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Wagner rattles West Indies with career-best haul

Sat, 02 Dec 2017

Wellington: Neil Wagner’s career best seven-wicket haul saw New Zealand seize the honours on day one of the first Test against the West Indies in Wellington yesterday.

The South African-born left-armer claimed seven for 39 as the West Indies crumbled to be all out for 134 in a first innings that lasted a mere 45.4 overs.

In reply, New Zealand were 85 for two at the close of play with Jeet Raval on 29 and Ross Taylor on 12.

Tom Latham (37) and Kane Williamson (one) fell in quick succession before Raval and Taylor cautiously added 17 in 8.3 overs through to stumps.

Although Williamson’s batting skills deserted him, he did have luck on his side at the start of the day when he won the toss and put the West Indies into bat on a green wicket.

After the tourists safely progressed to 59 without loss, Wagner engineered a collapse that saw all 10 wickets fall in 22 overs for only 75 runs.

He was twice on a hat-trick as he posted his first seven-wicket haul and bettered his previous best of six for 41 against Zimbabwe last year.

The West Indies were full of confidence going into the match on the back of a recent series win over Zimbabwe and a Test victory against England, and the confidence grew as openers Kieran Powell and Kraigg Brathwaite progressed steadily passed the half-century mark.

But while New Zealand’s new-ball pair Trent Boult and Matt Henry were unable to generate swing or seam movement, Wagner found bounce in the ripe conditions.

By digging the ball in short and angling it towards the rib cage he had his first success in his third over when Brathwaite went for 24.

Two overs before lunch, when the tourists looked to be recovering at 75 for one, Boult took a leaf out of Wagner’s book, using a short-ball to account for the West Indies top scorer Powell who made 42.

Wagner then hit a purple patch as he ripped through the West Indies’ new generation of specialist batsmen in the space of four balls.

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