Kiwis, Windies square up
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.