Speedster Kemar Roach yesterday captured his 100th Test wicket but Kane Williamson’s career-best century, his seventh, and then torrential rain, spoiled West Indies chances of winning the decisive third Test being played at Kensington Oval Barbados.
When the adverse weather ended play prematurely at 4:51 pm on the fourth day yesterday, New Zealand had reached a formidable 331 for seven in their second innings – a lead of already 307 heading into today’s final day.
The rain, which first came at 1:48 pm and then allowed just 26 balls following a 4:30 pm restart, robbed the game of a precious 42.5 overs.
Williamson, who began the day on 58, finished on a superb, unbeaten 161, an innings that formed the bedrock of the New Zealand innings and seems likely to ensure them at least a share of the series.
The New Zealanders won the first Test in Jamaica on the fourth day by 186 runs and West Indies hit back to win the second in Trinidad by ten wickets on the fifth day.
The 23-year-old Williamson hardly put a foot wrong as he faced 271 balls in just under 6-1/2 hours at the crease, and stroked 22 fours, passing his previous Test high 135.
Along the way, he extended his overnight fourth wicket stand to 67 with captain Brendon McCullum who scored 25, added a further 91 for the fifth wicket with Jimmy Neesham who belted an attacking 51 and then also posted 79 for the sixth wicket with BJ Watling who hit 29.
It was the wicket of Watling, caught at gully by Jason Holder 45 minutes after lunch, which gave Roach the 100th scalp of his 26-Test career.
He was the best Windies bowler with four for 55 while debutant fast bowler Jason Holder has claimed two for 26.
Resuming the day on 123 for three, New Zealand gathered runs quickly as Williamson showed his intent from as early as the third ball of the day, lofting off-spinner Shane Shillingford wide of long on for four and then cutting the first ball of Roach’s next over to the point boundary.
McCullum, however, added just two to his overnight 23 before falling lbw to Roach in the day’s fourth over, trapped on the crease by a delivery that came back. He consulted DRS in vain.
Neesham’s arrival increased the scoring rate, the left-hander belting three fours and four sixes off just 67 balls in an hour-and-a-half at the crease and taking a liking to the toothless Shillingford who can’t fire his lethal doosra because of the ICC restrictions.
Neesham however went off Holder, smashing a full-blooded drive into the lap of Kraigg Brathwaite at a very short cover, with the score on 226 for five.
Any hopes the Windies had of making further inroads were quickly erased as Williamson and Watling stood firm in another half-century stand that proved a source of frustration.
Southee, dropped by Benn at slip off Roach before he had scored, hung around half-hour for seven before tapping a tame return catch back to Taylor, 20 minutes after the rain break.
Only five more deliveries were possible before rain put paid to any more hopes of play.