New Zealand took a huge step towards claiming just their second-ever Test match victory in West Indies after bowling out their hosts for 262 on day three at Sabina Park.
Replying to the Black Caps’ first-innings 508-7 declared, West Indies failed to get to grips with the swing of Tim Southee and spin of debutant Mark Craig as the pair took four wickets apiece.
Southee (4-19) snared last man Shane Shillingford in the evening session with New Zealand leading by 246 runs, however captain Brendan McCullum opted against enforcing the follow-on with plenty of time still remaining in the contest.
He may have been regretting that decision when Peter Fulton and Kane Williamson both departed in a tricky 13-over spell before the close but despite the two setbacks, New Zealand, whose only previous Test win in the Caribbean came at Barbados in 2002, closed in a strong position on 14-2 – leading by 260.
All eyes were on local favourite Chris Gayle at the start of the day as he vied to mark his 100th Test match with a fairytale century.
He survived a testing morning session but during that time watched on from the non-striker’s end as three wickets fell in the space of 11 balls before lunch.
Auckland-born off-spinner Craig trapped Kieron Powell lbw to claim his maiden Test scalp, Kirk Edwards prodded to Ross Taylor at slip in the same over and Darren Bravo then presented a simple return catch to Ish Sodhi to leave the score on 61-3.
Wicketless in the morning session, Southee struck a double blow immediately after lunch by having Gayle caught behind for 64 and fellow-Jamaican Marlon Samuels lbw without scoring in the space of three deliveries.
He then returned just before the end of the session to break a promising 72-run sixth-wicket partnership between Shivnarine Chanderpaul and captain Denesh Ramdin (39), inducing a careless shot from the West Indies captain for BJ Watling to take the relatively simple leg-side catch behind the wicket.
Chanderpaul, as he has so often done during his international career, found himself tasked with marshalling the tail but Kemar Roach couldn’t deal with the spin and bounce from Craig, and offered a simple catch to Peter Fulton at leg-slip.
Trent Boult got in on the act three overs later when Jerome Taylor defended uppishly and McCullum dived forward to take an athletic low catch at extra cover.
Chanderpaul passed 50 for a 63rd time in Test cricket but was left stranded on 84 when Sulieman Benn was bowled attempting to heave Craig (4-91) and Shillingford fell to Southee at the arrival of the second new ball.
New Zealand had a chance to increase their advantage before the close however they merely enabled West Indies to end a disappointing day on a high with two late strikes.
Opener Fulton, who has now failed to pass 15 in his last 10 innings, edged the second delivery of the innings from Taylor to Ramdin to fall for a duck, and first-innings century-maker Williamson was then bowled for a second time in the match offering no stroke, this time to Roach.