Campbell puts spine into West Indies

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New Zealand 195 West Indies 472

For so long almost entirely reliant on the quality of Brian Lara, the West Indies have finally welcomed a new hero. Sherwin Campbell, a diminutive Barbadian opening batsman, provided the backbone to a commanding position over New Zealand in the first Test with a marathon 208.

Starting late on Friday afternoon he spent 11 hours and 10 minutes of concentrated determination in the middle before he was eighth out 70 minutes after tea yesterday.

The West Indies were all out for 472 at tea - a lead of 277. New Zealand faced an almost impossible task with two days and a session remaining.

It was the perfect preparation for his first season in county cricket with Durham whom he joins in a couple of weeks after the second Test in this series.

On Saturday he carried the responsibility of consolidating the innings after the loss of Lara to the eighth ball and, with Shivnarine Chanderpaul batted the West Indies into a commanding position with their partnership that was unbroken at 154 when the third day started.

As on Saturday, Campbell lost his partner early, Chanderpaul slicing Danny Morrison into gully's lap in the third over. He had added only one to his overnight 81.

Courtney Brown helped Campbell add 59 and Ian Bishop put on 59 with the opener. By the time he fell to Chris Harris for 31, Campbell had finally arrived at his century, joining a small band of those who had converted their maiden Test hundreds into doubles and more. The most illustrious is Garry Sobers who went on to make 365 not out.

Campbell, who made an impression during last summer's Test series in England, is playing his tenth Test and the score carried his average past 50. He is neat and compact and favours the off-side, cutting and driving especially strongly. Most of his 30 boundaries were from cuts and cover drives and it was a cut that took him to 200 and for the second time prompted an invasion of the ground.

He did not give a chance until a couple of minutes before his eventual dismissal, bowled off bat and body by Harris.