West Indies v New Zealand: Teams set for Kensington Oval
Last Updated: 26/06/14 10:03am
West Indies will look to make the most of their momentum when they begin a series-deciding Test match against New Zealand at the Kensington Oval on Thursday.
The hosts levelled the series at 1-1 after Chris Gayle smashed an unbeaten 80 not out to extinguish the slender hopes of a draw the Black Caps had gained through Mark Craig and BJ Watling’s rearguard action in the second Test.
New Zealand had been bowled out to leave a paltry victory target of 93 and after the rain had cleared, with Gayle blazing his runs off just 46 balls, with seven fours and six sixes, as the Windies sealed a commanding triumph in 13.2 overs.
It was all a contrasting story to what had happened at Sabina Park in the opening match, however, after New Zealand had wrapped up a 186-run victory with a day to spare to take an early lead.
The three-Test series now comes down to a Barbados decider and head coach Ottis Gibson believes the nature of their victory last time out will stand the men from the Caribbean in good stead.
"To win by 10 wickets was brilliant and we are looking forward to the next Test match,” he said.
"That victory, the way it was achieved, has given us momentum."
The two teams make their way to the Kensington Oval with the Windies retaining the same 14-man squad which won in Trinidad.
"I think the Test cricket we played in Trinidad, that is the sort of Test cricket we want to play," Gibson added.
In contrast to the pre-series prediction of spinners holding sway, the home side is now hopeful that there will be greater assistance for the frontline pacers.
This has prompted the visitors to also consider altering the balance of their bowling attack in seeking to repeat their historic victory at the venue in 2002 which ultimately resulted in their only Test series win in the Caribbean so far.
"I thought the bowlers bowled well in Jamaica and we backed it up in Trinidad on a pitch where we had to work really hard,” Gibson admitted.
"Jerome Taylor has been a very good leader of our attack and everyone has confidence from the win in Trinidad - and the ultimate goal is to win the series."
The Black Caps must find some way of bouncing back from a demoralising defeat in Trinidad and may be tempted to tinker with their line-up.
Left-arm seamer Neil Wagner hopes he can force his way into the reckoning and after missing the first two Tests, he is raring to go.
He told New Zealand radio station Newstalk ZB: "The team gets picked to do the job and you've got to accept that - and you've got to go back and work hard on the things you need to do and keep focused to be ready any time you're required.
"At times it's hard - but you've got to keep your head focused."