Black Caps bracing for Windies backlash

HAMILTON, New Zealand – New Zealand says they are bracing for a backlash from West Indies in the second and final Test which bowls off at Seddon Park here Saturday.

Coach Mike Hesson and top-order batsman Henry Nicholls both warned the West Indies were a better team than that which capitulated by an innings and 67 runs inside four days in the opening Test at the Basin Reserve last Monday.

The tourists were humiliated by an innings and 209 runs at Edgbaston in the opening Test against England in the most recent Test series last August. A week later, they were celebrating a five-wicket victory in the second T est at Leeds, after chasing down over 300 to win on the final day at Headingley.

“They are a proud team and we saw how they bounced back after losing that first Test against England so we’re fully prepared for that,” Nicholls said.

He admitted the team would bring a different “dynamic” after losing skipper Jason Holder to a one-match ban for this team’s slow over rate in Wellington.

West Indies were found to be three overs short of their target and Holder bore the brunt of the penalty, slapped with a 60 per cent fine of his match fee along with a one-match suspension.

In his absence, vice-captain Kraigg Brathwaite will lead the side which could also bring in the uncapped all-rounder Raymon Reifer for his debut.

Hesson was wary that the five key players who delivered that victory in Leeds were in the current Windies team: batsmen Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope, pace bowlers Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel, and spinner Roston Chase.

Brathwaite got a top score of 91 in the Windies second innings of 319 in Wellington while Hope and Roach showed glimpses of their class.

All are set to play at Seddon Park and Hesson believes they and others will step up from their efforts at Wellington.

“We’ve seen how well the West Indies have bounced back in previous series, so we certainly expect them to do that,” he said.

“History suggests they are [a threat]. In England, they got dealt a pretty severe blow in the first Test and then came back at Headingley and beat England.

“We’re certainly expecting them to sustain pressure over a longer period of time.”

New Zealand will be boosted by the return of Tim Southee, who missed the first Test on parental leave.

Southee has thrived previously at Seddon Park and shapes as an obvious straight swap for Matt Henry, linking with long-time new ball partner Trent Boult.

Hesson says nothing will be taken for granted, reminding his players it took mental fortitude to get on top at the Basin Reserve, led by the seven-wicket first day haul from Neil Wagner.

“I just think we sucked up West Indies pressure in those first couple of sessions. That was really important and it’s an area that we have to do well again in Hamilton.”

West Indies have not won a Test series on New Zealand soil in 22 years.

Source: (NZ Herald/BT)

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