WELLINGTON, Dec 11: When New Zealand and the West Indies arrived at the Basin Reserve Friday for the first day of the second cricket test they knew that, one way or another, it was going to be a tough day.
By stumps an unbeaten century by Henry Nicholls, the 100th to be scored on the Basin Reserve, had tipped the match in New Zealand favor. New Zealand was 294-6 and Nicholls was 117.
But it had been hard going and no-one had done it harder than Nicholls, who scratched for runs at times, living on luck and eventually reaching his sixth test hundred with a miscued shot behind point. Conditions had set the scene for a testing day.
The pitch had nestled under cover for several days before the match as steady rain fell in the New Zealand capital.
When the covers were drawn back, the pitch was a vivid green but hard underneath its covering of grass. It was clear whoever lost the toss would bat and batting wouldn�t be easy.
At the same time a north-westerly gale blasted across the ground and the team that bowled first would have to steel itself against the storm, especially the bowlers whose task it would be to run into gusts of up to 120kmh (74mph).
So it turned out. West Indies captain Jason Holder won the toss, chose to bowl and his attack led by Shannon Gabriel, who bowled with the wind at his back in his 50th test, had New Zealand three down by lunch.
Conditions improved for both teams but mostly for New Zealand as the day wore on.
Brief scores: New Zealand 294/6 at Stumps on Day One (Henry Nicholls 117*, Will Young 43; Shannon Gabriel 3/57). � Agencies