West Indies reach 107-1 at tea on day 3, 1st test vs NZ

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) Openers Kieran Powell and Kraigg Brathwaite led the West Indies’ stout response to a massive first-innings deficit between lunch and tea on Sunday in first cricket test against New Zealand.

New Zealand led by 386 runs when skipper Kane Williamson declared its first innings at 520-9 in reply to the West Indies’ paltry 134. After making 59 in the only significant stand of the first innings, Brathwaite and Powell combined in a 72-run partnership for the first wicket to lift a fraction of the deficit burden from their teammates.

At tea on day three, the West Indies were 107-1, still trailing New Zealand by 279 runs halfway through the opening match of the two test series. Brathwaite was 34 not out and Shimron Hetmyer 27.

Powell was the only wicket to fall before tea, caught and bowled by Matt Henry for 40 to follow up his 42 in the first innings.

Hetmyer and Powell were both struck on the helmet by fast bowler Neil Wagner during the second session and, despite lengthy delays while helmets were changed, neither sustained any injury.

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

Blundell resumed his first test innings on 57 in a last-wicket partnership with Trent Boult which eventually yielded 78 runs. He was 107 not out when Williamson – the last Kiwi to score a century on debut in 2011 – declared the New Zealand innings.

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, carrying the tally of fours in his innings to 13, 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.

Blundell built on the work of Colin de Grandhomme, who made his maiden test century (105) from 71 balls – the second fastest by a New Zealander and ninth fastest of all time.