Third Test preview: New Zealand v West Indies

New Zealand

The West Indies, unfortunately, haven't been able to walk the talk – and require a prompt turnaround to maintain a semblance of respect ahead of next year's return series.

The West Indies, unfortunately, haven't been able to walk the talk – and require a prompt turnaround to maintain a semblance of respect ahead of next year's return series.

New Zealand have named an unchanged team, and rightly so, after all-rounder Corey Anderson recovered from a shin injury. His selection retains the right balance – and might substantiate the <a href='http://www.paddypower.com/bet/cricket/cricket-test-matches/New-Zealand-V-West-Indies-6237891.html' target='_blank' class='instorylink'><b>leading run-scoring stakes</b></a>. Any player keeping all-rounder Doug Bracewell out of the side deserves credit.

The Windies have to find a fitting replacement for the suspended Shane Shillingford. Whether or not you agree with the International Cricket Council's findings, Shillingford's absence due to an illegal bowling action is a big blow.

Fellow slow bowler Sunil Narine is the most likely to step in, with all and sundry hopeful a fine stretch of form in limited-overs cricket will graduate to success in the Test match arena. Left-armer Veerasammy Permaul or seamer Sheldron Cottrell, too, are options.

Three of the Windies' last four results have ended in heavy innings-plus defeats, and breaking the trend against a confident Black Caps unit, eager to set themselves apart from the Test rankings' bottomfeeders, will take a genuinely collective effort. To many individuals do not make a team.

<b>Key Men</b><br><b>Ross Taylor's</b> outstanding big contributions in the series so far have seemed recreational more than vocational, and the former captain is bound to cash in again.

Whoever it is, Cottrell, Permaul or <b>Sunil Narine</b>, they have big shoes to fill after Shillingford's exit. Conditions, meanwhile, might see the Windies opt for two specialist spinners – but neither first-choice.

<b>Last Five Head-To-Head Results</b><br>2013: Second Test: New Zealand won by an innings and 73 runs in Wellington<br>2013: First Test: Match drawn in Dunedin<br>2012: Second Test: West Indies won by five wickets in Kingston<br>2012: First Test: West Indies won by nine wickets in North Sound<br>2008: Second Test: Match drawn in Napier

<b>Prediction</b><br>The West Indies have been unable to string together patches of consistency, let alone overall success. New Zealand have, and will probably do so again, justifying solid <a href='http://www.paddypower.com/bet/cricket' target='_blank' class='instorylink'><b>4/7 online cricket betting odds</b></a>.

<b>Teams</b><br><i>New Zealand (confirmed):</i> Hamish Rutherford, Peter Fulton, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum, BJ Watling, Corey Anderson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, Ish Sodhi.

<i>West Indies (probable):</i> Kirk Edwards, Kieran Powell, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Denesh Ramdin, Darren Sammy, Sunil Narine, Tino Best, Shannon Gabriel.

<b>Dates:</b> 19 to 23 December<br><b>Morning session:</b> 10:30-12:30 (21:30-23:30 previous day GMT)<br><b>Afternoon session:</b> 13:10-15:10 (00:10-02:10 GMT)<br><b>Evening session:</b> 15:30-17:30 (02:30-04:30 GMT)<br><b>On-field umpires:</b> Ian Gould and Paul Reiffel<br><b>Third umpire:</b> Nigel Llong<br><b>Match referee:</b> Roshan Mahanama

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