CRICKET: Rain halts Kiwis' victory charge

West Indies 365 & 66-4 New Zealand 393
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The Independent Online
NEW ZEALAND'S march to possible victory in the first Test against the West Indies here yesterday was ruined by rain which stopped play 16 minutes into the afternoon session on the fourth day.

The West Indies, 66 for 4 in their second innings, have an overall lead of 38. The rain became heavier as the afternoon wore on and play for the day was abandoned at 5.45pm. Today's play will be extended to 7pm, weather permitting.

Dion Nash, the combative New Zealand fast bowler, said, while the rain was frustrating, he believed there was a lot of cricket still to be played and he said the team were confident of victory. "Daniel Vettori [New Zealand's left-arm spinner] is looking really dangerous and if we can get a couple of quick wickets in the morning we'll definitely be in with a shout," Nash said.

Adrian Griffith, a century-maker in the first innings, watched all the drama yesterday morning from the non-striker's end. With him at the close was Jimmy Adams, with both batsmen on 14.

Nash knows these two are good players and is wary of the next man in, Ridley Jacobs, as well. "Those three could bat all day, so we need a quick breakthrough to get into the tail," he said.

New Zealand had a sensational start to the day when they took three West Indies wickets for two runs. Chris Cairns bowled Sherwin Campbell, who also made a century in the first innings, with the third ball of the day and in the next over he had Shivnarine Chanderpaul caught behind by Adam Parore without scoring. At that stage the West Indies were 2 for 0 and Chanderpaul's fall brought the captain Brian Lara to the crease.

Lara was intent on playing positively and unleashed some attacking strokes, but an injudicious swish at a well pitched-up ball cost him his wicket in Nash's second over of the morning. Lara only managed to nick the ball to the waiting Parore behind the stumps.

That brought Ricardo Powell to the wicket for his second Test innings. His first was inauspicious when he got nought in the first innings, but he immediately went on the offensive and smashed Nash over extra-cover for four.

Powell effectively hit Nash out of the attack with a barrage of audacious shots as his first six scoring shots in Test cricket were fours. He then put West Indies, 28 behind on the first innings, into the lead with a lofted shot through mid-wicket.

After a brief stop for light rain after an hour of play, Vettori ended Powell's jaunty innings when he induced a thick edge and Craig Spearman snapped up the catch at slip to leave West Indies in danger of losing a match they started so well.

Fourth day of five; West Indies won toss

WEST INDIES - First Innings 365 (S L Campbell 170, A F G Griffith 114; D L Vettori 4-83).

NEW ZEALAND - First Innings 393 (C L Cairns 72, S P Fleming 66, C D McMillan 51; R D King 4-81).

WEST INDIES - Second Innings

(Overnight: 0 for 0)

A F G Griffith not out 14

S L Campbell b Cairns 0

S Chanderpaul c Parore b Cairns 0

*B C Lara c Parore b Nash 1

R L Powell c Spearman b Vettori 30

J C Adams not out 14

Extras (4b, 3nb) 7

Total (for 4, 30.1 overs) 66

Fall: 1-0, 2-0, 3-1, 4-36.

To bat: R D Jacobs, F A Rose, D Ramnarine, R D King, C A Walsh.

Bowling: Vettori 10.1-7-11-1; Cairns 11-5-11-2; Nash 7-1-37-1; Wiseman 2-0-3-0.

Umpires: D B Cowie and D R Shepherd (Eng).