Lara discovers perfection oveyr 2

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reports from Wellington

West Indies 366-4

v New Zealand

It was every batsman's vision of paradise and Brian Lara, Sherwin Campbell and Jimmy Adams made the most of it as the West Indies compiled 366 for 4 on a perfect pitch on the first day of the second Test against New Zealand yesterday.

Campbell, the diminutive new 24-year-old opener, set the tone with his uninhibited stroke play, following his debut half -century in the first Test with a scintillating 88. Once he had left, Lara and Adams, in their differing but ruthless ways, completely overwhelmed New Zealand's threadbare attack with a partnership of 231 in three and a quarter hours.

Lara, content to admire Campbell's assault while finding his sublime touch, completed his fourth Test century before he was lbw to the only threatening bowler, Danny Morrison, with the second new ball, two overs after he had taken a fearful blow on the helmet from the same bowler. His 147, gathering momentum with each over, contained every stroke known to the game and 23 fours.

In crystal-clear sunshine it was a long way away from the troublesome series in India two months ago and he could scarcely tear himself away from the friendly environment, knocking up on the outfield during the the lunch and tea intervals.

Once Campbell had been lured into Morrison's trap, hooking to long-leg after he, too had taken a blow on the helmet, Adams, with a series of sweetly timed drives, joined Lara to continue the West Indian dominance.

New Zealand took what their coach, John Reid, later termed "a calculated gamble" by including the off-spinning all-rounder Shane Thompson in their XI, knowing a cut on his left leg, carrying eight stitches, would prevent him from bowling. It was a decision for which New Zealand paid as the West Indies batsmen plundered 50 fours and two sixes from Campbell.

The beleaguered captain, Ken Rutherford, was obliged to turn to the occasional off-spin of Andrew Jones after his left-arm spinner Matthew Hart could not get through an over without serving up at least one full-toss or long- hop. He disappeared for 15 fours in his 16 overs.

The opener Stuart Williams was the only one to miss out on the bounteous offerings, edging a cut off Simon Doull just before lunch after a subdued 26.

The West Indies now have the basis of the type of total that should vindicate their rare choice of the leg-spinner Rajindra Dhanraj in their attack. Local knowledge suggests the pitch will offer him turn towards the end.

(First day: West Indies won toss)

WEST INDIES - First Innings

S C Williams c Parore b Doull 26

S L Campbell c Su'a b Morrison 88

B C Lara lbw b Morrison 147

J C Adams not out 87

K L T Arthurton not out 0

Extras (nb 4 lb 4) 8

Total (for 3) 356

Fall: 1-85 2-134 3-355.

Bowling (to date): Morrison 21-4-66-2; Su'a 25-3-91-0 (4nb); Doull 20- 4-93-1; Hart 16-0-82-0; Jones 8-2-20-0.

To bat: S Chanderpaul, J R Murray, C E L Ambrose, *C A Walsh, K C G Benjamin, R Dhanraj.

NEW ZEALAND: B A Young, D J Murray, A H Jones, *K R Rutherford, S P Fleming, S A Thomson, A C Parore, M N Hart, M L Su'a, S Doull, D K Morrison.