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NZ's Bond sets up thrilling final day v Windies

Written by: Staff

WELLINGTON, Mar 12 (Reuters) Fast bowler Shane Bond produced an inspired spell to drag New Zealand back into the first test against West Indies in Auckland today, setting up a nail-biting final day.

Bond finished with figures of four for 66 after triggering a West Indies collapse after tea on the fourth day, after openers Daren Ganga (95) and Chris Gayle (82) had combined for an 148-run partnership to put the visitors in sight of their first victory since May 2005.

West Indies finished the day on 246 for eight, needing a further 45 runs to secure victory, with Ian Bradshaw on seven and Jerome Taylor yet to score.

''We would be disappointed to lose from here. We obviously know the game's in our favour,'' New Zealand vice captain Daniel Vettori told reporters.

''They still have a chance to win it, so we can't say that the game is ours, but we took the game away from them as opposed to them losing it.'' West Indies have lost their last six test matches since beating Pakistan by 276 runs in Barbados last May. They have won just two of their previous 20 tests.

New Zealand's front line bowlers initially found it difficult to capture wickets when play began after the first session was abandoned due to overnight rain with part-timer Nathan Astle dismissing both openers.

Astle had Gayle caught behind by Stephen Fleming off his second ball in the session before tea, then had Ganga caught by Jamie How after the break.

Ganga's dismissal sparked a collapse with West Indies losing four wickets for 10 runs in 5.4 overs.

RETIRED HURT Bond, who had earlier struck Ramnaresh Sarwan on the helmet forcing the vice captain to retire hurt on four, had Dwayne Smith caught by Fleming for nought, prompting Sarwan to return.

The right hander, however, failed to add to his score and was well caught by Scott Styris at second slip off Bond before the fast bowler trapped Dwayne Bravo in front for 17.

Bond had earlier dismissed Brian Lara for a first ball duck after the world record holder had come in to replace Sarwan when he initially retired.

Bond could have also had Ramdin caught for just one and with it probably ending West Indies' realistic chances of winning the match, only for Chris Martin to drop an easy catch at midwicket.

Ramdin, however eventually self-destructed, falling into a leg side trap when he top-edged a sweep off Vettori and holed out to James Franklin in the deep for 15.

Bad light stopped play just three balls later.

West Indies had gone to tea at 160 for two before Vettori had Shivnarine Chanderpaul caught by Peter Fulton for 15 to leave the visitors 182 for three but still in control.

Astle then dismissed Ganga to leave West Indies 211 for four before Bond ripped through the middle order and gave his side the upper hand in seeking victory tomorrow.

''A lot of it's down to Shane Bond and the spell he produced today and many us fed off that,'' Vettori said.

''I know I did personally, as well as the job Nathan Astle did tying up one end which allowed Shane to attack.'' REUTERS PM RN1405

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