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Nestled beneath Mount Victoria and Mount Cook, the Basin Reserve is an island of cricket in inner city Wellington. Spectators are accommodated on a grass bank on the eastern side of the ground, a natural sun trap which also provides shelter from the notorious southerly winds. The ground is protected by Act of Parliament and is New Zealand's only sport ground on the National Heritage list.
Cricket in Wellington received a surprise boost in 1855, courtesy of an unexpected earthquake which flattened out enough ground to create the Basin Reserve. The ground, however, was swampy and it was another 13 years until the ground was completed and the first match was played between Wellington Volunteers and representatives of HMS Falcon in 1868.
Five years later, the inaugural first-class match was played there, between Wellington and Auckland. But it was not until much later the next century, that the Basin Reserve hosted its first Test, when in 1929, New Zealand faced the MCC. Local batsman Stewie Dempster and Aucklander Jack Mills shared an opening stand of 276: they each struck centuries, the first by New Zealanders in Test matches.
But local enthusiasts had to wait until 1968-69 for New Zealand's first Test victory on the ground, against West Indies. It was also the scene of a then-world record for all Test wickets when, in 1990-91, Martin Crowe (299) and Andrew Jones (186) posted 467 runs in their third-wicket stand against Sri Lanka.
Sir Richard Hadlee took his 300th Test wicket here, when he removed the Australian captain Allan Border. This was one of 53 wickets Hadlee picked up at the Basin Reserve, at an average of 20.3.
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Cricinfo staff May 2005
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|2nd Test - New Zealand v Sri Lanka|
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