Tour review

New Zealand v West Indies, 2013-14

New Zealand celebrate their triumph over West Indies, New Zealand v West Indies, 3rd Test, Hamilton, 4th day, December 22, 2013
New Zealand clinched the Test series 2-0 © Associated Press
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Test matches (3): New Zealand 2, West Indies 0
One-day internationals (5): New Zealand 2, West Indies 2
Twenty20 internationals (2): New Zealand 2, West Indies 0

This was a low-key tour which had to compete for airtime with the Ashes across the Tasman, and India's visit to South Africa. Neither side began in particularly good shape: West Indies had just been thrashed in India, while New Zealand had not long returned from trips to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka which brought little success. But New Zealand felt much better after thumping victories in two of the three Tests here - although the one-day internationals were shared, much to the annoyance of their captain, Brendon McCullum.

Only two of the West Indian Test squad - Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Denesh Ramdin - had played in that format in New Zealand before, and it showed. The others were not helped by a chaotic build-up: having a single warm-up game was not unusual, but only half the Test squad had arrived for this one, as the rest were still involved in the one-day series in India. The "West Indian XI" had to be filled up by local players - one of whom, Aaron Redmond, did so well that he played against his erstwhile team-mates in the First Test the following week.

The others did eventually show up, but some were still jetlagged when the First Test started in Dunedin. West Indies spent the first half of the match sleepwalking, and had to follow on after conceding a deficit of 396 - so it was a minor miracle that they escaped with a draw, thanks to Darren Bravo's maiden double-century and a spot of rain.

Their comeback raised hopes of an exciting series - but West Indies collapsed badly in both, failing to come to terms with New Zealand's pace bowling strength. Tim Southee and Trent Boult shared 38 wickets in the series, and McCullum hailed them as close to world-class. Boult was particularly eyecatching at Wellington, where he troubled the batsmen with a deceptively sharp bouncer as well as artful swing, and finished with ten for 80.

New Zealand's Test year had been pockmarked with some horrendous batting lows - 45 at Cape Town, 68 at Lord's - but at home they were more secure. Ross Taylor stood above everyone, and joined Mark Burgess as the only New Zealander to make hundreds in three consecutive Tests; Taylor's came in the space of three weeks, while Burgess's had taken three years, between 1969 and 1972. Taylor's final tally of 495 runs was second only to Andrew Jones's 513 (against Sri Lanka at home in 1990-91) for New Zealand in a three-Test series. It was the ideal end to a year that had begun with his withdrawal from the side after being sacked as captain.

Contributions elsewhere were less prolific, although Kane Williamson's elegance stood out when he returned from a broken thumb, and McCullum plundered his first hundred in three years - although he continued to divide opinion, in terms of both where he batted and his leadership. This first Test series victory as captain was a relief, as it backed up his claims about the strides the team were making at home.

For West Indies there was precious little to cheer from the Tests, other than Bravo's defiance. Their fast bowling was threadbare: Kemar Roach and Fidel Edwards were both absent injured, while Ravi Rampaul was not selected because of doubts about his fitness. By the Third Test they were playing two frontline spinners. Shane Shillingford began the series as the No. 1 slow bowler, but ended it suspended for a second time after his action was deemed illegal, and flying home. The news came on the eve of the final Test, and left both captain Darren Sammy and coach Ottis Gibson biting their lips. He wasn't the last player to depart. Marlon Samuels, one of the disappointments of the Test series, flew home for surgery on a wrist injury (he, too, had been banned, from bowling his quicker ball). During the one-day series Darren Bravo left early for undisclosed family reasons, Sammy went lame, and Rampaul broke a finger. There was briefly a worry that West Indies might not be able to muster 11 fit men. That they shared the 50-over series was no mean feat - especially after Corey Anderson's world-record 36-ball hundred at Queenstown on New Year's Day had threatened to overwhelm them.

Match reports for

Tour Match: New Zealand XI v West Indians at Lincoln, Nov 27-29, 2013

1st Test: New Zealand v West Indies at Dunedin, Dec 3-7, 2013
Report | Scorecard

2nd Test: New Zealand v West Indies at Wellington, Dec 11-13, 2013
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3rd Test: New Zealand v West Indies at Hamilton, Dec 19-22, 2013
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1st ODI: New Zealand v West Indies at Auckland, Dec 26, 2013
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2nd ODI: New Zealand v West Indies at Napier, Dec 29, 2013
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3rd ODI: New Zealand v West Indies at Queenstown, Jan 1, 2014
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4th ODI: New Zealand v West Indies at Nelson, Jan 4, 2014
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5th ODI: New Zealand v West Indies at Hamilton, Jan 8, 2014
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1st T20I: New Zealand v West Indies at Auckland, Jan 11, 2014
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2nd T20I: New Zealand v West Indies at Wellington, Jan 15, 2014
Report | Scorecard

© John Wisden & Co.