It was nice to go bang-bang there: Craig
Four wicket hauls from medium pacer, Tim Southee and debutant off-spinner, Mark Craig saw New Zealand end the third day's play against West Indies at Sabina Park, Jamaica with a massive 260-run advantage.
After having rattled up 508 in their first innings, the visitors further consolidated their position by bowling out the hosts for just 262, thereby securing a first innings lead of 246 runs. Batting a second time, New Zealand reached 14/2 at stumps, an overall lead of 260 runs.
Southee finished with impressive figures of 4/19 off 16.2 overs while Craig had excellent figures of 4/91 off 24 overs. Speaking to the press at the end of the day's play, West Indian opener, Chris Gayle (who made a fine 64 in his 100th Test before becoming one of Southee's four victims) admitted he was lucky to survive as long as he did. "From my personal point of view, I thought Southee bowled well all morning," the 34-year-old said. I survived that first session, which was a vital one. I guess he deserved a wicket in his second spell, the way he bowled in the morning," he added.
With two full day's play remaining, West Indies need to show all their fighting abilities if they are to leave Jamaica unscathed, but Gayle was positive about saving the Test. "I am looking forward to batting second and hopefully I can get a big one," he said.
While Southee's spell broke the middle order, Mark Craig had set the ball rolling in the morning session, taking two wickets in an over (Kieran Powell and Kirk Edwards) as the hosts slipped from 60/0 to 61/3. He added Kemar Roach and Suliemann Benn later on to finish with four wickets. "It was nice to go bang-bang there, bit of a dream start," Craig said. "It was very nice to be able to contribute to the team today and obviously to get a couple of wickets was a bonus," he added.
Praising Southee, the off-spinner said the pacer set the standard for the rest of the team. "Timmy bowled exceptionally well, set the standard for us up front, it was really nice to chip in with a couple myself," he said.
If New Zealand do complete the victory, it will be only their second Test win in the Caribbean Islands. New Zealand last beat the hosts during the 2002 tour.