Wellington: Henry Nicholls rode his luck to shore up the New Zealand innings at tea on day one of the second Test against the West Indies in Wellington on Friday.
After being sent into bat on a green wicket, New Zealand were 170 for four at the end of the second session with Nicholls on 57 and BJ Watling on 11.
With New Zealand playing without regular cornerstone Kane Williamson, who is on paternity leave, the batsmen struggled initially.
Strong winds, overcast conditions and the verdant wicket put all the elements in the West Indies’ favour as Shannon Gabriel and Chemar Holder pinned New Zealand down at 78 for three.
But once the sun emerged and the wind faded, Nicholls and Will Young pulled New Zealand back into the game in a measured 70-run stand for the fourth wicket.
For Nicholls, who had been struggling for form, it was his first half-century in 14 innings, but it was not without its chances.
On 21 he was dropped by Shamarh Brooks, on 29 a top edge for six sailed just out of the reach of Jermaine Blackwood, who had moved several metres in from the boundary, and twice on 47 Dwayne Bravo failed to take regulation chances at first slip.
Gabriel was clearly frustrated with Bravo’s first drop but had cause to celebrate in his next over with a ball that moved in then zipped away from Young to catch the edge of the bat.
Jason Holder at second slip thrust out his right hand to take the ball down low, ending a polished 43 from Young in only his second Test innings.
The Basin Reserve wicket offered plenty of pace, bounce and seam movement with Gabriel and Holder at times almost unplayable as they found a good length and moved the ball.
Gabriel, in his 50th Test, took the wickets of Tom Blundell (14) and Ross Taylor (nine) before lunch before Young became his 150th Test dismissal.
Holder and his fellow debutant, wicketkeeper Joshua da Silva, combined to snare their first Test scalp when Tom Latham was caught behind for 27. — AFP