Martin strikes as Lara reaches series high

BLACKCAPS bowler Chris Martin took the one wicket and Brian Lara posted his highest score of The National Bank Series on a truncated first day of the third Test at Napier’s McLean Park.

Martin removed Chris Gayle for 30, bringing Lara to the crease after his escalation in the batting order to his preferred number three spot.

And he progressed to 28 not out in the West Indies’ first innings of 95 for one after Stephen Fleming won the toss and chose to bowl first. Daren Ganga was unbeaten on 31.

Wet weather in Napier had waterlogged the outfield, and the scheduled start of play was moved from 10.30am to 12.30pm and then 3pm.

The toss went ahead at 2.30, and Fleming put the tourists into bat.

The BLACKCAPS selectors named Shane Bond in the XI, the bowler returning after missing the 10-wicket, second Test win in Wellington through illness. Kyle Mills and Jeetan Patel were released.

Gayle and Daren Ganga made 37 in seven overs before a calculated fielding changer by Fleming paid off instantly.

Having seen Gayle play through the covers for two fours off Chris Martin’s first over, Peter Fulton was moved into the perfect position to take a simple catch off the Jamaican, who had made 30.

Brian Lara, elevated to number three in the order after turning out at number four in his two previous tour matches, joined Ganga in the middle.

He put on 17 before tea, with Ganga making 23 as the visitors made 75 for one off 22 overs by the interval.

Twenty more runs were added in 5.2 overs before the batsman went off through bad light, as the second-wicket stand reached 58.

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