New Zealand drew positives from their batting collapse on day one of the second Test against the West Indies in Hamilton on Saturday, saying the signs looked good for their bowlers.
The hosts slumped from 154 for one to be 286 for seven at stumps, at one stage losing four top-middle order batsmen for 35 runs.
But New Zealand opener Jeet Raval said the innings gave “encouraging signs for our bowlers”, who are bolstered by the return of swing bowler Tim Southee.
New Zealand would be looking to add at least another 50 when play resumes on Sunday, said Raval.
Raval, the top scorer with 84, anchored New Zealand’s strong start before the West Indies found lines that worked and they slumped to 189 for five.
Lusty hitting by first Test century-maker Colin de Grandhomme (58 off 63 balls) and Mitchell Santner (24) then revived the innings in a rapid 76-run stand before Shannon Gabriel took the new ball and bowled them both.
Tom Blundell was not out 12 at stumps with Neil Wagner on one.
“I think it’s evenly balanced, we had a good start to the day and they came back later so it’s even leading into tomorrow,” Raval said.
The West Indies believe they gifted New Zealand at least 30 runs with an ineffectual spell at the start of the day after winning the toss and bowling in accommodating conditions.
“I think we bowled a little too full. Myself I thought I was a little too full. I didn’t assess the conditions well enough but as the day went along things got better,” said chief wicket taker Gabriel, who has three scalps so far including Raval.
But Gabriel, whose first two overs cost 22 runs as he had trouble with a damp piece of ground where he planted his foot, said the West Indies were satisfied with the position of the game.
“If we told ourselves this morning we would have them seven down by the end of the day’s play we’d have taken that. I think they’ve scored 30-40 runs too much but I think it was a good day of Test cricket.”
– Raval denied maiden century –
Raval featured in a 65-run stand for the first wicket with Tom Latham (22) and then added 89 with Kane Williamson (43) for the second before he became Gabriel’s first wicket with an edge down legside to wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich.
The left-hand opener was again denied his maiden century, although his average from 14 innings improved to 47.61.
Dowrich took four catches behind the stumps while Gabriel ended the day with three for 79 off 19 overs, and Miguel Cummins had two for 37 off 17 overs.
Raymon Reifer, in his Test debut, also bowled 17 overs and removed Nicholls for 13 to have one for 36.
Reifer, the only change to the West Indies side, was called up for his debut Test to replace the suspended Jason Holder, while New Zealand also made one change with Tim Southee returning and Matt Henry dropping out.
The West Indies need to win the Test to square the two-match series after New Zealand won the first Test by an innings and 67 runs in Wellington.