Second Test Match


At Napier, February 16, 17, 19, 20, 21. Drawn. Mushtaq had expressed apprehension about the quality of the pitch two days before the game began, but it played so well for all five days that a draw was almost inevitable. New Zealand performed surprisingly well for some time. Asif, with a cultured display, scored his tenth century in Tests in three and threequarter hours and gave but one hard chance, at 88. Miandad, however, was dropped again and he took three hours, ten minutes getting 26. On the second morning Pakistan were 228 for seven, but the tailenders emphasised the docility of the pitch by taking the total to 360 in nine and a quarter hours. Wasim Raja played another highly attractive innings, batting 111 minutes for his 74. With his dismissal of Imran, Hadlee became the fourth New Zealander to capture 100 Test wickets.

If New Zealand scored at a faster rate, in runs an over, than Pakistan, Mushtaq seemed intent on a draw and the over-rate fell to an average of only ten an hour. New Zealand stood at 24 for one at the end of the second day, which was shortened by rain, and the third day was washed out. Consequently Monday, the scheduled rest day, was used. On it, Wright and Howarth set a New Zealand second-wicket Test record of 195 against all countries. Wright took more than five hours for his 88, a determined defensive innings, while Howarth, driving delightfully, scored a century in four hours off 188 balls.

There was more light rain on the fourth morning, and with their rests in the breaks of play, Imran and Sarfraz bowled together until an hour after lunch. The second stage of New Zealand's innings was controlled by Coney, who had been out of the Test team for five years. He took four hours twenty minutes to score his 69 but he helped New Zealand to a lead of 42. Only fifteen overs were bowled in Pakistan's second innings before play was suspended for poor light.

The only item of much interest on the last day was the dismissal of Talat. Just as the Australian Redpath had done at Christchurch five years earlier, he mistook a stentorian grunt by Hadlee, at delivery, for a no ball call and was bowled- as well as bemused. This brought Mushtaq on to the ground - just another of the many delays that marked the series- with the request that any further grunts should carry with them the calling of dead ball.

It was pallid and pointless cricket. Majid, at his best a splendid batsman, will be credited with a not out Test century. Yet on a pitch of easy pace, against moderate bowling, it took him four hours twenty-four minutes to reach 50 and six hours for his century. As had Asif earlier in the match, Majid passed the 3,000 runs mark in Test matches. Zaheer stayed two and three quarter hours for 40. Majid was missed at 48, Mushtaq first ball. Only in the last hour was there any sanity about the cricket, as attacking shots were made.

This was the first Test match played at Napier, which had the distinction of being the fiftieth Test venue. There was not much else about the game to remember.

© John Wisden & Co