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McCullum's gamble pays rich dividends

New Zealand’s bowlers rewarded Brendon McCullum’s bold declaration, which gave West Indies the chance of victory, by completing a 53-run win and therefore a 2-1 series success.

McCullum halted the Black Caps’ second innings on their overnight 331 for seven, setting the hosts a target of 308 on a day that started half an hour early to make up for rain delays earlier in the game.

The tourists’ impressive opening bowlers Trent Boult and Tim Southee soon accounted for the Windies’ top three before they and off-spinner Mark Craig overcame middle-order resistance, most notably Jason Holder’s 52.

The triumph was completed in the last hour when Boult trapped Jerome Taylor in front, giving New Zealand their first away Test series win versus a top-eight team in 12 years.

West Indies’ demise started when Kraigg Brathwaite paid for shouldering arms to Boult. It continued as Kirk Edwards edged the same bowler to slip and, crucially, Chris Gayle played on to Southee.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Darren Bravo rebuilt with a stand either side of lunch worth 50 until Craig had the former stumped, on 25, for the first time in 266 innings.

Denesh Ramdin mowed Craig for six over cow corner before, just after a brief rain break, he nicked Southee to slip on 29. In Southee’s next over Bravo was held at gully for 40.

Craig ousted Kemar Roach cheaply caught at short-leg but Holder resisted, including with a maximum above long-off in the over before tea.

Holder and Shane Shillingford had held the Black Caps up for 22 overs when Craig, coming round the wicket, bowled the former between his legs.

Suliemann Benn soon fell to Neil Wagner via a catch at short cover before Boult finished the job in the 83rd over to leave Shillingford stranded on 30.

Boult returned 3-48, Southee 3-28 and Craig 3-84 as their collective patience on a slow pitch, and McCullum’s bravery, was rewarded.

Kane Williamson was man of the match for his second-innings 161 not out and player of a series that he started with another century.

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