BRIDGETOWN, Barbados - Sulieman Benn starred in an action-packed afternoon session as the West Indies wrested the initiative from New Zealand by reducing the visitors to 217 for seven at tea on the first day of the third Test at Kensington Oval in Barbados.
Resuming after lunch at 95 for two, the Black Caps were undone by the left-arm spinner's excellence as he snared four wickets and also took a brilliant catch at gully that accounted for the dangerous Ross Taylor. Taylor and Kane Williamson extended their third-wicket partnership to 74 and looked set for more lengthy occupation of the crease when Williamson fell for 43 to a catch at slip by Darren Bravo in the third over of the session.
Taylor, on 45, then got a delivery from Kemar Roach that took the shoulder of the bat and Benn flung himself to his right at gully to come up with the catch and give the fast bowler his third wicket of the innings. New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum and all-rounder Jimmy Neesham counter-attacked with a succession of boundaries in a 54-run fifth-wicket partnership before Benn removed McCullum for 31 via a top-edge that was comfortably held by Darren Bravo at slip.
New batsman Tim Southee didn't last long, being bowled by Benn, and the spinner should have taken a fifth wicket but could not hold on to a sharp caught-and-bowled chance offered by Mark Craig. Neesham carried on playing his shots and was unbeaten on 56 off 64 balls at the break. He resumes in the final session in partnership with Craig (10 not out).
Roach removed openers Hamish Rutherford and Tom Latham within the first hour's play. Rutherford endured a double-failure in the previous Test in Trinidad and again looked unconvincing in getting four runs off 12 deliveries before a mistimed push to the on-side offered a low catch to Shivnarine Chanderpaul at mid-on. Latham, who started the series with scores of 83, 73 and 82, was trapped palpably leg-before by Roach for 14.
West Indies have strengthened their bowling attack for this deciding Test, giving tall fast-medium bowler Jason Holder a debut at the expense of Jermaine Blackwood. Spinner Shane Shillingford, who missed the second Test because of an ankle injury, is back in the final 11, taking the place of burly fast bowler Shannon Gabriel.
New Zealand made one change for the match, replacing leg-spinner Ish Sodhi with Neil Wagner and leaving the main slow bowling duties solely in the hands of off-spinner Craig.