A relentless swing attack spearheaded by Tim Southee left the West Indies struggling for survival with only four wickets left and a 185-run deficit after the third day of the first Test against New Zealand in Hamilton on Saturday.
Only a stubborn century partnership by Jermaine Blackwood and Alzarri Joseph stalled New Zealand’s hopes of dismissing the West Indies twice in one day.
Grey clouds and occasional showers over Seddon Park created the perfect platform for New Zealand’s swing attack as the West Indies started the day at 49 without loss and lost 15 wickets for 285 runs.
They were crushed in their first innings for 138 for nine, with Shane Dowrich – who suffered a hand injury on the first day – not batting.
At stumps, they were 196 for six in their second innings in reply to New Zealand’s formidable 519 for seven.
Blackwood was 80 not out, his 13th Test half century, with Joseph on 59, his highest score and their partnership worth 107 runs.
Southee relished the conditions with five wickets in the day, four in the first innings where the West Indies managed 138, and one in the second.
The remainder of the pace attack also cashed in to back up New Zealand’s domination with the bat for most of the first two days when Kane Williamson forged a majestic 251.
When the West Indies resumed the day at 49 without loss, Southee removed John Campbell in the opening over to set the bowling blueprint.
He troubled Campbell with three inswingers before tempting the batsman with a wider delivery that was spooned to Williamson at mid-off.
A Southee ball that swung late nicked Shamarh Brooks’s bat and he was caught at first slip for one.
A Trent Boult delivery that pitched on leg stump and jagged back accounted for Kraigg Brathwaite for 21 while classy inswingers from Kyle Jamieson and Neil Wagner removed Darren Bravo (nine) and Roston Chase (11).
Southee was back in action with the wickets of Jermaine Blackwood (23) and Alzarri Joseph (nought) immediately after lunch, leaving Jamieson and Wagner to clean up the remaining wickets of Kemar Roach (two) and Shannon Gabriel (one). Jason holder was unbeaten on 25.
The West Indies second innings followed the same recipe as the New Zealand bowlers set up the batsmen with a consistent line of delivery for a few balls, then adjusted the angle and wickets followed.
Campbell, who faced five balls in the morning, lasted only three in the second innings when he nicked a Boult delivery that Tom Latham just managed to get his fingers under at ground level.
Bravo attempted to dominate the bowling with three boundaries before short-ball specialist Neil Wagner pitched one on a length that was edged to Southee in the slips.
Wagner ended that over with the wicket of Brooks (two) and the carnage continued at the start of the next over when Southee had Brathwaite (10) caught behind.
Holder, who had multiple lives including being dropped on successive balls, saw his luck run out on eight to give all-rounder Daryl Mitchell his first Test wicket.