Early wickets will prove crucial for the Black Caps on Monday as they fight to rescue the second cricket Test against the West Indies at Sabina Park in Kingston, pace bowler Tim Southee says.
The West Indies were just 71 runs short of victory at 4-135 at stumps on the third day, Shivnarine Chanderpaul (20) and nightwatchman Kemar Roach (10) steadying the innings after Assad Fudadin and the in-form Marlon Samuels were dismissed in the last session of the day.
New Zealand set the West Indies 206 to win after crumbling to 154 all out in their second innings shortly after lunch on Sunday.
On a Sabina Park pitch not conducive to big scores, the Black Caps made 260 on Friday before their accurate and disciplined seam attack dispatched the Windies for 209 on Saturday.
Although momentum has shifted away from the Kiwis, Southee says it won’t take much for the Black Caps to wrest it back.
“If you look over the last couple of mornings, wickets have fallen early,” he said.
“It’s going to be crucial in that first hour and hopefully we can chip a couple out early tomorrow and then it’s anyone’s game.
“If we can grab Chanderpaul early tomorrow, and a couple of others, we’re right back in it.”
Resuming at 2-59 on Sunday, New Zealand lost their last eight wickets for 95 runs, and Southee says that’s put extra pressure on the bowlers as they work to rescue the match.
“Obviously, we don’t have as many runs as we’d like to play with,” he said.
“Some of the shot selection wasn’t great but the West Indies bowled well – they had to, to get themselves back into the game.”
With a nine-wicket win from the first Test in Antigua last week, a win in the second will lift the West Indies above New Zealand in the ICC’s Test rankings, leaving the Black Caps eighth and ahead only of Bangladesh.