2014
06.26

Jimmy Neesham (WICB Photo)

James Neesham is frustrated batting opportunities were squandered by both himself and New Zealand on the first day of the third cricket Test against the West Indies in Barbados.

Neesham struck 78 off 91 balls to lead the Black Caps’ lower order resistance before they were dismissed for 293 midway through the third session at Bridgetown’s Kensington Oval.

The West Indies reached 32-0 in a Test which will determine the outcome of a series locked 1-1.

Neesham put on 64 for the eighth wicket with spinner Mark Craig (46 not out) to revive an innings which had slumped to 194-7 after captain Brendon McCullum chose to bat first for the third successive time in the series.

The Otago allrounder, who struck 10 fours and one six, admits scoring a third century in just his fourth Test had entered his mind.

“Any time you get into the 60s and 70s, you start looking at that mark,” he said.

“I was feeling comfortable. It’s obviously disappointing to fall short and short of a par (team) score at the end there as well.”

Neesham, who was run out after hesitating when attempting a quick single, says a score over 330 had been in New Zealand’s sights.

West Indies left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn took 5-93, using bounce and variation to claim four scalps in the second session as the New Zealand middle order crumbled.

Paceman Kemar Roach (4-61) removed openers Hamish Rutherford (4) and Tom Latham (14) inside the first 10 overs.

A promising 74-run stand for the third wicket ended with the departure of key batsmen Kane Williamson (43) and Ross Taylor (45) shortly after lunch.

McCullum fell on 31, and BJ Watling and Tim Southee both went cheaply, in the space of eight overs.

Off-spinner Craig again showcased his batting ability, hitting four fours and a six while anchoring two handy late partnerships with Neil Wagner and Trent Boult.

West Indies openers Chris Gayle (18) and Kraigg Brathwaite (11) then negotiated nine overs in untroubled fashion.

Neesham said the quicker outfield made scoring easier than the first two Tests in Kingston and Port of Spain.

However, he says pitch deterioration as it dries over coming days could open the door for New Zealand.

“There was a little bit of turn and bounce for the spinners already so if we can get a couple out early it could be interesting.”

nzcity.co.nz

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