Wagner: Black Caps can defend 250

New Zealand

New Zealand fast bowler Neil Wagner is hopeful that his side's batsmen can post a score of at least 250, saying they'd be confident of defending that to win the third Test and the series in the Caribbean.

New Zealand fast bowler Neil Wagner is hopeful that his side's batsmen can post a score of at least 250, saying they'd be confident of defending that to win the third Test and the series in the Caribbean.

Wagner was speaking after day three of the Test in Barbados, where the Black Caps held a lead of 99 and on 123 for three, having restricted the West Indies to a lead of just 24 earlier in the day. Wagner took four wickets in that innings.

Wagner said: "Kane (Williamson) and Baz (Brendon McCullum) batted quite well at the end, did an awesome job there. Getting us to a 98-run or so lead, which is brilliant. We would have taken that any day.

"Anything above 250 gives us bowlers a good chance to defend it. It is only going to get harder to bat on towards the end but we know they can come out swinging. Our bowlers are pretty confident what we have done in the past, in the last couple of months.

"If we get 250, we will be happy with defending that."

He added that the pitch had been playing erratically, and they did not want to be batting on the last day if they could help it: "There was a couple of times where it seemed to be going up and down a little bit.

"Some balls seemed to be staying low and some saw tennis-ball bounce. Quite happy where it is at and it is going to start getting to the point where it is going to be tough to bat on last day and innings."

West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder felt the pitch was alright to bat on though, having made 38 himself on day three. He said: "It's a pitch where you know you've got to get in.

"It's a little two-paced and I thought Wagner bowled very well, very tempting and testing. But once you get in it's a lot easier to score."

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