New Zealand joint top of Test rankings after beating West Indies to seal series sweep

New Zealand achieved their first objective of the domestic summer when they swept the West Indies in the two-Test series to join Australia atop world cricket’s Test rankings.

After winning the first Test in Hamilton by an innings and 134 runs, New Zealand won the second at the Basin Reserve by an innings and 12 runs inside the first hour of the fourth morning on Monday.

The West Indies resumed their second innings at 244-6, trailing New Zealand by 85 runs after following on 329 behind.

  • Second Test scorecard
  • As it happened

Wicketkeeper Joshua da Silva (57) provided some late resistance, achieving a first half-century on his debut Test, before the tourists were all out for 317, their highest innings total of the series.

The series win lifted New Zealand level with Australia on 116 points in first place on the ICC world Test standings, the first time in their history they have achieved that ranking.

New Zealand also moved past England into third place in the World Test Championship standings, a more pressing objective as they attempt to claim a place in next year’s final at Lord’s. A clean sweep of Pakistan in an impending two-Test series will give New Zealand a chance of competing with Australia and India for a place in the June final.

New Zealand are now unbeaten in their last 15 Test matches at home, giving them one of the most formidable home advantages in world cricket.

“I think looking at the World Test Championship, it’s nice to get the full points from this series,” New Zealand captain Tom Latham said. Latham took over the captaincy for the second Test from Kane Williamson, whose wife is expecting their first child, and New Zealand showed depth in its ability to win in Williamson’s absence.

“We talk about focusing on each game at a time and we managed to do that over the last two matches. As far as the world rankings go, it is nice to go there but that’s a by-product of the effort these guys have put in time and time again over the last couple of years.

“We’ve got another Test series starting in a week or twos time and so the focus now will turn to that.”

The secret of New Zealand’s success is an open one. They have an extremely solid batting line-up, especially with Williamson in his regular place in the top order. But it is the work of the bowlers which is the key ingredient: New Zealand’s four-pronged seam attack, led by Tim Southee and Trent Boult and with Kyle Jamieson now a key member, is relentless and gives batsmen very little respite from pressure.

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Jamieson finished with a match analysis of 7-77 and Southee with 7-128.

The second Test win was also set up by Henry Nicholls career-best 174 which allowed New Zealand to reach 460 in their first innings after losing the toss and being sent in on a green pitch. Nicholls held together the New Zealand innings, forming five partnerships worth 50 or more.

Southee took 5-32 and Jamieson 5-34 as New Zealand bowled out the West Indies for 131 in the first innings, enforcing the follow on. It was only the third occasion and the first in 36 years that New Zealand bowlers have completed five-wicket bags in the same innings of a Test.

The West Indies produced their best batting effort of the series in the second innings but fell just short of making New Zealand bat again.

“The fight we showed in the second innings was what we were looking for in the first Test match and even in the first innings here,” West Indies captain Jason Holder said. “Generally we let ourselves down in the field and if we had held chances it would have been a different game.”

New Zealand made a positive start Monday after a short rain delay, dismissing Holder for 61 in the fourth over of the day and ending his 82-run partnership with Da Silva.

Holder was bowled by Southee with a fuller ball which straightened and beat the outside edge of the bat.

Alzarri Joseph hit two sixes and three fours in a bright innings of 24 before being caught down the leg side by wicketkeeper BJ Watling from Southee’s bowling. That lifted Southee’s Test tally to 296 wickets, leaving him poised to become the third New Zealander after Richard Hadlee and Daniel Vettori to take 300 Test wickets.

Da Silva posted his first half-century from 77 balls before falling lbw to Neil Wagner.

That heralded the end of the innings; last man Shannon Gabriel was bowled for a duck by Wagner shortly afterwards.

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