First Test – West Indies v New Zealand

Sabina Park, Jamaica, 8th-12th June 2014

While for some reason Fox Sports are not showing the England v Sri Lanka Test series in Australia (a long time since an England home Test hasn’t been available), they are broadcasting the three Test series in the Caribbean featuring the hosts and the touring New Zealanders. A West Indian home series is good early morning viewing before work (play usually ends at 8 AM) or a good chance to see the first session if you are up late. I managed to do quite a bit of both.

A good toss for the Kiwis to win on a docile pitch. Long gone are the days of a bouncy, glass like Sabina Park pitch. The tourists racked up an impressive 7/508 declared in their first innings. Kane Williamson, one of the best young batsman in world cricket, top scored with 113, the 23 year old’s sixth Test ton. Technically correct, a superb driver of the ball, he has made number 3 his own. Jimmy Neesham, another 23 year old who burst onto the scene in the last Test the Kiwis played with an unbeaten 137 off 154 balls against India in Wellington (the same innings Brendon McCullum made 302), made it two centuries in his first two Tests with 107 off 171 balls. The Otago left handed all-rounder is probably only in the team due to the abscence, by injury, of another extremely talented 23 year old all-rounder in Corey Anderson. He’s making the most of his chances.

Tom Latham came into the team to open ahead of incumbent Hamish Rutherford and the left hander impressed with 83 in just his second Test match. Wicket-keeper BJ Watling made 89 and former skipper Ross Taylor 55, as the Black Caps set an imposing first innings total. Spinners Sulieman Benn (3/142) and Shane Shillingford (3/145) took six of the seven wickets to fall. Quicks Jerome Taylor and Kemar Roach bowled tightly and with good pace on an unresponsive wicket.

Chris Gayle was back in the West Indies Test team for his 100th Test and passed 7000 career runs in his innings of 64. However it is Shivnarine Chanderpaul, again, who had to battle to give the Windies some respectability. The left hander from Guyana, who turns 40 in August, is still by far the best West Indian Test batsman. While there is not much competition, he’s still as effective as he’s ever been in his 154th Test. Chanderpaul remained unbeaten on 84 as his team collapsed around him to be all out for 262. New Windies skipper Dinesh Ramdin makes 39 in the only other worthwhile contribution. For the Kiwis Tim Southee continues his rise as a world class fast bowler with 4/19, while debutante Otago off-spinner Mark Craig took 4/91.

New Zealand looked to score quick runs in their second dig but struggled along to make 8/156 before declaring. Tom Latham was the main contributor with his second half century for the match, a well-made 73. The Latham name is a familiar New Zealand cricketing name: you may remember his father Rod Latham, who played four Tests and 33 ODI’s for the Black Caps in the early 1990s, including opening the batting with Mark Greatbatch in New Zealand’s 1992 World Cup campaign and making his only Test century (119) against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo.

Jerome Taylor (3/28) and Kemar Roach (2/12) finally got some reward for their excellent fast bowling. In these times of Windies players seemingly lacking passion for their regional team and prefering the lure of global T20 tournaments, it was heartening to see Roach kiss the West Indies badge on his shirt after taking one of his wickets.

Set 403 to win, the Windies were all out for 216. That total was very much boosted by tail-ender Shane Shillingford slapping the second fastest 50 in Test history (25 balls) in his unbeaten 53. Skipper Ramdin made 34 and Chanderpaul contributed 24. Mark Craig took 4/97 to give him 8/188 for the match and the man-of-the-match award on debut. An off-spinner with a very front-on action who got his chance because of the lack of Daniel Vettori’s fitness and Jeethan Patel opting to play County cricket instead. He may be hard to remove. Indian-born 21 year old leg-spinner Ish Sodhi took 3/42 and Tim Southee added two more wickets to his first innings haul.

A very good team performance by the Kiwis. A talented team very much on the up. They’ll be very hard to beat over the next few years, especially in New Zealand.


NEW ZEALAND 7/508 dec. (KS Williamson 113, JDS Neesham 107, BJ Watling 89, TWM Latham 83, SJ Benn 3/142, S Shillingford 3/145) &

8/156 dec. (TWM Latham 83, JE Taylor 3/28, KAJ Roach 2/12) def.

WEST INDIES 262 (S Chanderpaul 84*, CH Gayle 64, D Ramdin 39, TG Southee 4/19, MD Craig 4/91) &

216 (S Shillingford 53*, D. Ramdin  34, MD Craig 4/97, IS Sodhi 3/42, TG Southee 2/32)

New Zealand won by 186 runs




About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134


  1. E.regnans says

    Ahh, excellent report Luke.
    The way New Zealand seem to get the young ‘uns in there is admirable.

    But what on the wide blue Earth can you make of this: “… Jeethan Patel opting to play County cricket instead…” ??
    Is it possible to explain that using only the tools of logic and reason?

  2. Thanks Luke

    A pity the England Sri Lanka series isn’t on, sounds like it is a tense and dramatic series, late umpring decisions from Pistol nearly changing an incredible draw.

    Interesting to see Prior back and Root doing well.

    As a cricket of some renown, what’s your view of the Mankad issue in the ODI?


  3. Shillingford, a name from the Windies teams of the 1960’s & 1970’s. Firstly there was Grayson, a medium pacer,later Irving a batsman. Thus Luke, may i ask, which one of those two players is the father of Shane ?

    Good seeing the Kiwis doing well. i don’t think they have ever won a test series in the Windies. Maybe their peformance in the 1971-72 tour where they drew the 5 test seried, 0-all, with all the tests drawn, has been their best performance in the Windies.


  4. Chanderpaul is one of the best of all time. Underrated. They tried to get him to retire 10 yrs ago and luckily he fought on. The Kiwis are in trouble in Test 2

  5. Chanderpaul is clearly the Windies best batsmen in recent years, but how does he stack up against Lara?

    One has longevity, and consistency, the other had a career, though it was no where near as long, that saw him create records like very few others in cricket history.

    Interesting comparing their careers, and influence on West Indian cricket. How will history judge them?


  6. Luke Reynolds says

    E.regnans- Jeetan Patel opting to play county cricket, West Indian Sunil Narine choosing the IPL final over this Test match are occurrences that are becoming more frequent in the cricketing world. Especially for countries like New Zealand, West Indies and Sri Lanka whose players aren’t played as well as the Australians, Indians etc. I don’t like it but think we will see more of it.

    Sean- have always been anti Mankad but have changed my opinion. Non strikers are now backing up a long way in limited over games to try and sneak extra runs and often do it unfairly. Jos Buttler is a serial offender, was warned so I have no trouble with his dismissal.

    Glen- neither Grayson nor Irvine Shillingford is Shane Shillingfords father, but they are related. Not sure how.
    Re Lara v Chanderpaul, very different players, Lara will be more highly regarded for his record breaking innings and match winning innings. Both wonderful players unlucky to play most of their cricket in ordinary Windies teams.

    Spot on re Chanderpaul Raj. Bit more life in this second test pitch.

  7. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Great summary Luke the kiwis have for a while now been discovering young talent and batting above there weight re population . Williamson is a fine player , Neesham and with , Taylor , McCullum , Latham , Anderson and others have the backbone of a strong batting line up for quite a while . While there bowling lacks a express quick
    Southee continue to improve , Vettori to come back in would help . I detest players going for the cash instead of playing test cricket but loyalty is eroding away .
    Chanderpaul continues to be a fantastic player and in General gets the job done in general it is just so sad the state of the , West Indies cricket , Raj with Gayle already out , 220 odd may be enough re , 2nd test thanks , Luke

  8. Glen Potter says

    Fantastic stuff, Luke.
    Isn’t it great to have players in whites and using a red ball? Missed it immensely.
    Agree with you on Eng v Sri Lanka Fox debacle. Bloody frustrating.
    I’ve always been a mankadder. I figured the backing-up batsman who pushed the envelope too far was always trying to get an unfair advantage.
    What are your thoughts on Sulieman Benn? I reckon he bowls too fast. I’d rather he slow it down a bit and try and get a bit of grip.

  9. Gregor Lewis says

    Great report Luke.

    Gotta say, I’m more than a little excited the Kiwis have developed some viable young talent. A genuine back & forth, Home & Away Trans Tasman series would be a welcome addition to the modern day Test calendar.

    The absences you note are entirely expected, especially from two of the weakest National Cricket Boards – economically speaking.

    Don’t know what can be done with the Windies. The Atlas lifting of the successive ‘golden generations’, from the 70’s to early 90’s, has been well & truly shrugged by successive inept administrations.

    The seeming intractability of the Cricket Board there seems to have contributed mightily. But, I say that very much as an outsider, with no true sense of the climate of the perennial internal machinations.

    Luke, or anyone else who knows more about this … Can you please advise re- your opinion?

    Bad administration. Cashed up players holding cash-strapped Boards to ransom, or a bit of both?

    Thanks again for the update Luke, and thanks everybody for the genuine discussion!


  10. Luke Reynolds says

    Thanks Malcolm. Some real depth to kiwi cricket now too, players missing out include Guptill, Ryder, Ronchi, Vettori, Nathan McCullum, Wagner and Bracewell.

    Glen, it sure is great to see the red ball and white clothing back out on the field. Very frustrating Eng v SL not being shown on Fox. Agree with you on Sulieman Benn, bowls ways too quickly and doesn’t get the full advantage he could from his height.

    Cheers Gregor. I’m of the opinion the Trans Tasman Test matches could be done a whole lot better, even a one off Test every year, alternating between the two countries might add some spark to it with every Test between the two played for the trophy. Would work out to 4 Tests in 4 years, which is basically what we are getting now anyway. From what I can gather the West Indies board is a dysfunctional rabble who have no idea how to develop players, organise proper underage competitions and manage finances. The former great players are rarely called in to help with coaching, admin, etc. And its been this way for a very long time now.

  11. Great stuff, and thanks for your efforts, Luke.

    It is interesting to see that the Windies have the upper hand at present in the 2nd Test: a 90-run lead with 5 wickets in hand, including Chanderpaul.

    Even as a ‘batsman’, I am pro-Mankad, especially in these days of non-strikers taking too great a liberty when backing up.

    What we all sometimes forget is that the islands which make up the West Indies are all 3rd World countries. We fail to understand where these players have come from, and that the renumeration they are now being offered to forego playing for their country is life-altering. Really, it is a no-brainer of a decision for them.

  12. Luke Reynolds says

    Thanks Smokie.

    As someone who grew up watching the Windies in the mid to late 1980’s and onwards they were almost God-like figures. As I grew up to find out these guys were from poor countries seemed hard to believe. Their gold chains and swagger had convinced me otherwise. Would love to see the West Indies have another great era but sadly can’t see it happening.

  13. Andrew Starkie says

    Shit, you’re keen.

  14. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Luke, great report. I miss the days when I thought the Windies were unbeatable. They gave Australian cricket the boot in the backside it needed in the late 80’s. Here is my recollection of the times:

  15. Luke Reynolds says

    Andrew- spot on! Maybe too much so. Had a couple of months of no cricket…

    Thanks Phil. I miss the Windies being being a force too. Absolutely loved your article. Thanks for the link.

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