Hope crucial for West Indies in first Test
New Zealand hot favourites
Sky Sports Cricket & Main Event, 10pm Thursday
The West Indies shocked England at Headingley in August before losing the series 2-1 and New Zealand can’t afford to be complacent in the first Test in Wellington.
First-choice wicketkeeper BJ Watling is sidelined with a hip injury and Tim Southee is set to miss out because of the birth of his first child.
New Zealand remain a classy Test outfit at home but odds of 4-11 about them beating an improving Windies side make little appeal.
Instead, take the 11-4 about Shai Hope top-scoring in the tourists’ first innings. The number four played a crucial role in the victory in Leeds, scoring centuries in both innings of the match, and he has maintained that fine form.
Hope scored 85 against Zimbabwe A in Bulawayo before knocks of 90 not out, 44 and 40 in the Test series in southern Africa. He started this tour with a brisk 110 off 133 balls against a New Zealand A side including Lockie Ferguson, who has been added to the Test squad as cover for Southee.
S Hope top West Indies first-innings runscorer
1pt 3-1 general
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