Windies on the ropes chasing world record target

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HAMILTON, New Zealand, (CMC) – Opener Kieran Powell completed a ‘pair’ to leave West Indies in dire straits in their pursuit of a world record target of 444 runs, after Ross Taylor’s 17th Test hundred put New Zealand in a near invincible position, in the second and final Test here Monday.
Resuming the third day at Seddon Park on 215 for eight in their first innings, West Indies added just six runs before being dismissed for 221, to concede a lead of 152 runs.
The Black Caps then scored at a decent clip to declare at 291 for eight in their second innings, with the outstanding Taylor gathering an unbeaten 107 to join the illustrious Martin Crowe and current captain Kane Williamson at the top of the century-maker’s list for his country.
Left with 40 minutes before close, the Windies lost the left-handed Powell without scoring for the second time in the match when he was squared up by left-arm seamer Trent Boult and caught low down at third slip by Tim Southee.
And left-hander Shimron Hetmyer stroked three fours in a run-a-ball 15 before becoming the second casualty in the day’s penultimate over, loosely driving pacer Southee to Neil Wagner at short extra cover.
Captain Kraigg Brath-waite, unbeaten on 13 at the close, will carry the fight for the Caribbean side heading into Tuesday’s day three, along with Shai Hope on one.
Ironically, the record for the highest run chase is held by West Indies, achieved 14 years ago against Australia in Antigua.
Last August, the Windies chased down 322 on the last day at Headingley to beat England, with both Brathwaite and Hope at the forefront.
Earlier, New Zealand needed just 17 deliveries to finish off the Windies first innings, with Boult bowling both Miguel Cummins (15) and Shannon Gabriel in successive deliveries, to end with four for 73.
Tim Southee (2-34), Colin de Grandhomme (2-40) and Neil Wagner (2-73) all supported with three wickets each.
West Indies then struck early when fast bowler Cummins, who finished with three for 69, removed Jeet Raval for four in the eighth over with 11 on the board, as the left-hander bungled a pull and gave the bowler a return catch.
However, captain Williamson then took the Windies’ momentum away with an urgent 54, anchoring two small stands to lift the Black Caps to 96 for two at lunch.
The right-handed Williamson faced 64 balls and struck eight fours, adding 31 for the second wicket with opener Tom Latham (22) and a further 58 for the third with Taylor.
Cummins broke the stand in the second over after the interval, shattering Williamson’s stumps with a searing yorker before removing Henry Nicholls cheaply for five, but any hopes of engineering a New Zealand collapse were quickly scuppered as Taylor took control of the innings.
Dropped on 35 by Hope at gully off Gabriel, Taylor made the most of his luck to reach his half-century off 119 balls before gathering his second fifty off a mere 53 balls, with a lovely punch down the ground for four off left-arm seamer Raymon Reifer.
All told, Taylor faced 198 balls and struck 11 fours.
Along the way, he posted exactly 50 for the ffith wicket with Mitchell Santner (26) and 51 for the sixth with Colin de Grandhomme (22), as New Zealand pushed their total past 200 in the final session and their lead to over 350.
Tom Blundell (1) and Wagner (8) perished cheaply but Southee caused the Windies frustration at the end, hitting a cavalier unbeaten 22 in an unbroken 34-run, ninth wicket partnership with Taylor.

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