New Zealand 519 for 7 dec (Williamson 251, Latham 86, Jamieson 51*, Roach 3-114, Gabriel 3-89) beat West Indies 138 (Southee 4-35, Jamieson 2-25, Wagner 2-33) and 247 (f/o) (Blackwood 104, Joseph 86, Wagner 4-66, Jamieson 2-42) by an innings and 134 runs
In the end, it ended with a full ball from Neil Wagner. The man who has turned bowling sustained short-ball spells into an art form got six wickets in New Zealand’s first Test victory over West Indies, and only one of them via a short ball. It was the kind of end that was strangely fitting in a Test that New Zealand dominated, as evidenced by their victory margin of an innings and 134 runs, but where they were made to stretch themselves a bit further than they would have imagined. It still ended up being New Zealand’s biggest win over West Indies in terms of innings victories, and their fifth biggest ever.
West Indies had got through the first hour of the fourth day with the overnight pair of Jermaine Blackwood and Alzarri Joseph still together. Not only had their partnership crossed 150 – more than the entire first-innings total West Indies mustered – but Blackwood had also progressed to a second Test century. The clouds that had gathered for much of the third day had given way to bright sunshine on day four, and both Blackwood and Joseph continued to be positive. That didn’t mean they attacked indiscriminately, but they were assured while defending and leaving the ball, and full of punch when putting it away.
Blackwood showed great control of his game, not shelving his aggressive instincts but picking his moments well. He had a bit of luck early on when Tim Southee got one to shape away beautifully in the channel and draw a leaden-footed drive, but New Zealand’s catching woes that dogged them in the latter part of West Indies’ second innings continued, as Ross Taylor put down a straightforward chance at first slip. That was Blackwood’s only blemish in the first hour, and he got to his century via the patient route, through singles rather than any ambitiously aimed big shots.
Joseph, who had crossed fifty in a Test match for the first time, was impressive too. He showed sound judgement of his off stump when leaving the ball, and had a full range of shots. When defending he got behind the line, and when a few balls were banged in short to him, he carted them in the arc between backward square leg and deep midwicket. He had shown vulnerability against the short ball earlier, but for that to come into play the bowlers needed to get it up to his throat. When the short ball sat up, Joseph was not hanging back.
The seventh-wicket stand kept flourishing until Kyle Jamieson made the breakthrough. He had pushed Joseph on the back foot on the third day, and when he dangled one full and wide, Joseph went for it without the balance being quite right. He ended up slicing it off the toe end to deep cover to end a 155-run stand. After that the end was swift. Wagner got his only wicket with a ball pitched in his half when Blackwood miscued a pull to backward square leg, cramped for room. In the same over, a fast and full delivery took out last-man Shannon Gabriel’s stumps to give Wagner his fourth for the innings.
New Zealand had only needed nine wickets to bowl West Indies out in both innings with wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich absent hurt both times, having injured his hand on the first day while keeping. West Indies captain Jason Holder later said it wasn’t still certain whether Dowrich would be fit in time for the second and final Test, starting on December 11 in Wellington.
Kane Williamson was the undisputed Man of the Match for his masterful 251. Wagner’s 4 for 66 were the best figures in the second innings, while Southee’s 4 for 35 in the first innings had set up West Indies’ collapse.
Bangladesh vs Australia T20Is, 2021
The 1994 tour to Pakistan was the last time a full series was not available to viewers in Australia
For the first time since 1994 a tour by the Australia men’s team will not broadcast into Australia after a last-minute deal failed to materialise for the rights to the T20I series in Bangladesh.
It had been hoped that in the absence of a traditional television deal the series would be streamed on YouTube but there was no live coverage into Australia.
While the occasional one-off limited-overs match has not been seen in Australia over the last few years, it is not since the 1994 tour of Pakistan that an entire series won’t have been shown.
The majority of Australia’s tours are broadcast by Fox Sports who secured the recent series against West Indies just a couple of days before it started but a similar outcome has not happened for Bangladesh.
The ongoing Olympics that is taking most of the attention, the 1am finish time of the matches in Bangladesh and the fact Australia are missing a host of first-choice players may also have been factors in the attractiveness of the series. However, it also highlights what is likely to become an increasingly challenging broadcast market, particularly for perceived lower-key tours.
The series will be the last chance for both sides to work on plans and assess players ahead of the T20 World Cup in October. It was confirmed on Monday that Bangladesh’s proposed series against England of three T20Is and three ODIs in late September had been postponed until March 2023.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
IPL 2021 – Eoin Morgan to return to Kolkata Knight Riders for second half of IPL
He says involvement of other England players in the tournament, scheduled in September-October in the UAE, was a matter of personal choice
England were due to play three ODIs and three T20Is in Bangladesh in September-October but the ECB and the BCB released statements on Tuesday morning confirming that they had “mutually decided” to postpone the tour until March 2023. The IPL is due to resume on September 19 after its postponement midway through the season earlier this year, with the tour’s postponement opening up the opportunity for England’s white-ball players to take part ahead of the T20 World Cup in the UAE.
Speaking after his London Spirit side were beaten by Northern Superchargers in the Hundred at Lord’s on Tuesday night, Morgan confirmed that he intends to return to captain the Knight Riders in the rest of the IPL, and said that the involvement of other England players with contracts in the tournament was a matter of personal choice.
“It’s a complete individual decision,” Morgan said. “I think it was a win-win either way. If we went to Bangladesh we’d play in conditions that are foreign to us. If some guys go to the IPL, they’ll play in similar conditions [to the World Cup] or for guys that need a rest, they take a rest.
“We’ve a lot of cricket to play between now and then. We’ve planned on the tour going ahead – that’s been part of our planning for a long time now – but equally, given the nature in which we now compete and live our lives, it’s not a bad thing for guys to either take time off or go to the IPL if they feel refreshed and have enough energy.”
England’s only two remaining T20I fixtures before the World Cup starts on October 17 are due to be played in Pakistan on October 14 and 15, with the ECB and the PCB both confident that the tour will go ahead. The IPL final is also due to be played on October 15, creating a possible clash for any players whose franchises reach that stage of the tournament.
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98
James Anderson admits his wife talked him out of retirement after injury setbacks
England seamer says he struggled after calf problem forced him out of 2019 Ashes
Anderson managed just four overs in the 2019 Ashes after a recurrence of a calf injury ruled him out in the opening moments of the first Test. In the aftermath, he concedes he was struggling with the prospect of more rehabilitation work and it required the intervention of his wife, Daniella, to persuade him to continue.
He has claimed 42 more Test wickets at a cost of 23.00 since then, becoming the only seamer in Test history to reach the milestone of 600 wickets.
“A big reason I am still playing cricket is my wife,” Anderson said ahead of the first LV= Insurance Test against India at Trent Bridge. “She’s been really supportive.
“When I pulled my calf in the first Ashes Test, it was the second or third time I had pulled my calf and I was really considering whether I wanted to go through the rehab again. She basically took us away on holiday and told me to stop being silly. She told me to carry on.
“Of course there have been difficult moments. I think everyone goes through it playing professional sport, whether you are out of form, have a loss of confidence or if it’s injuries. There are all sorts of things you have to deal with. For me it’s about having a good support network: friends and family that you can rely on and lean on.
“My wife has been really supportive. She wants me to keep playing; she encourages me to keep playing. She’s quite happy for me not to be around the house I think.”
Despite his age – he celebrated his 39th birthday a few days ago – Anderson dismissed any suggestion that the next 10 Tests (five against India and five against Australia) could prove the finale of his career.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “I feel like I’m bowling as well as ever. I feel great physically. I’m just looking forward to this series against India.
“We’ll look at everything else once we’re past this. That’s something I’ve done really well throughout my career. But right now I’m bowling as well as I ever have and I’m really looking forward to this series.”
“I do like playing here,” Anderson said. “I feel at home here. It is such a friendly place to play. The stewards and staff are incredibly friendly. It’s just somewhere I feel really comfortable.
“In years gone by, swing has played a big part here. It’s a ground where you look up [at the atmospheric conditions] not down at the pitch. If there’s cloud cover or if it’s humid, it’s generally a good place to bowl. If there’s a bit of grass on the wicket it will carry to the keeper and slips.”
“I’m definitely excited to play against him again,” Anderson said. “You always want to challenge yourself against the best in the world and he’s certainly that. We know how big a player he is for them both as a batsman and as captain, he has a huge influence on that team. So we know he’s a big wicket and to be honest I don’t care if I get him out. As long as somebody gets him out that’s the main thing. He’s an important wicket.
“But I think challenging yourself against the best in the world is really exciting and their top six is riddled with talent. It’s going to be a big challenge for us seam bowlers.”
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
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