Blundell scores unbeaten 107 on test debut for New Zealand

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) Tom Blundell endured an anxious passage through the 90s on Sunday before becoming the 11th player from New Zealand and its first wicketkeeper to score a century on test debut.

Blundell resumed day three of the first test against the West Indies on 57 in a last-wicket partnership with Trent Boult which eventually yielded 78 runs and he was 107 not out when captain Kane Williamson – the last Kiwi to score a century on debut – declared at 520-9, a lead of 386.

Wellington wicketkeeper Blundell achieved his maiden century on his home ground and in the shadow of his old school, Wellington College, which is just across the road from the Basin Reserve. When he spoke to reporters before the match, after being called into the New Zealand team in place of the injured B.J. Watling, he told of walking past the Basin Reserve every day on the way to school and dreaming of scoring a century for New Zealand. At 27 that dream came true.

But there was high tension before Blundell’s milestone was achieved. After progressing quickly in the early stages of the morning session Sunday, Blundell became bogged down in the 90s.

He faced 41 balls in going from 90 to his century and 10 of those while stuck on 99. A full 10 overs elapsed as Blundell made his slow progress through the 90s to a century which came when he edged a ball from spinner Roston Chase to square leg for two runs.

At the same time he had to rely on stoic support from No. 11 batsman Trent Boult who had to face over after over in order to allow Blundell to get his chance to reach his reach 100.

Boult survived two trials under the Decision Review System for lbw appeals which had been turned down and was dropped at short leg off Jason Holder when Blundell was 99.

Two of those chances came in the same over from Holder – the 147th of the innings. Boult first flicked a hard chance to the close-in fieldsman, who got both hands to the ball but couldn’t hold the chance. Two balls later he was struck on the front pad by a full toss from the West Indies captain and the television umpire supported the onfield umpire’s call that the ball was missing leg stump.

Blundell’s century built on the work of Colin de Grandhomme, who scored his maiden test century from 71 balls on day two, Ross Taylor who made 93, falling seven runs short of his 17th test century, and Henry Nicholls (67).

De Grandhomme’s century was the second-fastest by a New Zealand after Brendon McCullum’s world record century from 54 balls against Australia last year.

At lunch the West Indies were 9-0 in their second innings, still trailing by 377.