Fortune favoured New Zealand, according to captain Kane Williamson after they cleaned up the first Test against the West Indies by an innings and 67 runs on day four in Wellington on Monday.
The West Indies collapsed spectacularly in their second innings to be all out for 319.
After a strong start, when they reached 231 for two, they lost their last eight wickets for 88 runs as they chased a monumental 386 to make New Zealand bat again.
But the real damage was done when Williamson won the toss and made the West Indies bat first on a green surface.
They were rolled for 134 and as the pitch flattened out New Zealand took charge with a monumental 520 for nine declared.
“I thought in the first innings we were fairly fortunate as well as bowling very well in exploiting the bounce in the surface,” Williamson said.
“So we knew in the second innings, when the wicket became a little flatter, it was going to be a tough job to bowl them out.
“I thought the bowlers were exceptional to change their type of thought to play the long game, be patient with the way they operated and we saw the rewards in the second session today.”
After resuming Monday at 214 for two, needing a further 172 runs to make New Zealand bat again, the West Indies innings unravelled when Kraigg Brathwaite went for 91.
If was the first of three wickets before lunch and the last five fell for just 33 runs in nine overs after the interval.
But captain Jason Holder rejected suggestions they had caved in, saying the plan was to play positively.
“We said there’s two days left in the game and we had to knock off the deficit and the only way to do that was staying positive. I don’t think anyone was reckless at any stage,” he said.
“Unfortunately we lost Kraigg and we never gathered momentum afterwards.”
– Near unplayable –
After Brathwaite’s dismissal, lbw to spinner Mitchell Santer, New Zealand took the new ball and removed Shai Hope (37)and Ronson Chase (18) before lunch.
Sunil Ambris went on the first ball after the resumption of play and the tail followed quickly.
Matt Henry took three for 57 and Neil Wanger two for 102 to finish with nine for the match.
Wagner, who was near unplayable in the first innings as he took a career best seven for 39 with his short-pitched deliveries, was named man-of-the-match.
“His ability to bowl that short-pitched bowling as accurately as he does, is not an easy thing to do. We don’t see many bowlers able to do that, that accurately, and for that long a period of time,” Williamson said.
Holder put it down to “indecisive” batting which he believed would be rectified before the second and final Test starts in Hamilton on Saturday.
“We lost the first Test match obviously but there’s a chance to put things right in the second Test,” he said.