The 3rd Test between New Zealand and West Indies in Hamilton seems finely balanced at the end of Day 2, with West Indies batting first and somehow making it to 367, and the hosts on 156/3 in reply.
In the cricket betting, New Zealand are still the favourites at 2.26 on Betfair, the Draw is 3.15 and West Indies are 4.1.
The match situation sees the hosts 211 runs behind, they are struggling to play the two front line West Indies spinners (yes they picked two), and the hosts also – all going to plan – will be batting fourth on an already turning wicket.
I don’t see New Zealand as such heavy favourites, for me the West Indies are currently the team in control, but the odds don’t seem to reflect this.
This could be because of the manner of the defeat inflicted on West Indies in the 2nd Test, but even allowing for the momentum and confidence New Zealand have, this is a totally different looking wicket.
Day 2 has seen Sunil Narine bowling 22 uninterrupted Overs with figures of 22-9-43-2. I doubt very much the wicket is going to turn less as the match continues, and as I already mentioned, West Indies have two front line spinners in their side.
I kind of get the impression that once Ross Taylor goes, the spinners could reap havoc with the rest of the New Zealand batting order.
The positives for New Zealand are that the in-form Ross Taylor is still there on 56, and can anybody ever rely on West Indies to finish a job off from a position of strength?
They managed to find themselves on 86/5 in their first innings, so to come back as well as they did on Day 1 is an achievement in itself already for West Indies.
That man Shivnarine Chanderpaul again blanking out the carnage around him and scoring his 29th Test century, with no shortage of help from wicketkeeper, Denesh Ramdin, who also helped himself to a century.
Did those two have the best batting conditions late on Day 1? Possibly.
Given all this, and even allowing for West Indies’ penchant for a batting collapse, I believe it would still take a brave man to back to the Kiwis from here.