Second Test Match

New Zealand v England

Despite a wretched start, England gained a swift and sweeping revenge for the Wellington defeat.

Batting first on a greenish pitch England lost three men, including Boycott, in no time for 26. The recovery was started by Roope and Taylor, continued by Miller, who had to retire when struck in the face when 31, Botham, Edmonds, and finally by a recovered Miller.

It became Botham's match, and, no matter how long he plays for England, he will find it hard to equal his spectacular all-round performance. His maiden Test century, in only his fourth game for England, included one 6 and twelve 4s and was full of impressive and powerful strokes. By any standard it was a superb innings.

In the second innings, when England led by 183 runs and quick runs were needed to ram home their advantage, Botham hit 30 off 36 balls. His bowling was equally convincing, with figures of five for 73 and three for 38, and he took three catches, two of which were in the sensational class.

Like Botham and Taylor, Edmonds made his highest Test score with a perfect 50 off 68 balls - probably his best innings at any level - and on the third morning Miller took four successive boundaries off Collinge before he was caught at mid-on with his score at 89.

A total of 418 had been beyond England's wildest expectations after such a disastrous start and Boycott's decision to bat first, and indeed bat through to the end, was vindicated by events.

New Zealand had considerable difficulty in avoiding the follow-on - achieved only when the last pair, Parker and Chatfield, were together - and they were indebted to Parker and Collinge for an eighth-wicket stand of 58.

Apart from Anderson, who was severe on Old, there was little to commend in New Zealand's batting. Botham and Edmonds both bowled well, the former turning the innings by whipping out Burgess and Lees.

Hadlee, the victim of a ball keeping low, went to Edmonds, which meant three men out for 5 runs. Parker had an escape at 19 when Edmonds made his solitary error in a superlative display of short leg and slip catching.

England had two and a half hours batting on the fourth evening, during which New Zealand bowled 22 overs and there was an unfortunate incident when Chatfield, without warning, ran out Randall, the non-striker.

Chatfield ran in normally, stopped, and took off the bails underarm to the acute embarrassment of the majority of the spectators. The view in an angry English camp was that, if Chatfield had continued with his normal overarm action, Randall would still have been in his ground.

In the English first innings there had been some gallery-playing action by Hadlee against two batsmen. He held the ball after completing his action, and it hardly needs adding that the game would be in a constant state of disruption if bowlers made a habit of such tactics.

New Zealand had to make 280 when Boycott declared first thing on the last morning. Within two hours England were on the point of victory, having taken five wickets for 48.

Willis started the collapse by having Wright caught off the sixth ball by Roope, in the manner of a goalkeeper above his head. Wright tried to take evasive action against a short pitcher but did not have time to take his bat away.

Roope's catch set a remarkable high standard for the other slip catchers, who gave superb support to the bowling of Willis, Botham and Edmonds.

However, both Willis and Botham ran foul of umpire Goodall and were officially warned for running down the pitch. Boycott protested that the marks had been made by all the right-arm bowlers throughout the previous four days.

The second caution led to Willis going round the wicket and, if anything, he became more accurate and deadly. Congdon was caught by a diving Botham - a quite superb catch - at slip, and in the next over Willis hit the off stump of Anderson and Lees with successive deliveries.

To add to New Zealand's problems Burgess stood still and allowed a ball from Willis to hit his left elbow. He was forced to retire, and by the time he returned nine wickets were down and the Test was won and lost. Willis's match-winning spell was four for 9.

Botham enthusiastically came in for the kill as he succeeded Willis. He ended the seventy-seven minute resistance of Hadlee (eight 4s) by sprinting from leg slip to square leg to take a skier, and his catch at leg slip to dismiss Parker was also one to savour. In everything he did Botham was the inspired cricketer.

© John Wisden & Co