Wagner leads late New Zealand strike against West Indies

Wellington (AFP) –


Neil Wagner led a late three-wicket burst by New Zealand to claim the honours in the opening session of the first Test against the West Indies in Wellington on Friday.

From being 59 without loss, the West Indies slumped to 79 for three by lunch with Wagner taking two wickets and Trent Boult one.

The last two wickets came in the final six deliveries before the break.

After being sent into bat on a green wicket, West Indies openers Kraigg Brathwaite and Kieran Powell had looked comfortable until Wagner was introduced into the attack.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson had hoped for early rewards from the ripe conditions but instead his bowlers struggled until the 26th over when short-ball specialist Wagner removed Brathwaite for 24.

Under a cloudless sky and with little wind, new-ball pair Boult and Matt Henry were unable to extract significant swing or seam movement.

But Wagner found success with a menacing delivery aimed at Braithwaite's rib cage that was fended straight to Henry Nicholls at short leg.

Although the New Zealand attack had seldom threatened, Braithwaite had looked vulnerable at times.

Colin de Grandhomme managed to get one delivery to come back and it sliced between bat and pad before whistling past the off stump, while Henry found the outside edge of Brathwaite's bat only for the ball to fall short of Jeet Raval at third slip.

Powell should have been run out on 26 but the throw from Boult at mid-off was wide of the mark.

The 50 partnership came up in the 21st over when Brathwaite attempted to pull Henry through square leg only to get a top edge which sailed over wicketkeeper Tom Blundell to the boundary for six.

Boult, who bowled four maidens in his first six overs, came back for a second spell to remove Powell (42) poking at a short ball that was edged to Raval in the slips.

Wagner piled on the misery in the next over when Shimron Hetmyer, on 13, gloved a simple catch to Tom Latham at second slip.