The captain of New Zealand, Ross Taylor has urged his batsmen to convert their fifties into hundreds that can lead the Black Caps on the road to success in the future.
The Kiwis were beaten badly by the West Indies with a margin of nine wickets in the first Test on Sunday, July 29, 2012, at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua. The visitors stabilised their position at stumps on day four by reaching 199 for the loss of just three wickets but the entire team was bowled out for 272 runs.
The Caribbeans achieved the target easily after losing the only wicket of Kieran Powell not before he produced another solid opening partnership of quick fired 77 runs in 13.4 overs with Chris Gayle. The latter thrashed 150 runs in the first innings and followed his aggressive knock in the second innings by powering unbeaten 64 off 49 mere balls with the assistance of 2 lofty sixes and 8 fours.
New Zealand’s batsmen have been missing the finishing touch since long and they are unable to capitalise on a good start. The last Test centuries scored by their batsmen along with high scores are being highlighted as below:
1- Martin Guptill has played 23 Tests, scored two hundreds in his career and his previous best was 109 runs against Zimbabwe, on November 1, 2011, at Bulawayo. The 25-year-old managed 51, 59 after his ton, 97 and 67 in the first Test vs. West Indies.
2- Daniel Flynn has played 18 Tests and is yet to score a ton but posted 95, 57, 67, and 50 in his career.
3- Brendon McCullum is the most senior batsmen of New Zealand and has taken part in 65 Tests. He has smashed six tons and he piled up 225 runs as his previous ton vs. India at Hyderabad on November 12, 2010. His high scores after those count 56, 64, 83, 58, 61 and 84 which was reached in the first Test vs. West Indies.
4- Ross Taylor has played 38 Tests and recorded six hundreds and his last herculean effort was witnessed vs. Zimbabwe on January 26, 2012, when he scored unbeaten 122 runs. He was unable to score even a fifty after that but has been in the forties four times.
5- Kane Williamson has taken part in 13 Tests, managed two centuries and his last ton was unbeaten 102 against South Africa on March 23, 2012.
6- Dean Brownlie made his debut vs. Zimbabwe on November, 1, 2011, at Bulawayo. He is yet to score a century but scored 63, unbeaten 77 and 56 runs.
The above statistics of the New Zealand batsmen reflect their inability to pile up centuries even after taking a reasonable start. Ross Taylor was worried about that and said,
“This hasn’t been the problem in the last couple of years, this has been a problem with New Zealand cricket for the last 10-15 years now. Players haven’t gone on to score hundreds, 80s and 90s are good for your stats, but the team needs hundreds.”
The Black Caps started off well in both innings against the Windies in the recently concluded Test in Antigua but their batsmen were unable to hang on until the achievement of three figures. Martin Guptill was unlucky to miss the ton by just three runs in the first innings, their third wicket fell at 223 runs and the last seven wickets accumulated 128.
New Zealand was doing fine at the end of the fourth day’s play by scoring 199 runs with seven wickets in hand in their second innings but their middle order batting collapsed again. The entire team was bowled out for 272 runs and the last seven batsmen were unable to sustain the pressure of the West Indies lethal bowling.
The match which looked like heading towards a draw on the close of the fourth day’s play, ended in a defeat for the Kiwis. The top order fulfilled their responsibility but the middle and the lower order was unable to perform well in both innings. Ross Taylor was confident that their batsmen will execute as a unit to attain positive results. He further commented,
“We had a chance to realistically draw the match. But losing two wickets – myself, Kane [Williamson] and [later] Dan’s [Vettori] wickets – was key. Everyone got a start in most of the games, here we just lost our way and lost momentum. Hopefully the top order can continue scoring runs, and us middle order can score some runs and help them out.”