Cricket: Sammy ecstatic as West Indies draw first blood

Hosts clinch opening Test by nine wickets against NZ.

Afp July 30, 2012

NORTH SOUND: West Indies captain Darren Sammy praised his team’s performance after the hosts cruised to a nine-wicket win to win the first Test against New Zealand.

After dismissing the tourists for 272 in the second-innings, West Indies raced to the 102-run target for the loss of one wicket with Chris Gayle, who made 150 in the first-innings total of 522, managing an unbeaten 64 to give his side a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.

However, it was the bowlers who set up West Indies’ victory with a five-wicket haul for Kemar Roach denting New Zealand’s chances. The seamer took five for 60 as New Zealand, facing a first-innings deficit of 171, lost their last seven wickets for 55 runs.

Windies captain pleased with effort

Sammy was pleased with the bowlers’ show.

“The team is playing really well,” said Sammy who also oversaw his team dominate the One-Day Internationals and the Twenty20s prior to the Tests. “On a hard pitch, we all played our parts. It was very tough for the quicks and I must congratulate Ravi [Rampaul] and Roach for their efforts. Sunil Narine continues to do well for us although he had to bowl a lot of overs. Credit also goes to Gayle and [Kieran] Powell for the position they put us in.”

Gayle had already laid the foundation for the win in the first-innings, putting on a 254-run opening stand with Powell who registered a ton of his own for good measure. Despite Roach’s and Gayle’s efforts, it was Narine who bagged the man of the match honours with his three for 91 in the second-innings giving him match figures of eight for 223.

New Zealand captain Ross Taylor admitted his side made mistakes.

“We were in the game for parts of it,” said Taylor. “But we didn’t bat as well as we should have. Our top order did very well, 200 for 2 in both innings but myself and Kane [Williamson] have to step up in the next match.

“We also failed to create enough pressure with the ball. We got to bowl better areas.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2012.

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