Updated: 06/09/2014 04:25 | By Agence France-Presse

Latham, Williamson lay solid base for New Zealand

Unbeaten half-centuries by Tom Latham and Kane Williamson put New Zealand in a comfortable position of 164 for one at tea after choosing to bat first at Sabina Park in Jamaica on Sunday.

Latham, Williamson lay solid base for New Zealand

Tom Latham of New Zealand bats during day 3 of the 2nd International Test cricket match between New Zealand and India in Wellington on February 16, 2014 - by Marty Melville

Playing just his second Test match, Latham benefited from a few narrow escapes, including a reprieve off what was eventually determined to be a no-ball, to be on 75 at the interval. 

Williamson showed a bit more adventure than the left-handed opener to reach 79 at the break as the West Indies bowlers toiled without further success on a pitch devoid of pace but offering some assistance to the slow bowlers.

Television replay technology has so far proved critical to Latham’s progress. 

In the morning session, following the dismissal of Peter Fulton for one to a catch at the wicket off returning fast bowler Jerome Taylor, he survived one referral by the West Indies to overturn a “not out” verdict on a leg-before appeal and was then successful in having a ruling of a bat-pad catch off Suliemen Benn reversed in his favour.

But his biggest slice of luck, so far, came in the first over after tea when an edged drive off Taylor was comfortably caught by Marlon Samuels at gully. 

Latham, on 39 at the time, was walking dejectedly back to the dressing room when he was held up as replays suggested the fast bowler had delivered a no-ball. 

Careful examination confirmed, only just, that it was an illegal delivery and the opener continued to make the most of the reprieve.

Frustrated by their lack of success, West Indies also offered more loose deliveries in the latter stages of the second session, allowing the second-wicket pair to accelerate the scoring to the extent that 102 runs were added over the two hours in contrast to the 62 grounded out in the morning period. 

They will resume after tea with the partnership already worth 155 runs and with a wealth of batting to come, including skipper Brendon McCullum, who would have felt particularly delighted to have chosen to bat first on a pitch that appears full of runs.

West Indies started the day in a celebratory mood however, with a small ceremony to mark the 100th Test for local hero Chris Gayle. 

Yet any inspiration that new West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin was hoping his players could have drawn from that landmark achievement dissipated amid the struggle over the first two sessions of the day.

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