Updated: 06/12/2014 05:36 | By Agence France-Presse

West Indies on the rack as Southee strikes

Tim Southee struck two important blows before tea to further enhance New Zealand's chances of victory in the first Test against the West Indies at Sabina Park in Jamaica on Thursday.

West Indies on the rack as Southee strikes

Tim Southee of New Zealand bats at Eden Park in Auckland on February 8, 2014 - by Michael Bradley

His efforts left the home side struggling at 15 for two at the interval after they were set a daunting target of 403 on the fourth afternoon of the match.

Fresh from an excellent effort in the first innings when he claimed four for 19, Southee removed openers Kieran Powell and Chris Gayle after Brendan McCullum declared the Black Caps' second innings at 156 for eight.

Powell fell without scoring, caught at short midwicket by Tom Latham without scoring while Gayle, who went past 7,000 runs in Test cricket in getting off the mark with a boundary, departed in the seamer's next over.

He was caught at the wicket in a manner similar to his first innings dismissal off the same bowler.

For the few fans gathered at Sabina Park hoping for a monumental effort from their hero in his 100th Test match, his swift demise was as much of a huge let-down for them as it was a considerable boost to New Zealand’s chances of pulling off only their second win in 16 Test matches in the Caribbean.

Earlier, it was Latham's workmanlike innings of 73 – his second half-century of the match - that held the New Zealand second innings together after a double-strike by Jerome Taylor reduced the visitors to 14 for four.

That came at the start of the day and raised expectations of the home side getting back into the contest by completely demolishing their opponents' second innings.

Taylor, who has impressed on his return to Test cricket after a four-and-a-half-year absence through a series of injuries, trapped nightwatchman Ish Sodhi and key middle-order batsman Ross leg-before off successive deliveries.

While his teammates in the top order continued to struggle, Latham remained disciplined and defiant throughout his innings respecting the excellent opening spells of Taylor and Kemar Roach with the relatively new ball.

He was more prosperous off the spinners however, especially favouring the pull and cut when Shillingford and Sulieman Benn dropped short.

It was only with the declaration imminent that he attempted any exaggerated aggression, falling to a catch at slip by Gayle when he chased a wide delivery off Roach to end his four-hour-long occupation of the crease.

Debutant Mark Craig then smashed the first delivery he faced in Test cricket for six to take the West Indies target over 400, prompting the declaration.

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