About the Match
Its been a drought for Windies as far as winning against top teams is concerned in the longest format of the game. Except for Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, West Indies haven't been able to win a series against any other test playing nation. Furthermore, Windies last won a game on New Zealand soil back in 1995. West Indies will be battling against all odds as they take on New Zealand at Basin Reserve, Wellington on 1st December. New Zealand is known for its conditions conducive for pace bowling and West Indies' tall bowlers will relish that. New Zealand, too, have a battery of pace bowlers who will enjoy bowling on Wellington's surface.
This tour will serve as a preparatory challenge for Kiwis as the tougher challenge for considering they have tougher tours, including against England, beginning next year. Kane Williamson has been inspirational with his captaincy and his own performance and will be looking to add on to that.
New Zealand will miss the services of two of their regular players. BJ Watling is set to be replaced by Tom Blundell as the former is ruled out of the Test due to an injury. Blundell has played only one international game prior to this and that too was a T20 game. The Kiwi think tank has decided to give Matt Henry a chance in front of Lokie Ferguson who will be replacing Tim Southee.
The rest of the team is settled and looks solid on paper. Latham and Jeet Raval have done well at the top of the order and with Williamson and in-form Taylor to follow, Windies bowlers are going to have tough time.
Amid their poor form, West Indies displayed a touch of brilliance when they stunned England in one of the Tests in England. Although they couldn't do much in the series after that win, that would have instilled a lot of belief among the players.
Shai Hope has been a find for West Indies and the youngster is in terrific form with the bat. He's already slammed a century in the Warm-up game and if he gets going in the first test, New Zealand bowlers will have a job to do.
Unlike Shai Hope, their wicket-keeper batsman Kyle Hope has looked out of sorts. Sunil Ambris has been drafted into the side and he smacked a remarkable century in the warm-up game. West Indies' have done well over in the recent past, but their batsmen haven't yet faced the likes of Boult and Wagner. If their batsmen can deliver can survive against lethal Kiwi attack on a surface which looked green earlier this week, they could make a match out of it.
New Zealand hasn't played a test in over eight months and their players might be a little rusty. While West Indies will strive hard to take advantage of any visible rustiness, Kiwis aren't going to be easy to beat especially on their home turf. Considering the home advantage coupled with a well-balanced team, New Zealand are likely to thump Windies in this opening game.