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Rediff.com  » Cricket » McCullum, Taylor tons put NZ in charge against Windies

McCullum, Taylor tons put NZ in charge against Windies

December 03, 2013 11:14 IST

McCullum, Taylor tons put NZ in charge against WindiesBrendon McCullum and Ross Taylor capped a dominant day's play for New Zealand with centuries as the hosts reached 367 for three at the close of the first day of the first Test against West Indies at University Oval in Dunedin on Tuesday.

New Zealand captain McCullum was on 109, while Taylor was 103 not out as the home side's top order put the West Indies bowling attack to the sword on the picture-postcard ground.

McCullum brought up his seventh Test century with a wristy shot through midwicket off his 101st ball to end a drought of more than three years since he last reached the milestone.

Taylor followed shortly after for his ninth test century, when he flicked Tino Best down to fine leg for his 13th boundary from his 150th ball.

Openers Peter Fulton (61) and Hamish Rutherford (62) had given New Zealand a solid start but were both dismissed when they appeared well set to push on to big scores.

The visitors had gambled on their side's composition with Best and Shannon Gabriel the only front-line pace bowlers with captain Darren Sammy taking the third-seamer role.

Gabriel was particularly expensive, finishing none for 98 off 17 overs, but more importantly his poor deliveries allowed the home side to release the pressure that had been built by Best and off-spinner Shane Shillingford.

Sammy had shown no hesitation in putting New Zealand in to bat, hoping his side would be able to utilise the green pitch and overcast conditions to put the hosts on the back foot early.

However, Best and Gabriel failed to exploit the conditions by bowling too short of a length and Fulton and Rutherford capitalised, putting on 95 for the first wicket before Rutherford was dismissed shortly before lunch.

Rutherford, who made 171 on debut at the same ground against England in March, reached his half century in 60 balls but threw away his wicket when he was well caught by Narsingh Deonarine trying to hit Shillingford out of the ground.

West Indies' only period of dominance was for about an hour after lunch when a hostile Best dismissed Aaron Redmond for 20 and peppered Taylor with a barrage of short-pitched deliveries.

Fulton also fell in the middle session when he pushed at a lifting delivery from Sammy and was snapped up by Kirk Edwards at second slip for 61 about 15 minutes before the tea break.

Taylor and McCullum saw the hosts through to tea then launched an aggressive attack in the final session as the pitch flattened out and became better for batting.

Taylor had been on 36 when he was joined by McCullum before tea, but the New Zealand captain appeared to have decided once he was settled he would race Taylor to the mark.

He was particularly brutal against Shillingford, using his feet brilliantly to launch two massive sixes down the ground off the spinner and scored 103 runs in the final session.

The pair put on an unbroken partnership of 182 runs from 231 balls and at one point were scoring at nine runs an over.

Shillingford, who had been under a selection cloud following bio-mechanical analysis of his action when he bowled the doosra, was arguably the pick of the visitors' bowlers.

The 30-year-old had figures of one for 88 off 28 overs but was extracting little assistance from the pitch and got more expensive as the day wore on.

The second Test is in Wellington from December 11-15, with the final game in Hamilton from December 19-23.

Image: Brendon McCullum (left) and Ross Taylor (right) of New Zealand are congratulated on their undefeated centuries by West Indies players

Photograph: Rob Jefferies/Getty Images

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