The West Indies and New Zealand have met seven times before in Test matches at the Basin Reserve, with New Zealand winning four times and the West Indies twice. In most of those matches, regardless of the winner, the margins of victory have been very large.
In March 1956, the visitors, under Denis Atkinson, won by nine wickets, having won each of the first two Tests in the series by an innings. Scheduled for four days, it was the sixth Test played at the Basin. Everton Weekes’ 156 was his third consecutive century as the West Indies compiled 404, with John Reid taking 3-85. The home side made 208 in their first innings led by John Beck (55), Don Taylor (43), and former West Indies wicket-keeper Sam Guillen (36). They made the same score following-on, with Taylor making 77, and assistance from Noel McGregor (41) and night-watchman Tony MacGibbon (36). Off-spinner Atkinson took 5-66 before the visitors easily reached their 13-run target.
New Zealand’s first Test win at the Basin came in March 1969 with a six-wicket victory over Garfield Sobers’ team. Opening bowler Dick Motz, with 6-69, helped restrict the Windies to 297, before solid batting by Glenn Turner (74), Bevan Congdon (52), Bryan Yuile, and Bruce Taylor (both 33) ensured the deficit was only 15 runs. Yuile and Bob Cunis each took three wickets in the visitors’ second innings of 148, of which Basil Butcher scored 59 and Sobers 39. Needing 166 to win, a fine 62 from Brian Hastings saw his team to victory on the fourth and final day.
The 1979-80 West Indies’ side did not play at the Basin Reserve because of work being done on the ground and the construction of the RA Vance Stand. When they returned in 1987, the match against Vivian Richards’ strong side saw New Zealand achieve a well-earned draw. They made 228 batting first, anchored by 75 in four hours by John Wright. After an opening partnership of 150 between Gordon Greenidge (78) and Desmond Haynes (121) the visitors were all out for 345, Ewen Chatfield taking 4-102. Batting again, 117 behind, a third wicket stand of 241 between Wright (138) and Martin Crowe (119) in a total of 386 did much to make the match safe. It was, then, the highest such stand for New Zealand. Wright’s 582-minute knock was the longest ever by a New Zealand batsman.
Courtney Walsh was captain in February 1995, leading his side to a commanding win by an innings and 322 runs – at the time, the fourth biggest in Test cricket. Centuries to Jimmy Adams (151), Brian Lara (147), and Junior Murray (101*) saw the West Indies amass 660-5 declared before New Zealand were rolled for 216 and, following on, 122. Walsh was at his destructive best, taking 7-37 in the first innings and 6-18 in the second. Opener Darrin Murray, with 52 and 43, and Stephen Fleming, with 47 and 30, were the best of the home batsmen.
Brian Lara’s team was never in the Boxing Day Test of 1999, losing by an innings and 105 runs. New Zealand’s total of 518-9 declared was underpinned by Mathew Sinclair’s 214 on debut. He batted for just under nine hours and got good support from Nathan Astle (93) and captain Stephen Fleming (67). The West Indies were dismissed for just 179 in their first innings, opener Adrian Griffith and Brian Lara both making 67 and Chris Cairns taking 5-44. Asked to follow-on, they were all out for 234 on the fourth day with Dion Nash taking 4-38. Lara and Shivnarine Chanderpaul both batted for three hours scoring 75 and 70 respectively.
Chanderpaul was captain in March 2006 when New Zealand won by 10 wickets inside four days. It was their fifth win in five consecutive Tests, while it was the West Indies’ eighth consecutive loss. After being 108-6, the Windies made 192 batting first, with James Franklin taking 5-53 and Kyle Mills, in for the injured Shane Bond, 3-53. Runako Morton scored 63 and Chris Gayle 30. New Zealand recovered from 3-2 to make 372 off the back of contributions from skipper Stephen Fleming (97), Peter Fulton (75), Nathan Astle (65), and Daniel Vettori (42). Opening bowler Fidel Edwards took 5-65 and Daren Powell 4-83 for the West Indies. Batting again, the Windies made only 215, of which Gayle made 68, Rawl Lewis 40, and Chanderpaul a stubborn 36. Openers Hamish Marshall and Jamie How were untroubled in making the required 37 runs.
Denesh Ramdin asked New Zealand to bat first in December 2013, which was the 55th to be held at the Basin Reserve. They racked up 441, with Ross Taylor (129) making his tenth Test century. BJ Watling scored 65, Kane Williamson 45, and Trent Boult 38* batting at No 11. Opening bowler, Tino Best, took 4-110. In reply the West Indies were dismissed for 193 with Boult taking 6-40. Marlon Samuels and opener Kirk Edwards did best with 60 and 55 respectively, the last four batsmen all being bowled without scoring. Following-on, the visitors were dismissed for 175 after Edwards (35) and Kieran Powell (36) had put on 74 for the first wicket. Boult took 4-40 to give him ten for the match, Tim Southee took 3-24 and New Zealand won by an innings and 73 runs with two days to spare.
Image: Ross Taylor celebrates Test century number 10, BLACKCAPS v West Indies, Basin Reserve, 2013. Photo by Mike Lewis.