Vital innings from McCullum

Brendon McCullum was the mainstay as the BLACKCAPS lower order manoeuvred their side into a healthy lead in day three of the First Test against the West Indies.

McCullum made 74 as the BLACKCAPS were eventually all out for 272 from 103.1 overs, earning a lead of 290 at Eden Park.

The wicketkeeper compiled important half-century partnerships with Daniel Vettori (52) and Shane Bond, who was 18 not out from 81 balls.

Chris Gayle removed Chris Martin without score to end the innings with four wickets, while Ian Bradshaw claimed three.

The latter stand, a pairing of 62, equalled the ninth-wicket record against the West Indies and will perhaps crucial in the final analysis.

The tourists’ openers began their run chase well, though, accumulating 48 without loss at stumps. Daren Ganga was 20 not out and Gayle unbeaten on 28.

The BLACKCAPS began the day on 98 for four in their second innings but overnight partnership Stephen Fleming and James Franklin fell in the morning session.

Bradshaw claimed his sixth wicket of the Test to remove Fleming for 33 and Franklin was dismissed for 20 by Gayle.

Nathan Astle, who claimed a half-century in the first innings, fell for 13 in his second stint at the crease when he was run out by Daren Ganga for 13 as the Kiwis went into lunch on 161 for seven.

Vettori came in and ran up a healthy stand of 64 with McCullum, but the spinner fell just before tea, dismissed by Gayle on 33 and the total at tea was 242 for eight.

McCullum and Bond withstood the onslaught but the Windies did breakthrough eventually, and their positive start in search of 291 to win sets up a fine fourth day of the match.

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