Second Test Match

AUSTRALIA v NEW ZEALAND 1985-86

At Sydney, November 22, 23, 24, 25, 26. Australia won by four wickets. Contrary to all expectations Border sent New Zealand in to bat on a grassless, drab pitch after leaving out his fastest bowler, McDermott, and bringing in a left-arm spinner, Bright. Border's decision appeared to be going against him when Wright and Edgar put on 60 by lunch, but in the next four hours he was proved right as his spin bowlers, Bright and Holland, swept through the New Zealand innings. Only Bracewell, hastily summoned from New Zealand to bowl his off spinners, and Boock, with a Test highest score of 35, remained, and yet these two, the former strong and confident of stroke, the latter all obdurate defence, took New Zealand to 217 for nine by the close and next day increased their last-wicket partnership to 124, the highest for the series between the two countries. Hadlee had time to take the first Australian wicket before lunch.

The seam and spin combination of Hadlee and Bracewell quickly reduced Australia to 71 for five and Matthews should have been stumped at 79 for five. Instead this irrepressible left-hander and the stolid Ritchie took Australia into the third day at 175 for five. Ritchie was dropped by Boock in Hadlee's first over, but Hadlee dismissed Matthews at 186 and Ritchie at 224 (after 281 minutes), and New Zealand gained a lead of 66 runs. When, by late on the third day, Wright and Edgar had fashioned a 100-run stand for the first wicket, New Zealand had the match in their grasp - and promptly dropped it. From 119 for three overnight, they were all out soon after lunch on the fourth day for 193.

Bad light and then rain after tea suited neither team, but the rain cleared for Australia to start the last day at 36 for one. It returned to halt play for 68 minutes, and when the match resumed Australia needed 199 from 61 overs with nine wickets in hand. Boon and Phillips added 105 for the second wicket, and at tea Australia were 141 for two, requiring 119 from a minimum of 32 overs. From the last twenty overs 90 runs were needed and the light was fading badly - as was New Zealand's catching. Boon, after a fine innings of 81 in 267 minutes, was out at 192, but Matthews was dropped off Hadlee when 2. It was a costly miss, for he and his fellow lefthander, Hookes, struck out boldly, against the old ball and the new, hitting 64 off nine and a half overs. Hookes was dropped with the victory 2 runs away, and Australia levelled the series with 23 balls to spare.

Bracewell was made Man of the Match, for which the attendance was 37,540.

© John Wisden & Co