to Nicholls, who had by then reached his half-century and had set the tone for a big knock in the final session of the day.

Fruitful last session for Kiwis

West Indies struck soon after the break as BJ Watling (30 from 51) was caught behind. In the meanwhile, Nicholls rode on his luck and slammed his 6th ton in the whites. The new man in Daryl Mitchell looked positive and played with intent throughout, and the opponents’ laxity allowed New Zealand to pile up 124 runs in the final session of the day. While Chemar Holder was rewarded for his discipline as he bagged 2, the pick for the day was Gabriel, who got to his 150th Test wicket.

Had West Indies managed to hold on to the many missed chances, they would have been much better placed. Although, they struck right at the brink of stumps. Chemar Holder trapped Mitchell LBW, at the other end, Nicholls stood tall unbeaten at 117. The gripping day came to an end as, despite all the assistance from the track, the visitors managed almost 300 runs at the loss of 6.

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