A brief history ... 1929-30 to 1958

New Zealand v England - Part One

Will Luke

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1929-30 to 1958 | 1958-59 to 1978 | 1978 -



Denis Compton on his way to a hundred on debut at The Oval in 1937 © The Cricketer
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1929-30 in New Zealand
By the 1930s the authorities were looking to expand the game and in 1929-30 New Zealand became the fifth country to be granted Tests status. The MCC side which visited that summer was weak - the major players were resting after the 1928-29 Ashes tour and there was also a side playing Tests in the Caribbean. New Zealand's Test debut was an eight-wicket loss at Lancaster Park, Maurice Allom taking a hat-trick on debut as the hosts were bowled out for 112 and 131. They had the better of the second Test at Wellington, gaining a first-innings lead of 112 before rain washed the game out. At Eden park KS Duleepsinhji hit 117 but that was overshadowed by Geoffrey Legge's first and only hundred, a near-faultless 196, which effectively ended New Zealand's chances of levelling the series in the final game.
New Zealand 0 England 1 Drawn 2

1931 in England
New Zealand had toured England in 1927, playing 38 matches (26 of which were first-class), winning 13 and drawing 20. Four years on and the experience they gained from the previous was evident, even though they lost the three-Test series 1-0. England finished on top in a draw at Lord's, but not before they had slumped to 190 for 7, Les Ames and Gubby Allen adding 246 in a brilliant eighth-wicket stand. England asserted their authority in the second Test at The Oval with New Zealand handicapped by the unavailability of Stewie Dempster. Allen tore through the visitors with 5 for 14 from 13 overs to dismiss New Zealand for 193 and then Ian Peebles spun England to a series-leading innings-and-26-run win. Atrotious weather in the third and last match at Old Trafford prevented play until the final afternoon.
England 1 New Zealand 0 Drawn 2

1932-33 in New Zealand
The addition of new Zealand to the tour itinerary was not overly popular with the players or the Australian board, although Wisden described it as "a valuable missionary move". Wally Hammond was far from charitable in amassing a biblical 563 runs in the two Tests. In the first he battered 227 in England's 560 for 7 declared. The home side responded with 223 before a violent dust storm ended proceedings. Poor weather also ruined the second Test but Hammond made 336, overtakeing Don Bradman's record test score of 334. His 200 came in 400 minutes, with the third hundred taking him a mere 47 more. Heavy rain finally came to New Zealand's rescue and the series was drawn.
New Zealand 0 England 0 Drawn 2



Jack Cowie catches Jim Smith to complete his 6 for 67 at Old Trafford in 1937 © The Cricketer
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1937 in England
A wet summer did New Zealand no favours, and they had their backs against the wall for much of it. At Lord's they had a valiant rearguard from Merv Wallace who, timing the ball beautifully, added 56 to his first-innings 52, and Jack Kerr which helped save the match. At Old Trafford, England were 75 for 7 but dropped catches allowed them to recover to 265, and then New Zealand fell apart to the spin of Tom Goddard. The third Test at The Oval was drawn.
England 1 New Zealand 0 Drawn 2

1946-47 in New Zealand
Murky conditions hung over Christchurch for most of the Test which benefited New Zealand, and Jack Cowie, far more than England. Walter Hadlee's first and only hundred (116) led New Zealand to 345 in their first innings and Cowie took 6 for 83 in England's reply. They declared on 265 for 7 but the rain set in on Sunday and, despite adding an extra day to the end of the Test in a bid to achieve a result, the weather had the last say.
New Zealand 0 England 0

1949 in England
Hadlee's New Zealand side boasted a strong batting line-up, centring on Martin Donnelly, and that, allied to Hadlee's safety-first policy, meant that all four Tests were drawn; it signalled the realisation that three-day Tests made a definite result all but impossible. New Zealand declined to chase an unlikely 299 in 150 minutes at Leeds, while they had the better of stalemate at Lord's where Donnelly's 216 took the plaudits. He added two fifties at Old Trafford as New Zealand had to dig deep after conceding a 147-run lead, and another batsman-friendly track at The Oval - it was Len Hutton's turn to score a double hundred - ended the series.
England 0 New Zealand 0 Drawn 4



Bert Sutcliffe reaches his hundred at Nottingham in 1949 © The Cricketer
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1950-51 in New Zealand
The first Test was, in Wisden's words, "dreary". A lifeless pitch made scoring incredibly difficult, so both teams plodded and the bowlers wilted. The second Test, a low-scoring thriller, finally brought some entertainment to the series. Five wickets for Doug Wright helped dismiss New Zealand for 125 but England struggled 69 for 4 in reply. Only thanks to Hutton (57) and Brown (47), the captain, did England gain a first-innings lead of 102. It was too much for New Zealand who, in spite of a dogged 60 from Scott, were skittled for 189.
New Zealand 0 England 1 Drawn 1

1954-55 in New Zealand
Fresh from an Ashes-winning series, England were on a high and New Zealand found out first hand how hard to handle Brian Statham and Frank Tyson were. They shared 12 wickets as England won the first Test by eight wickets and then 11 at Auckland in an innings victory. Bob Appleyard weighed in with match figures of 7 for 45 as New Zealand were bowled out for 26, - a record which still stands today.
New Zealand 0 England 2

1958 in England
Enthusiastic and popular they might have been, but the 1958 New Zealanders are considered to be one of the weakest sides of all time. They won enough of the tour matches to ensure they had some reasons to smile, but in the Tests they were thrashed - they were overwhelmed at Edgbaston, Lord's, Headingley and Old Trafford, and only rain saved them at The Oval. Uncertainty in batting was always the big trouble. Their totals in the first four Tests tell the tale: 94 and 137 at Edgbaston; 47 and 74 at Lord's; 67 and 129 at Headingley; 267 and 85 at Old Trafford.
England 4 New Zealand 0 Drawn 1

Will Luke is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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Will Luke Assistant editor Will opted against a lifetime of head-bangingly dull administration in the NHS, where he had served for two years. In 2005 came a break at Cricinfo where he slotted right in as a ferociously enthusiastic tea drinker and maker, with a penchant for using "frankly" and "marvellous". He also runs The Corridor, a cricket blog where he can be found ranting and raving about all things - some even involving the sport. He is a great-great nephew of Sir Jack Newman, the former Wellingtonian bowler who took two wickets at 127 apiece for New Zealand.
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