Kiwis close in on series win against Windies

Published: Sunday, March 19, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Wellington:New Zealand tightened their grip on the second cricket Test against the West Indies, ripping through the top order to leave the tourists at 118 for four in their second innings at the end of the third day here Sunday.

Again the out-of-form Brian Lara surrendered his wicket cheaply, and the struggling West Indies still require a further 62 runs to make New Zealand bat again.

Only Chris Gayle showed the determination required to turn the Test into an even contest, after New Zealand were all out in their first innings early in the day for 372 in reply to the West Indies' 192.

But even Gayle succumbed to a lack of concentration in the second to last over before tea, when he attempted to sweep Daniel Vettori out of the ground but was instead trapped plumb in front to be dismissed for 68.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who was dropped by Stephen Fleming at first slip when on five, was unbeaten on 13, with Dwayne Bravo on two when play was halted because of bad light three overs after tea.

Daren Ganga was the first wicket to fall after posting a 50-run opening stand with Gayle, when he slashed at a wide delivery from Chris Martin and was caught by wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum.

Martin was the most threatening of the New Zealand bowlers, with far more certainty about his line and length than in the first innings, and was the unfortunate victim when Chanderpaul was dropped.

Runako Morton gave Fleming his fifth catch of the match when he edged James Franklin soon after lunch to be out for seven, and the seriously out-of-form Lara followed soon after.

In his final appearance at the Basin Reserve, the scene of his only century against New Zealand, Lara clipped a Nathan Astle half-volley straight to Hamish Marshall at point.

What was a precarious situation for the West Indies became desperate as Gayle departed soon after and they slumped to 113 for four after being 54 for one.

In four innings on tour, Lara has posted scores of 5-0-1-1.

New Zealand lead the three-Test series 1-0 after their 27-run victory in Auckland.

The home side had resumed the day at 335 for seven in their first innings and lost Astle in the first over, playing forward to Daren Powell and edging the ball to Denesh Ramdin without adding to his overnight score of 65.

Fidel Edwards, who was kept back for the first half hour, was then introduced to the attack and in his second over took the final two wickets in successive balls to finish with five for 65 while Powell had four for 83.

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