Neesham scores century as NZ take control of first test
All-rounder Jimmy Neesham became the first New Zealander, and just the eighth player overall, to score centuries in each of his first two tests as the tourists ended the second day of the first test against West Indies with a huge first innings lead.
Neesham, who scored 137 not out on debut against India in February, was dismissed for 107 after sharing a 201-run partnership with wicketkeeper BJ Watling (89) to take the visitors to 508 for seven declared at Sabina Park in Kingston.
West Indies openers Chris Gayle (eight) and Kieran Powell (11) guided the hosts to 19 without loss at stumps, still 489 runs in arrears, though Powell should have been dismissed on eight when he was dropped by Peter Fulton at second slip off Tim Southee.
“It’s very pleasing obviously,” Neesham said of his achievement. “Individual stuff is nice but you play the game to win and that’s what’s most important.
“It’s quite a flat wicket but there is some turn and bounce if the bowlers put the ball in the right area so if we can get some early wickets tomorrow it will be interesting if we could put them under pressure.”
The lefthander and Watling resurrected New Zealand’s innings when the Kiwis lost three wickets for 20 runs in the first session on Monday after they had resumed on 240 for two.
First day centurion Kane Williamson failed to pick a Sulieman Benn arm ball and was bowled without playing a shot for 113 to leave the visitors on 259 for three before Ross Taylor (55) was deceived by a Shane Shillingford flighted delivery and spooned an easy catch to Kirk Edwards at midwicket.
Captain Brendon McCullum then fell for seven when he was caught by Gayle at first slip to leave the hosts on 279 for five and in danger of undoing their good work on a slow and low pitch.
Neesham and Watling guided their side through to lunch and accelerated in the middle session, scoring 129 runs in 28 overs to put New Zealand in the box seat.
The 23-year-old Neesham brought up his hundred with a cover drive for two runs off Jerome Taylor before he was Benn’s third wicket when he got a faint edge to a delivery that was taken by Denesh Ramdin.
Watling was the last wicket to fall, hitting out in an effort to reach his fourth test century when he was caught in the deep off Shillingford to trigger the declaration.
The only other players to score hundreds in their first two tests are Mohammad Azharuddin, who also scored a century in his third test, as well as Bill Ponsford, Doug Walters, Alvin Kallicharran, Greg Blewett, Sourav Ganguly and Rohit Sharma.