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Windies in pole position to level series

Debutant Jermaine Blackwood played a key role as West Indies tightened their grip over the second Test against New Zealand on the third day in Port of Spain.

The 22-year-old Jamaican ensured the Windies established a 239-run first-innings advantage with a 63 that included six boundaries and two sixes.

New Zealand’s top-order made a solid start to eating away at the deficit, reaching the close at 73 for one, but they still face the prospect of having to at least bat through the fourth day to avoid defeat.

Jerome Taylor claimed an early wicket when Brednon McCullum, drafted back to the top of the order in place of Hamish Rutherford, was trapped lbw for three.

Tom Latham and Kane Williamson stood firm in an unbroken 64-run stand to keep the Windies at bay until the close.

The hosts were boosted earlier in the day by Blackwood as he stretched their lead in valuable partnerships with his more esteemed team-mates Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Denesh Ramdin.

West Indies’ lead at the start of the day had been 89 runs and they added 23 more before nightwatchman Kemar Roach picked out midwicket off Trent Boult.

That brought Blackwood to the crease and he did not take long to get going, slamming his ninth ball in Test cricket back over Boult’s head for six.

His seventh-wicket stand with Chanderpaul was worth 47 but the veteran was out lbw on review to leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, who returned 4-96.

Skipper Ramdin arrival prompted more attacking batting, cracking a hat-trick of fours off Boult, before Blackwood reached his maiden half-century from 93 balls.

Blackwood was finally dismissed when Sodhi found grip in the surface to catch his edge and Ross Taylor held on at slip.

Ramdin and Jerome Taylor then fell in successive overs as West Indies were bowled out for 460.

The hosts then made immediate an inroad as McCullum was trapped in front, but Latham, unbeaten on 30, and Kane Williamson, who reached 38, reduced the deficit to 166 runs by stumps.

New Zealand won the first of the three-Test series in Jamiaca last week by 186 runs.

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