Bridgetown (Barbados), June 27 (IANS/CMC): Opener Kraigg Brathwaite stroked his fifth half-century in Tests to lead a strong West Indies response at lunch on the second day of the third and decisive cricket Test against New Zealand at Kensington Oval here on Friday.
At the break, the Windies were 159 for two, just 144 runs adrift of the Black Caps’ first innings total of 293.
Brathwaite carved out an attractive 68, putting on 79 for the first wicket with Chris Gayle, who hammered 42. He added a further 74 for the second wicket with Kirk Edwards, who was unbeaten on 41 at lunch.
Resuming on 32 without loss, West Indies gathered runs quickly largely through the left-handed Gayle, who struck six fours and a six in an innings lasting 88 minutes and 53 balls.
He smashed seamer Tim Southee down the ground for four in the third over of the morning before repeating the stroke in the bowler's next over and following up next ball with a pull to the mid-wicket boundary.
Southee was removed from the attack for a couple of overs, but, when he returned, he was greeted with consecutive leg-side boundaries in his opening over by Brathwaite.
Gayle looked set for a half-century before he skied off-spinner Mark Craig to Hamish Rutherford at long on, to depart as the hour mark in the first session approached.
Brathwaite then combined with Edwards in an entertaining stand as West Indies dominated the second hour's play. Overall, Brathwaite faced 116 balls in just under 2-1/2 hours at the crease and counted ten fours, while Edwards has faced only 45 balls and hit four fours and a six.
Edwards was particularly harsh on Craigg, driving him to the cover boundary and then clearing the ropes at long off in the bowler's seventh over.
Brathwaite, meanwhile, reached his fifty with his second four off left-arm seamer Trent Boult's ninth over before eventually falling to a catch at cover ten minutes before lunch, driving uppishly at Neil Wagner, also a left-arm pacer.
New Zealand: 293 (Jimmy Neesham 78, Mark Craig 46 not out, Ross Taylor 45, Kane Williamson 43, Brendon McCullum 31; Sulieman Benn 5/93, Kemar Roach 4/61)
West Indies: 159 for two (Kraigg Brathwaite 68, Chris Gayle 42, Kirk Edwards 41 not out; Neil Wagner 1/10)