New Zealand want winning habit in 3rd WIndies test
HAMILTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s breakthrough win in the second cricket test against the West Indies has given it a taste for victory which it hopes to experience again in the third test that starts at Hamilton on Thursday.
The win at Wellington’s Basin Reserve, by an innings and 83 runs, was New Zealand’s first in more than a year and its first in 11 test matches under the joint stewardship of coach Mike Hesson and captain Brendon McCullum.
New Zealand holds a 1-0 lead in the three-test series and wicketkeeper B.J. Watling said “it’s a great feeling to win test matches. We’ve got ourselves into positions to win two tests now and we’ve got to do it again here.”
The West Indies’ bid to tie the series has been confounded by the suspension of spinner Shane Shillingford for an illegal bowling action.
Shillingford played in the drawn first test at Dunedin and the second test at Wellington while awaiting the results of an independent biomechanical analysis of his action, required after he was reported during the second test against India in Mumbai in mid-November.
The West Indies were optimistic he would be cleared and hopeful of having him in Hamilton. The Dominican off-spinner took 11 wickets in the two-test series against India and had taken five in the first two tests against New Zealand, including four in the second innings at Dunedin.
His loss on the eve of the final test deals a heavy blow to the West Indies’ chances as their bowling attack is already under pressure.
“It’s all disappointment for us but we realize it’s important to focus on the test match starting in a couple of days’ time,” West Indies manager Richie Richardson said. “We need to win this test match and even though we don’t have Shillingford we’ll do it for him.”
Shillingford’s place in the West Indies’ lineup likely will be taken by off-spinner Sunil Narine in a change which might cause some anxiety to the New Zealand batsmen. Narine has taken only 15 wickets in his five tests to date but he took 12 of those in the West Indies’ two-test series against New Zealand at home last year.
Pitch and overhead conditions at Hamilton’s Seddon Park are more likely to support swing and seam bowling than spinners. New Zealand’s new-ball pair of Trent Boult and Tim Southee have taken 15 and 11 wickets respectively in the series so far and the home side is unlikely to depart from a successful formula.
“I don’t think too much will change,” Watling said. “We’ve got to be positive — five days’ cricket is a long time and we’re definitely coming out here to win.”
Watling said the contribution of the New Zealand batsmen had been vital. After losing the toss and being asked to bat in both of the first two tests, New Zealand scored 609-9 at Dunedin and 441 at Wellington.
“We’re scoring 400-plus regularly over the last year,” he said. “The key is to do it again here in Hamilton and that obviously sets you up for the game, where you can either win it or you can put them under pressure with the ball.”