Ki­wis, Windies square up

Weekend Witness - - Sport -

WELLINGTON — New Zealand open­ers Peter Ful­ton and Hamish Ruther­ford got in some valu­able bat­ting time ahead of the first Test against West Indies, putting on an un­bro­ken 142-run part­ner­ship in their three-day match that was called a draw yes­ter­day.

Ful­ton (53) and Ruther­ford (72) both re­tired early on the third day against the visi­tors in Christchurch be­fore cap­tain Bren­don McCul­lum de­clared at 168 for three, set­ting the West Indies XI a vic­tory tar­get of 166.

The West Indies side, which in­cluded sev­eral New Zealand first class play­ers be­cause the tourists are still wait­ing for the rest of their squad to ar­rive from their tour of In­dia, raced through to 121 for two be­fore the game was called a draw.

A New Zealand Cricket spokesper­son said both cap­tains had agreed to call off the game, which was not a first class match, by a set time on the third day to en­able the New Zealand play­ers to re­turn to their sides for do­mes­tic Twenty20 and first class matches.

West Indies opener Kirk Ed­wards made 25, while wick­et­keeper Chad­wick Wal­ton was 61 not out when the game was called off.

Shiv­nar­ine Chanderpaul, who had scored a quick-fire 89 in the first in­nings, was dis­missed for 12 in the sec­ond.

McCul­lum, who was re­turn­ing from treat­ment of a chronic back in­jury, scored just 22 and 10 in the match, though his Otago team-mate Aaron Red­mond was cel­e­brat­ing af­ter his 67 for the West Indies XI pro­pelled him back into na­tional con­tention.

The 34-year-old last played a Test for New Zealand in 2008, but was in­cluded yes­ter­day in a 13-man squad for the first Test at Dunedin from De­cem­ber 3.

Red­mond has scored heav­ily in first class cricket over the last two sea­sons and is likely to fill the num­ber three po­si­tion at Univer­sity Oval if vice cap­tain Kane Wil­liamson fails a fit­ness test on his bro­ken thumb.

The 23-year-old broke the thumb in Bangladesh last month and had been ex­pected to be out for a min­i­mum of six weeks though he was in­cluded in the squad af­ter com­ing through net ses­sions.

The West Indies will be with­out ex­plo­sive open­ing bats­man Chris Gayle, who has a ham­string in­jury and has re­turned home to un­dergo treat­ment.

He is ex­pected to re­join the team for the lim­ited overs matches start­ing on De­cem­ber 26.

Black Caps open­ers Hamish Ruther­ford and Peter Ful­ton made 73 and 52 re­spec­tively at the top of the New Zealand XI’s sec­ond in­nings be­fore they re­tired.

McCul­lum could man­age only 10, adding to 22 in the first in­nings, as his search for form con­tin­ued.

McCul­lum de­clared at 168 for three, set­ting the West Indies a tar­get of 166, which they were ap­proach­ing com­fort­ably be­fore stumps were called at 121 for two.

The high­light of the tourists’ in­nings was a half cen­tury from Chad­wick Wal­ton, who ended the match with an un­beaten 61 from 90 balls.

The West In­dian team in­cluded four New Zealan­ders, who were drafted in to make up the num­bers as the rest of the Caribbean side wraps up a one-day se­ries in In­dia.

As such, the match was not recog­nised as a first-class fix­ture.

The first of three Tests be­gins next Tues­day in Dunedin.

— Sapa-AFP.

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