New Zealand beat West Indies by a comprehensive 186 runs as Chris Gayle was denied his fairytale victory in his 100th Test.
Former captain Gayle looked in fine form, scoring 64 in his first innings before eventually being dismissed by Tim Southee, but his efforts did not prove to be enough as the Windies never really looked in the game.
The Kiwis had declared on 508-7 after both Kane Williamson and Jimmy Neesham hit centuries, while Tom Latham and wicket-keeper BJ Watling notched up 83 and 89 respectively.
The West Indies could manage just 262 in reply, and other than Gayle, only Shivnarine Chanderpaul offered any real resistance with 84 not out.
New Zealand looked far weaker once they returned to the crease, and declared again on 156 but lost eight wickets. There was time for Latham to add 73 to his name, but not for much else as the Windies looked to pile on the pressure and begin their chase of an unlikely 403.
That proved a stretch too far, however, as they collapsed again, this time without the heroics of their two star men. In fact, it took until the entrance of number eleven Shane Shillingford for them to put up any real kind of a fight, but his half century came too little too late for the match to be salvaged.
For Gayle then, his 100th Test turned out to be something of an anti-climax, though whether that will bother him too much is enough matter, having claimed to have fallen out of love with Test cricket in 2009, and saying that he “wouldn’t be so sad if…it died out”.
West Indies fans may fear he could have simply waiting to reach milestone before deciding to focus on his favoured form of the game in T20. He has since backtracked on his remarks about Tests, perhaps unsurprisingly considering he is just the ninth West Indian to represent his country 100 times in the longer format.
Windies head coach Ottis Gibson will have plenty of work to do back on the training ground after seeing few promising signs in his side’s first Test of the year.
The All Blacks, on the other hand, will be delighted with the result, and particularly with the performance of bowlers Southee and Mark Craig, the latter of whom took four crucial wickets in each innings, including those of Marlon Samuels and Kieran Powell. Southee’s influence was equally potent, as he twice dismissed Gayle.
The two sides will contest the second Test on Monday June 16.
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