Toss: New Zealand. Test debut: S. P. Fleming.
Rain and bad light ensured a dismal draw, most memorable for the debut of Fleming. Nine days before his 21st birthday, Fleming took New Zealand to safety with a brilliant 92. He hit 12 fours in three hours and his strokeplay, on a pitch of uneven bounce and pace, delighted the crowd. He enabled Rutherford to declare at 368 for seven and set India a rather improbable target of 310 in 66 overs. Sidhu and the emergency opener, Mongia, started off with 102 and India were still interested when Kambli came in first wicket down. But when Pringle bowled him they batted out time. Sidhu made 98, with eight fours and three sixes, before he was caught behind off Hart's left-arm spin.
Play on the first day was delayed until 3.15 p. m. and restricted to 38.5 overs by rain. Rutherford chose to bat, though he must have had doubts with the pitch so moist at the start. Hartland went for a duck, caught at third slip off Kapil Dev, and Srinath, bowling with sustained accuracy, dismissed Young and the out-of-form Greatbatch. Fleming was dropped by Azharuddin just after he came in but survived to put on 51 with his captain, the only batsman to pass 20. New Zealand were all out for 187 before tea on the second day; Srinath claimed four for 60, though it was the spinners who had put most pressure on the batsmen.
India then reached 104 for three in the final session, with Tendulkar playing a dazzling cameo. He hit 43 from 47 balls, with seven fours, out of a third-wicket stand of 51 with Mongia. During his innings he passed 2,000 runs in his 32nd Test; for comparison, Rutherford, who reached 2,000 in the second innings, took 13 more Tests and was Tendulkar's senior by seven and a half years; even Fleming was three weeks older. Azharuddin's record stood comparison, as he clocked up his 4,000th run in 62 Tests, though his batting on the third day was painfully slow. He took nearly three hours over his 63 and after he was bowled, sweeping at Thomson, India's last five went for 30. Morrison was rewarded with four for 52.
New Zealand reduced the deficit from 59 to 20 by the close and prospered next day. None of the batsman failed completely: Young struck 11 fours in his 85 and Rutherford five fours and two sixes in his second fifty of the match. But the game belonged to Fleming, who had an unbeaten 67 overnight and so nearly a century on debut in the morning.
Man of the Match: S. P. Fleming.
Close of play: First day, New Zealand 81-3 (K. R. Rutherford 43*, S. P. Fleming 10*); Second day, India 104-3 (N. R. Mongia 33*, M. Azharuddin 8*); Third day, New Zealand 39-0 (B. A. Young 19*, B. R. Hartland 18*); Fourth day, New Zealand 306-5 (S. P. Fleming 67*, A. C. Parore 10*).