Kingston: For the first time in 12 years the West Indies won back-to-back Tests at home. The last time West Indies won two Tests on the trot anywhere, was a decade ago in Bangladesh. On a day when several men from the Caribbean were in the spotlight at the sprints in the Olympics in London, the cricket team did their fans proud at home.
New Zealand were at the receiving end of a five-wicket defeat in the second Test at the historic Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica. The win, set up by strong bowling performances in both innings, Kemar Roach was the hero in the first innings and Narsingh Deonarine came to the party in the second, left New Zealand blanked out 0-2.
If West Indies` bowlers set the game up, credit must go to their batsmen for following through, in particular Marlon Samuels, whose 123 accounted for nearly 59% of the 209 runs West Indies managed in the first innings. West Indies went into the fourth day on 135 for 4, with 71 runs still needed to cap off a much-needed series win. Fittingly, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, unbeaten on 20, was at the crease, with Roach, the nightwatchman, for company. Chanderpaul has been the backbone of West Indies` batting over the last decade, and he was helped in no small part by Roach, who batted with freedom on a pitch that most batsmen found difficult to master.
Roach made the most of his promotion to No. 6, attacking when the opportunity presented itself. Tim Southee found out the hard way as Roach took him for two boundaries in the 46th over of the innings, the first a smack back past the bowler and the second a backfoot punch over point that raced to the fence. While Roach ensured that West Indies did not get bogged down in pursuit of the small target Chanderpaul concentrated on keeping his end up. With his third boundary, a slap through cover off Neil Wagner, Roach brought up the half-century partnership for the fifth wicket, and even the threat of tropical storm Ernesto heading Jamaica`s way could not deny the West Indies.
When Roach finally fell on 41, slashing Kane Williamson to Southee at point, he had taken West Indies to the doorstep of victory. Chanderpaul (43 not out) and Deonarine, ensured that there were no more hiccups, reaching the target of 206 in the 64th over.
BDST: 1655 HRS, August 6, 2012
Chanchal Ghosh, Newsroom Editor