After a clinical victory in the first Test, New Zealand will take on West Indies in the final Test of the series to eye third spot in World Test Championship.
Match Timings: Dec 11, 3:30 AM IST
New Zealand and West Indies will lock horns in Wellington for the second Test of the series. New Zealand’s winning streak at home continued after winning the first Test with ease. Kane Williamson scored his best international score with 251, and the Kiwis bowlers did the rest of the job, despite the resistance of Jermaine Blackwood and Alzarri Joseph in the 2nd innings. Blackcaps are a tough opponent to beat at home in red-ball cricket. Williamson will miss the second Test as he has taken paternity leave and Tom Latham will lead the side on Friday. It means Will Young will get another game to bat in the top-order. Devon Conway or Watling can get the game. If Watling is fit then he would open with Latham in the second Test.
New Zealand has a golden opportunity to add 60 more points to upstage England from the third spot, and they can later eye the second spot against Pakistan. India will also start its Test series against Australia, so the points will be affected in World Test Championship. New Zealand tried only four bowlers in the first Test, and this combination worked for Williamson. Wagner has been consistent in red-ball, and he is getting good support from Boult and Southee. Mitchell is also a good option to try as the fifth bowler. In the batting unit, Tom Latham and Ross Taylor are the pillars of New Zealand. It should be another easy win for New Zealand, considering its top form.
Meanwhile, West Indies are winning the sessions but missing the fire collectively. In the first innings, they collapsed when openers survived the last hour on the second day. In the second innings, the top-order failed before Blackwood’s hundred. They have had just one good session during the entire Test. Shimron Hetmyer can find his place in the playing XI in the place of injured Shane Dowrich. Kemar Roach will be unavailable as he lost his father, and young Chemar Holder should make his debut on Friday. Wicket-keeper, Shamarh Brooks has also withdrawn from the Test due to personal reason. The 22-year-old, Joshua DaSilva, is set to make his debut.
The top-order is completely out of the form, and the same thing happened against England this year. Kraigg Brathwaite couldn’t replicate his form in the first Test. Darren Bravo had good numbers in warm-up fixtures, but he struggled against the left-arm seam. Jermaine Blackwood scored a ton, and his partnership with Joseph was a picture of resistance. Jason Holder would definitely take positives from it and would hope to see similar intent from the top-order. The visitors need to play out of its skin to surprise Kiwis in Wellington. If they earn a draw from here, it would be a moral victory for them.
Basin Reserve’s surface is a decent Test wicket. It offers a good balance between bat and ball. Bowling first would be a great call as it will help the pacers to take early advantage from the pitch. The spin can get the command on days four and five as the track will get slow.
The weather in Wellington is sunny and offers an ideal condition to play Test cricket. The temperature will be around 18 degrees Celsius.
Tom Latham (C), Devon Conway/Watling, Will Young, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell (WK), Kyle Jamieson, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner
John Campbell, Kraigg Brathwaite, Joshua DaSilva (WK), Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Jason Holder (C), Alzarri Joseph, Shannon Gabriel, Chemar Holder
WTC 2019-21 – M: 8, Runs: 563, Avg: 43.30
Previous outing – 86
WTC 2019-21 – M: 7, Wickets: 38, Avg: 18.89
Previous outing – 35/4, 63/1
WTC 2019-21 – M: 5, Runs: 376, Wickets: 41.77
Previous outing – 23 & 104
WTC 2019-21 – M: 5, Runs: 251, Wickets: 18
Last series vs England – M: 3, Wickets: 10, Avg: 30.10