Nicholls ton, dropped catches, put New Zealand in command in second Test at Wellington

By December 11, 2020

Shannon Gabriel took his 150th Test wicket in his 50th Test match while Chemar Holder bowled well for his two wickets on debut but it was Henry Nicholls who stole the show with an unbeaten 117 at stumps on day one of the second Test in Wellington on Thursday night (Caribbean time).

Gabriel, who took the wickets of Tom Blundell, Will Young and Ross Taylor, ended the day with figures of 3 for 57. Holder, who was arguably the best bowler on the day, had 2 for 65. Either bowler should have had Nicholls out before he got to 50. In fact, three of the West Indies front line bowlers could have snared his wicket but Nicholls rode his luck to what is his sixth Test century that put New Zealand in a command at 294 for 6 on a tricky pitch.

Shamarh Brooks dropped a difficult chance off the fifth ball of the 28th over when Nicolls, then on 22, flicked Alzarri Joseph to short leg. However, the fielder was unable to hold on.

Then in the 36th over, when on 30, Nicholls hooked Joseph over the long leg boundary, a shot that should have resulted in a catch had Jermaine Blackwood held his ground on the boundary ropes and not run into 10 yards only to see the ball land just beyond where he had been standing. Joseph sank to his knees in anguish.

The easiest chances were to come later.

Facing Gabriel in the 41st over Nicholls edged to Darren Bravo who floored a regulation catch at second slip. The frustrations of the West Indies players were further deepened in the 44th over when Chemar Holder found Nicholls’ edge only for Bravo to floor another catch at slip.

Riding his wave of good fortune, Nicholls mounted partnerships of 70 with Young, who became Gabriel’s 150 Test victim when Jason Holder pulled off a stunning catch diving low to his right at second slip. Young made 43 helping New Zealand recover from 78 for 3.

A 55-run fifth-wicket stand with BJ Watling followed. The partnership was broken when Watling chopped a back-of-a-length delivery from Alzarri Joseph onto his stumps at 203 for 5.

And, just when it seemed as if the West Indies were about to make further inroads into the New Zealand line up, Nicholls and Daryl Mitchell put on 83 before Mitchell, who was dropped by Holder off Roston Chase when on 41, became Chemar Holder’s second Test wicket, trapped lbw for 42.

The 22-year-old Barbadian had earlier got Tom Latham caught behind by Joshua Da Silva for 27 to have New Zealand at 63 for 2.

Kyle Jamieson, who scored an unbeaten half century in the first Test is not out on one at the other end.

Alzarri Joseph has taken 1 for 65 from 17 overs.

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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