"--IANS/CMC"
Bridgetown (Barbados), June 28 (IANS/CMC) West Indies were closing in on first innings lead despite losing three wickets in the first session on the third day of the decisive third cricket Test against New Zealand here Saturday.

At the interval, the West Indies were 240 for five, just 53 runs adrift of New Zealand's first innings of 293 made on Thursday's first day at Kensington Oval, reports CMC.

However, the hosts suffered a huge blow on the stroke of lunch when veteran left-hander Shiv Chanderpaul was caught behind for 15, ending a promising 35-run, fifth wicket stand with captain Denesh Ramdin, who was batting on 20.

Kirk Edwards converted his overnight 42 into 58, his eighth Test half-century, while Darren Bravo looked set for an enterprising innings before disappointingly falling for 24.

Left-arm seamer Neil Wagner, in for his first game of the series, has been New Zealand's best bowler with three for 43 and has taken two of the wickets to fall this morning.

Continuing from their overnight 169 for two, West Indies made good progress through Edwards and Bravo, who pushed their third wicket stand to 44 before being separated.

Edwards started the morning slowly but flicked Wagner for four in the morning's seventh over to move to 47, before punching seamer Trent Boult through cover to reach his fifty a few overs later.

Bravo as usual played with freedom, getting a streaky boundary off pacer Tim Southee in the day's fourth over before driving Wagner uppishly through cover for another four in the next over.

He lifted Wagner over cover again but then drove at Wagner once too often and sliced to Kane Williamson at gully, on the stroke of the hour mark, at 197 for three

Half-hour later with eight runs added, Edwards followed trying to flick Southee over mid-wicket but only succeeding in getting a leading edge to mid-on where Hamish Rutherford pedalled back to take the catch.

He faced 111 balls in 166 minutes, striking six fours and a six.

Chanderpaul and Ramdin then settled down to consolidate the innings, Abut the former Abrushed a catch down the leg-side off Wagner to concede some of the advantage for the visitors.

Brief scores:

New Zealand: 293 (Jimmy Neesham 78, Mark Craig 46 not out, Ross Taylor 45, Kane Williamson 43, Brendon McCullum 31; Sulieman Benn 5/93, Kemar Roach 4/61)

West Indies: 240 for five (Kraigg Brathwaite 68, Kirk Edwards 58, Chris Gayle 42, Darren Bravo 24, Denesh Ramdin 20 not out; Neil Wagner 3/43)

--IANS/CMC

vs/vd


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