West Indies 79-3 at lunch on day 1, 1st test vs. NZ

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) New Zealand claimed three late wickets in the first cricket test against the West Indies on Friday, sending the tourists to lunch at 79-3.

Openers Kraigg Brathwaite and Kieran Powell had safely negotiated the first 90 minutes of the session after the West Indies lost the toss and were sent in to bat. But Brathwaite (24) fell to fourth seamer Neil Wagner in the 22nd over and Powell (42) was out to Trent Boult five overs later after a superb innings which appeared to have given the West Indies the early upper hand.

Shimron Hetmeyer (13) then fell to Wagner immediately before lunch, turning the session wholly in favor of the home side which operated a depleted attack in the absence of senior fast bowler Tim Southee who is unavailable, awaiting the birth of his second child.

The pitch produced far less life than New Zealand captain Kane Williamson might have expected when he won the toss. While it appeared bright green and had been baked hard by recent warm weather in Wellington, it produced uniform pace and bounce and offered little early seam movement.

Boult shared the new ball with recalled Matt Henry and the pair bowled containingly but didn’t trouble the West Indies openers in their opening spells.

Powell produced a number of superb straight drives off Wagner, Henry and Boult as he became increasingly confident of the bounce and put on 59 for the first wicket with Brathwaite before the New Zealanders had their first success.

The full length used by Boult and Henry failed to produce any swing and Wagner resorted to the barrage of short-pitched deliveries which have been his effective weapon in recent seasons. He quickly claimed the wicket of Brathwaite with a ball which hit the batsman’s rib cage. Brathwaite fended at it ineffectually and popped the ball to Henry Nicholls at short leg who took a catch above his head.

Boult then claimed the wicket of Powell, just as he seemed most settled. He bowled a shorter length on a good line outside off stump and Powell, forced to play, gloved a catch to Jeet Raval who dived from third slip in front of second to complete the dismissal.

Wagner then produced his best bouncer of the day which reared spitefully at Hetmeye,r who defended instinctively while trying to sway away and, off balance, steered the ball to Tom Latham in the slip cordon.

Wagner had 2-23 and Boult 1-13 from nine overs at lunch while Shai Hope was 0 not out.