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Kiwi James Neesham eighth batsman to score tons in first two Tests

Kingston (Jamaica): West Indies face a difficult task after New Zealand made a mockery of their impotent attack to post a massive 508 for seven declared on the second day of the opening cricket Test at Sabina Park here.

James Neesham
James Neesham 

Rookie left-hander James Neesham slammed his second Test century, a composed 107, to join Kane Williamson as century-maker Monday, reports CMC.

Wicketkeeper Bradley-John Watling missed his hundred by 11 runs and the prolific Ross Taylor scored 55, while Tim Southee produced a cameo unbeaten 21 from just seven balls.

Left with nine overs to negotiate, West Indies openers batted cautiously to 19 by stumps, still 489 runs in arrears heading into Tuesday's third day.

Kieran Powell was unbeaten on 11 while Chris Gayle, playing in his 100thATest, was not out on eight.

The day could have been even worse for the hosts, had Peter Fulton snared a regulation catch at second slip off Powell in the fourth over as the left-hander sparred at seamer Tim Southee when on eight in a score of 12.

No such luck followed the West Indies in the field as they were powerless to stop Neesham and Watling as the pair piled up 201 for the sixth wicket, a partnership that strangled the docile Caribbean side and turned the game in New Zealand's favour.

Neesham became only the eighth batsman to score hundreds in his first two Tests, facing 171 balls in 216 minutes at the crease, and counting 11 fours and two sixes.

The knock followed up his unbeaten 137 against India in his debut Test in Wellington four months ago.

Watling, meanwhile, missed out on his fourth Test century, striking seven fours and a six in an innings that lasted 228 minutes and consumed 204 deliveries.

Combative left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn was the best bowler, taking three for 142 from a marathon 52 overs while off-spinner Shane Shillingford finished with three for 145.

In fact, it was Benn who hauled the Windies back into contention, taking two of the three wickets to fall for 59 runs in the first session, as New Zealand stumbled briefly in the morning.

Resuming the day on 240 for two, the Black Caps made slow progress against the pace duo of Kemar Roach and Jerome Taylor, who maintained an accurate line to limit the flow of runs.

However, with no success forthcoming, captain Denesh Ramdin resorted to an all-spin attack after 45 minutes of play and it paid dividends almost immediately.

Benn accounted for Williamson and then captain Brendon McCullum for seven, while Shillingford claimed the other wicket to fall, that of Taylor, as the Black Caps lost three wickets for 20 runs in the space of 48 balls.

Two balls after clearing Benn over mid-off, Williamson suffered a lapse in judgment, offering no stroke to the bowler's arm-ball and lost his off-stump.

McCullum lasted just 17 balls before becoming Benn's second wicket, edging one that bounced and turned and struck Ramdin's gloves before looping to Gayle at first slip.

Taylor completed his 21st Test half-century on the stroke of the first hour when he turned Shillingford square for a single, but four overs later, lazily clipped an innocuous delivery from the off-spinner to short mid-wicket Kirk Edwards.

Neesham and Watling then combined to snuff the life out the West Indies attack, taking New Zealand to lunch at 299 for five, before buckling down afterward to frustrate the hosts further.

The 23-year-old Neesham emerged from a cautious start to clear the straight boundaries off Shillingford in the same over to post the 350 for New Zealand, as he looked to accelerate.

He moved onto 48 by whipping Shillingford through mid-wicket for four just after the drinks before reaching his fifty, 45 minutes before tea.

Running out of options, a desperate Ramdin summoned off-spinner Gayle for his first bowl in a Test in two years but his five overs cost 17 runs and yielded no success.

Neesham celebrated his fifty with two leg-side boundaries in the same over off off-spinner Marlon Samuels and continued to play positively, speeding into the 80s with two consecutive off-side fours off the same bowler.

Watling, meanwhile, provided the perfect foil, collecting his seventh Test half-century half an hour before tea.

Unbeaten on 85 at tea, Neesham strolled to three figures 40 minutes after the break, driving Taylor for a couple to cover to raise the landmark. He eventually perished to a catch at the wicket off Benn as he pushed forward.

Aided and abetted by a weary West Indies attack, Watling also upped the ante, sweeping Benn to the mid-wicket boundary and then cutting Shillingford forward of point."

He moved into the 80s with a straight six off Shillingford but then holed out to deep midwicket off the same bowler.

Brief scores:

New Zealand: 508 for seven decl. (Kane Williamson 113, James Neesham 107, BJ Watling 89, Tom Latham 83, Ross Taylor 55, Tim Southee 21 not out; Sulieman Benn 3/142, Shane Shillingford 3/145)

West Indies: 19 without loss.

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