Wagner's seven-for topples WI over for 134

Innings West Indies 134 (Powell 42, Wagner 7-39, Boult 2-36) v New Zealand
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Neil Wagner’s role in New Zealand’s set-up is unambiguous. In an attack with world-class swing bowlers, Wagner is tasked with enforcing with a hard length. When West Indies’ openers put on a display of impeccable defensive technique, New Zealand changed tact, employing a barrage of short balls to a solid top order. It played right into Wagner’s hands, who ripped through West Indies with a career-best 7 for 39, the second-best figures for New Zealand against West Indies, to topple the visitors over for 134 on the first day in Wellington.

After Kraigg Brathwaite and Kieran Powell put on a 59-run opening partnership, captain Kane Williamson’s hand was forced. He had a short leg and leg gully in, and fine leg and square leg out for Wagner. West Indies, it seemed, were more comfortable pulling than fending. Brathwaite’s first boundary was a top-edged pull for six over the keeper.

Wagner, from around the wicket, continued to angled short deliveries into their ribs. Brathwaite, trying to defend with a straight bat, then awkwardly fended a catch to short leg, only giving Wagner more oomph in his spell.

On the stroke of lunch, a short ball from Boult didn’t climb as steeply as Powell had expected. He dropped his hands to let it go, but the ball ricocheted low to third slip off the glove. The scales evened out after a dominating morning for West Indies.

The session turned decisively in New Zealand’s favour as Shimron Hetmyer, who struck three delectable boundaries in his 13, also fended a catch to second slip, unable to sway out of the line of a short delivery. Those wickets prior to lunch did substantial mental damage, and their change in technique was evident.

Shai Hope gloved a wafted pull to the keeper down the leg side two balls after the break. Sunil Ambris, standing deep in the crease anticipating another bouncer, clipped a back-of-a-length delivery to fine leg, but his backward momentum meant his back foot clipped the leg stump. Ambris hit wicket b Wagner 0 (1) on debut.

Roston Chase also chose to stand leg side of the ball to get into a better position to face the short ball. All that helped him do was clip a leg-side delivery into the hands of leg gully. The ball of the day came immediately after.

More to follow..

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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