December 11, 2002

Basin Reserve to host New Zealand's 300th Test

New Zealand's most successful Test venue, Wellington's Basin Reserve, is to be ground where its 300th Test match is to be played, starting tomorrow in the first Test of the National Bank Series against India.

The former ship turning bay which was rendered redundant by an earthquake in the 1850s and which was then developed by prison labour into a sporting ground in the heart of New Zealand's capital city and it has become an outstanding cricket venue, competing only with Hamilton's Westpac Park as the truest cricket grounds in the country.

Of New Zealand's 299 Tests it has managed a winning percentage of 17%.

It has won 51 matches and lost 119 with 129 drawn. In reality, the 300th Test should have been the second Test in the West Indies earlier this year. However, the cancellation of the second Test against Pakistan after the bomb blast in Karachi meant the honour occurred in New Zealand.

Over the years New Zealand have not proven a fashionable opponent.

The West Indies and India each received their Test status around the same time as New Zealand who gained theirs in 1929/30. Give or take a year or two to both of them, the West Indies have played 391 Tests and India 363.

Even Pakistan who didn't play their first Test until 1952, 22 years after New Zealand's first, have played 290 games.

Of the New Zealand venues it is appropriate that Wellington should be the venue for the 300th, because of the 39 Test matches there 10 have been won as opposed to Auckland where there have been 44 Tests and Christchurch which has had 38 Tests, both of them having only seven victories.

Two of those have been against India, in 1975/76 and on their last tour here in 1998/99.

Of New Zealand's Test victories overseas, only one venue has provided more than one victory, and that is Lahore where New Zealand has twice won Tests, in 1969/70 and in 1996/97.

Of the overseas Test victories, two were won in Australia, four in England, two in India, two in Pakistan, three in South Africa, three in Sri Lanka, one in the West Indies and three in Zimbabwe.