Like every other Basin Reserve test since 2011 (nine of them) the side winning the toss has inserted the opposition.
Typically the pattern has been the side batting first has scored over 400 if they are England or South Africa, or 590 if the side is Bangladesh.
The low first innings scores have tended to come from the home side; 192 v India, 221 v Sri Lanka, 183 v Australia, and 268 v South Africa.
Here the pattern of the former category seemed to be set to reoccur. After a pretty tepid first 90 minutes the West Indies had ambled their way through to 59/0 without either opener being troubled. The bowling wasn’t bad as such, but nothing was being extracted from the seductively green pitch. The ball wasn’t swinging and lateral movement off the pitch was minimal
Pundits were once more bemoaning how that pitch can play tricks with your mind, and this whole send-them-in strategy needed a rethink. Time for a change etc.
Then Wagner, who had not been brought into the attack until the 18th over started bowling like Wagner and things changed. The one thing this pitch does have is pace and bounce.
The first six wickets all fell to short pitched bowling; five fends to close-in fieldsman and Ambris standing so deep in his crease he trod on his stumps..
Either side of lunch the West Indies lost four for five in 16 balls. Most of those were from fending off short deliveries not very well. The Windies batsmen will probably look back on and squirm a little.
When Santner hit the stumps direct at the bowler’s end to run out Dowrich you knew New Zealand was on a bit of a roll.
Given the first 90 minutes rolling the Windies for 134 seemed a bit like a dream. And Williamson owes Wagner a drink or two this evening.
New Zealand didn’t have everything their own way in reply; losing a couple of wickets and scoring at 2.4 RPO. But you would think it should get slightly easier tomorrow.
Sunil Ambris became the first player in test history to be dismissed hit wicket for a golden duck on debut.*
The West Indies lost 9/46 at one stage.
Twice Neil Wagner sat on a hat trick.
Wagner’s 7/39 is the third best bowling figures by a New Zealander at home (behind Sir Paddles 7/23 v India and CL Cairns 7/27 v West Indies in 1999, and the fourth best overall.
He bowled unchanged for 14.4 overs
It was the first time a New Zealander has taken a 7 wicket back at home since 2006.
* Fake news you say? Not at all.