Wellington, Dec 11 (IANS) Left-handed batsman Henry Nicholls on Friday scored an unbeaten century to help New Zealand take the upper hand on Day One of the second and final Test against West Indies at the Basin Reserve.
Put into bat, the Black Caps reached 294/6 at Stumps with Nicholls and Kyle Jamieson remaining unbeaten.
Dropped twice on 47 by Darren Bravo at first slip, Nicholls punished the West Indies’ generosity to end 117 not out. Alongside him was Kyle Jamieson at 1*.
Playing without their regular skipper Kane Williamson, who has gone to Tauranga to be with his pregnant wife, the hosts were provided with a decent start with Tom Latham and wicket-keeper Tom Blundell adding 31 runs for the opening wicket.
West Indies pacer Shannon Gabriel drew the first blood when he sent Blundell back to the New Zealand dressing room at his individual score of 14. Latham, who is leading the side in Williamson’s absence, didn’t stay long enough after that and became the first scalp of Chemar Holder. Latham scored 27 runs off the 53 deliveries he faced.
Experienced Ross Taylor (9 off 12) also didn’t contribute much as Gabriel had him caught by Joshua Da Silva, leaving New Zealand in a spot at 78/3.
However, Will Young and Nicholls shared a 60-run partnership to steady the innings. Young played some beautiful shots during the course of 43-run knock before he became the third scalp of Gabriel.
BJ Watling (30) and Daryl Mitchell (42) then shared crucial partnerships with Nicholls who brought his sixth Test century after facing 179 balls. This was his first 50-plus score in 13 Test innings.
Jamieson, alongside Nicholls, then took the hosts at the end of the day having an upper hand, considering no team batting first in the past five Basin Tests has topped 300.
For the visitors, Gabriel was the pick of the bowlers as he returned with figures of 3/57 in his 18 overs while Chemar scalped two wickets, conceding 65 runs in the 18 overs he bowled. Alzarri Joseph also picked a wicket.
Brief scores: New Zealand 294/6 at Stumps on Day One (Henry Nicholls 117*, Will Young 43; Shannon Gabriel 3/57)