Bond inspires BLACKCAPS counter-attack

Shane Bond proved his world-class ability to lead the BLACKCAPS into a decisive last day of The National Bank Series at Eden Park.

Bond claimed four wickets on day four as the Kiwis came back from the brink in Auckland, reducing the West Indies to 246 for eight at stumps.

The tourists had been cruising at 148 without loss after a solid platform was built by openers Daren Ganga (95) and Chris Gayle (82).

Bond inspired a collapse by the tourists after dismissing Brian Lara first ball, following Nathan Astle’s removal of Gayle.

Bond captured four for 66 runs from 23 while Astle took two for 13 off 10.

Day four of the Test started late as overnight rain in Auckland wiped out the morning session.

The Windies made swift progress in the afternoon. However, the tide turned back in the BLACKCAPS’ favour in the final moments before tea.

The breakthrough came in the 50th over when Astle was introduced to the attack. The veteran medium-pacer immediately capitalised, as Gayle edged the second ball of the over to Stephen Fleming at slip.

And Fleming’s decision to return Bond to the action was also rewarded in quick time.

Ramnaresh Sarwan retired hurt after making four from 16 balls, and then Bond claimed the prized scalp of Lara for the second time in the match.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul also faltered after showing his frustration a several overs of fine bowling from Bond and Vettori.

The captain was caught by Peter Fulton off the spinner, having made only 13.

Ganga looked likely to claim his third Test century but Astle was brought back and again broke a dangerous looking partnership, with gully specialist How taking the catch.

And another bowling change paid off with Bond’s return, the potential threat of Dwayne Smith eradicated when Fleming caught an edge in the slips to send him back without scoring.

Sarwan replaced Smith, but did not add to his score after edging Bond to Styris as the middle order wobbled again.

Denesh Ramdin persistently attempted to sweep Vettori to no avail, and was ultimately caught by Franklin off the spinner for 15.

A performance in the field by the BLACKCAPS set up an intriguing fifth day to the opening Test of the three-match series, with the hosts well poised to take the lead.

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