Roach and Best put Windies on top on Day 1

Tino Best marked his return to Test cricket with 2-40. The livewire Best also completed an athletic piece of work at cover to run out topscorer Martin Guptill with a direct hit. Off-spinner Narsingh Deonarine bowled well to take 2-43 as the visitors folded on the opening day. The West Indies reached 11 without loss at the close, with first Test century-makers Kieran Powell (10 not out) and Chris Gayle (one not out) set to resume on Friday.

Roach and Best shared the new ball and each took an early wicket as West Indies put New Zealand on the backfoot in the first hour. The visitors recovered to reach 152 for three at tea. After the break, however, the West Indies bounced back in emphatic fashion to take the last seven wickets for under 100 runs.

West Indies Win 02“I would rate today’s effort as a good performance. It was not an easy pitch to bowl on – it offered some moisture in the early stages, but then it flattened out and made batting quite easy,” Roach said. “I put in the work, reaped some reward and I’m pleased with four wickets. We bowled them out for 260 and that is good for us. They batted pretty well early on and we had to change our plans and come back at them in the final session.”

Roach was full of praise for the persevering Best and said his effort was exactly what the West Indies needed on the opening day.

“His pace was ‘up’ and he troubled the batsmen. I would say he was the pick of the bowlers for us. The role he played was fantastic out there today. It was pretty hot as well and he maintained his energy levels. That’s how Tino plays … wholehearted every day.”

Best, who replaced the injured Ravi Rampaul in this match, got an early wicket when he produced a superb outswinger to have Brendon McCullum taken behind by Denesh Ramdin. He returned to produce another good ball which skipper Ross Taylor edged to the keeper. Best said he was pleased to support Roach, who earlier this week vaulted into the Top 10 of the International Cricket Council’s Test Match rankings.

West Indies Win 03“I was happy to get the new ball and run in and look for wickets. I told myself to stay focussed and try to get the ball in the right areas. I was happy when I got McCullum early as that gave us a good start after we won the toss and put them it,” Best said.

“After that it got harder, but I still kept my pace up and kept running in. In the end I was pleased with my effort. Kemar was excellent and just keeps getting better as a bowler for us. I’m pleased for him. In our team we enjoy each other’s success and I was happy to support him today.

“We’re 1-0 up in the series and we have put ourselves in a good position in this match. To get 10 wickets on the first day is good, anyone would take that. We will look to build on the second day and push forward.”

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