Captains Kane Williamson and Jason Holder each wished to win the toss and bowl on Thursday on a luminous green pitch at Seddon Park on the first day of the primary cricket Test between New Zealand and the West Indies.
Holder is known as accurately, eagerly despatched in New Zealand, and Williamson completed the day 97 not out — approaching his 21st Test century — with Ross Taylor 31 not out and the home crew 243 for 2.
It could have been small comfort to Holder that each astute and skilled captains completely misinterpret the pitch.
He would have been much less happy that his bowlers largely misused it and located themselves with their backs to the wall at stumps.
Carpet of grass
The pitch was totally carpeted with grass, nearly mixing into the outfield, and was so smooth that even on the finish of a primary session prolonged to 2 hours, 50 minutes — after the beginning of the play was delayed by rain — the ball appeared nearly new. It was nonetheless attainable to learn the vivid gold lettering on its red surface.
It will have been simple at first look to imagine the ball would fly in regards to the batsman’s ears and seam prodigiously. As a substitute, it supplied sluggish seam and solely occasional deliveries that reared from a size. Effort balls did fly however not menacingly.
After the early lack of Will Young for five on Test debut, Williamson and Tom Latham dug in and added 154 for New Zealand’s second wicket to subdue any of the hazards the pitch appeared more likely to current.
“I felt like I used to be hitting the ball fairly effectively,” Latham stated. “In case your can belief your positions on a pitch like this and get a little bit of luck, then hopefully issues go your means and I used to be simply glad to contribute in the present day.”
Latham had a serious piece of luck when he feathered a prime edge catch to wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich off Holder’s bowling when he was 45 within the 32nd over. The bowler and the West Indies cordon, aside from Darren Bravo, didn’t trouble to enchantment.
Latham stated the pitch supplied some challenges however no actual menace.
“I believe these days on our wickets they are usually a bit greener,” Latham stated. “However there was most likely a bit extra grass on this Hamilton wicket than we’ve historically seen prior to now.
“It most likely had a bit extra tempo than we’re used to seeing as effectively. It supplied a bit of bit however not as a lot as we thought.
Latham was finally bowled by Kemar Roach for 86 putting New Zealand 168 for 2.
Sometimes affected person
Williamson was usually an affected person and technically adept, although the ball sometimes beat his outdoors edge. He largely performed the ball late and beneath his eyes, utilizing smooth fingers to mute any surprising bounce.
The West Indies bowlers have been by no means dominant however sometimes aggressive. Full and straight appeared one of the best components early on however the tourists too typically fell brief, feeding Latham and Williamson’s strengths sq. of the wicket.
Shannon Gabriel, who captured Young’s wicket within the fourth over, completed with one for 62, Roach with one for 53, and Holder put in an extended shift, bowling 19 overs in heat circumstances and ending with none for 25.
Scoring wasn’t at all times simple however Latham and Williamson’s innate persistence was rewarded. Latham took 126 balls to achieve his 19th half-century in Tests, then grew to become extra fluent and moved shortly forward of Williamson. He appeared comfy earlier than he was bowled by Roach, who was helped by an inside edge.
Williamson was becalmed for 24 deliveries on 49 throughout among the finest passages of play for the West Indies, who strung collectively a collection of maiden overs. He went on to a half-century from 134 balls and appeared poised at stumps so as to add to his report a variety of Test centuries for New Zealand.
New Zealand will play two-Test the collection towards the West Indies, then Pakistan at the home this summer season. If it might probably sweep each it has an opportunity of achieving the No. 1 world rating for the primary time and it’ll strengthen its probabilities of reaching the final of the World Test Championship subsequent yr.
The West Indies is chasing its first win in New Zealand since 1995. The day ended with additional concern for the tourists when Bravo was assisted from the field with an injured ankle.