Black Caps dominate day two of second test against West Indies

Author
Dylan Cleaver, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 13 Dec 2020, 10:23AM
Kyle Jamieson celebrates the wicket of Jason Holder. Photo / Photosport
Kyle Jamieson celebrates the wicket of Jason Holder. Photo / Photosport

Black Caps dominate day two of second test against West Indies

Author
Dylan Cleaver, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 13 Dec 2020, 10:23AM

Deep down, when Kyle Jamieson hit Jermaine Blackwood on the pads, searching for his second hat-trick of a golden summer, he knew the ball was missing.

"Yeah, yeah, I did," he said with a grin.

Still, he wasn't about to tell captain Tom Latham, who wasted a review in what was possibly the only misstep New Zealand has made in this test.

"It was more playing up for the crowd. It was such a great atmosphere. We thought, 'Why not? Let's give it a shot,' but it did a little too much unfortunately."

That one didn't go his way but five did. After contributing to crushing West Indian spirits with bat as New Zealand went on a run-scoring spree in the morning session, Jamieson came back to kill off any hope with 5-34 in 13 overs where it felt like every ball could claim a wicket.

With Tim Southee doing Tim Southee things (3-29), New Zealand now holds an impregnable position in this test that could end tomorrow and will certainly not last five barring a miracle or unforecasted weather bomb.

When a series is as one-sided as this one, it is tempting to write off the opposition as substandard but it increasingly feels like a disservice to the Black Caps. They have been a juggernaut that has relentlessly and remorselessly crushed any ambition the West Indies – who won a test in England this winter – might have harboured.

They have done it by building big first-innings totals on green pitches by building partnerships around one big innings.

They have done it by bowling in pairs; by swinging the ball when it's there to be swung and by hitting the pitch in the right areas at the right pace when it's not.

They have done it, apart from a one bad session in Hamilton, by holding on to most things that fly through the air.

The West Indies look thoroughly dispirited now. Coach Phil Simmons cut a forlorn figure at the close of play and could only offer a "we have to bat better" as a means of response.

Blackwood's robust half-century was the only thing standing between the West Indies and utter capitulation.

They're far from a well-oiled machine but even if they were it's unlikely they'd be able to keep pace with a side that is not just happier, but more talented.

Yet 24 hours ago they might have felt like they had a fingerhold in this test and, therefore, the series. They needed quick wickets with the second new ball but it didn't happen.

"It started with our batting effort," Jamieson noted. "That first hour was crucial, not losing a wicket and the way Wags and Henry [Nicholls] put the icing on the cake set us up to come out and bowl."

Ah yes, Neil Wagner.

He strode to the crease at 359-8 with the sort of pep in his step you'd associate with a teenager who's just been rung by his girlfriend with news that her parents are out for the evening.

He left 42 balls later with 66 not out, his first test 50 and somehow managed to overshadow Nicholls' test high score of 174.

"It was great entertainment for everybody, for the crowd first and foremost and then us in the changing room," Jamieson said. "He was nervous when he came off [for lunch] at 48 not out. He had Trent Boult and Southee in his ear giving him a bit of stick."

Those three, whose fortunes often seem tied together with the ball, can all claim a test half-century now.

It's for bowling they're paid money for though and they have a fourth musketeer in their club.

"It's cool to be part of a four-pronged attack but I [consider] myself very much the fourth prong," Jamieson said. "You look at Tim, Trent and Wags and the way they've gone about their business in the last [decade] and it's been nothing short of world class.

"To firstly be in the environment around those guys you learn so much and to come on and bowl off the back of what those guys are doing, it makes my job a little bit easier. I just find myself very fortunate to play in the same team as those guys.

"Three of New Zealand's greatest ever quicks."

They have more bowling to do before this is wrapped up, but whether they will get a rest first is undecided.

Tom Latham will almost certainly be faced with a decision tomorrow morning as to whether to enforce the follow on. It feels almost academic; the result, barring an unforeseen miracle, will be the same either way.