First Test Match

NEW ZEALAND v PAKISTAN

At Christchurch, February 2, 3, 4, 6, 7. Pakistan won by 128 runs. Burgess gambled on the lasting qualities of the pitch when he sent Pakistan in to bat, and had luck gone New Zealand's way they would have been in a commanding position. But in his first over the young fast bowler Bracewell suffered a painful back injury. He was in agony for the rest of the match, and although he courageously accepted a part in the attack, he was only a distant relation of the bowler who had impressed in England the previous year. Moreover, he was extremely expensive.

Even worse, from New Zealand's point of view, was the catching. Miandad had not scored in the first innings when he spooned up the simplest of catches to Anderson, a substitute fieldsman, at mid-on. It went to ground. The same player was dropped again at 27 and he went on to the top score, 81. Sarfraz, who played an important role in the first innings, was put down at 4. Talat batted solidly for two hours, but the best of the batting came from Haroon, who drove delightfully. However, New Zealand did reasonably well to put Pakistan out for 271, although the tourists were without Majid (injured), and Asif, Imran and Zaheer (playing for WSC in Australia). At the close of the second day New Zealand were in a promising position at 142 for two.

The third day belonged to Pakistan. Although Edgar, dropped at 54 and 80, batted nearly seven hours for 129, the middle order failed and the spinners, Mushtaq and Raja, cut New Zealand's lead to only 19. Even at that stage of the game Mushtaq was able to turn his leg-breaks and googlies quite readily. Sarfraz, dismissing Parker, reached 100 wickets in Tests. By the end of the day Pakistan were 99 for one and in control, but Miandad had been dropped again, at 5. He went on to make 160 not out, a continuation of spectacular successes against New Zealand bowling.

With that innings, Miandad's Test tally against New Zealand was 919, average 153.2. Although he took five hours to reach his century, he was swift and sure in attacking the loose ball and he produced some powerful hooks and drives. Mushtaq's declaration, giving New Zealand half an hour's batting on the fourth evening, set the home team a target of 305 in six and a half hours.

The Pakistan spinners dictated on the last day. Mushtaq bowled at deep, wide footmarks outside the leg stump to discomfort the batsmen, and his five wickets gave him a match tally of nine, his best in Tests. There was stubborn resistance from Wright, Coney and Parker but Pakistan had two hours and a quarter to spare when the match was won.

© John Wisden & Co