This must be a dizzying time in the Williamson family. It won’t be long before they have a new member, the only one capable of distracting their father from taking the bat and defeating the world.
There is also the potential for celebration on the pitch. A 2-0 sweep of West Indies will place New Zealand at the top of the ICC ranking. But that doesn’t matter as much as reaching a similar position in the World Test Championship points table. The team wants to be at Lord’s by 2021. They’ve said it would be “great” if that happened, which is Kiwi code because we wanted it so badly and we’re going to do everything we can to get it.
So don’t be surprised if the field returns to a creepy green. Wellington is usually one of the highest scoring places in the country but it didn’t start out that way, especially after the West Indies advertised their vulnerability in the most conspicuous way. Score like 138 all-out, then 27 for 4 following invite a do-over.
Holders Jason pointing finger right in the top order batsmen for their woes. Her words make it clear that she is fed up with having to deal with this matter again. Maybe he already knew – or had feelings – what the West Indies had one of the top four worst performers on the cricket test. Over the past five years, only Ireland, fairly new to the format, have been below their hitting average. How do you win with such a handicap?
The last five games are completed, the newest one comes first
New Zealand: WWWLL
West Indies: LLLWW
In the spotlight
In places where fast bowlers get lateral movement at most times of the day, a batsman with their offensive skills becomes invaluable. Darren Bravo have that. But he’s also prone to minor dismissals. One of them sparked a second-half collapse in Hamilton as the pitch died down and the bid went on. Such an experienced player shouldn’t make such mistakes, but because he does, he will be hungry to get things right as quickly as possible.
“Are you playing for Black Caps?” the boy asked. Maybe. We do not have audio of the wonderful conversations taking place on the border line in Hamilton. Luke Ronchi would say no, and point to BJ Watling only then were ambushed for an autograph. This is typical of a man who, despite wearing a head-to-toe cricket outfit, needs help getting recognized and a push to embrace his fame. The goalkeeper-batsman missed the first Test with a hamstring injury but now he’s fit again he’s just walking back to the XI. He’s that good.
Tom Latham will be captain in Williamson’s absence and Will Young will take his place at No. 3. Meanwhile, the Wellington Test will also mark Neil Wagner’s 50th appearance in a white shirt for New Zealand.
New Zealand (possibly): 1 Tom Latham (captain), 2 Tom Blundell, 3 Will Young, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Henry Nicholls, 6 BJ Watling (week), 7 Daryl Mitchell, 8 Kyle Jamieson, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Neil Wagner, 11 Trent Boult
West Indies will also celebrate one of their fast bowlers. Shannon Gabriel will be 50 Tests tomorrow. He will take over as leader of the offensive with Kemar Roach returning home to face his father’s death. Goalkeeper Shane Dowrich was also not available, which gave him a chance Joshua da Silva to make his debut.
West Indies (presumably): 1 John Campbell, 2 Kraigg Brathwaite, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Shamarh Brooks, 5 Roston Chase, 6 Jermaine Blackwood, 7 Joshua da Silva (wk), 8 Jason Holder (capt), 9 Alzarri Joseph, 10 Chemar Holder, 11 Shannon Gabriel
Pitch and Conditions
It will turn green. New Zealand believe that’s when they are playing their best cricket though the preference may have more to do with how nearly every opposition that comes on this beach finds it so difficult to score big goals here. In the last five years, the away team, who hit first, have been eliminated 200 or less 13 times. New Zealand is just an advantage like that three times.
Rain is unlikely to play much of a role in any of these five Test match days.
Statistics and trivia
“I think it’s a bit of a reflection of the recent good performances. Contributing and getting a few appearances. At the same time, it feels a little surreal because, gosh, the whole world has a lot of bowling players of better quality. It’s the lower ranks than me.”
Neil Wagner, bowler No. 2 newly minted in the world
“If 10 years ago, someone told me that I would play 50 Trial games for the West Indies, I would like to know what they are smoking.”
Shannon Gabriel play the game of self-deprecation as well as New Zealanders