Third Test Match

NEW ZEALAND v AUSTRALIA 1981-82

At Christchurch, March 19, 20, 21, 22. Australia won by eight wickets. Howarth again sent Australia in, and although Wood scored swiftly, New Zealand made good progress on a grassy pitch. Wood, with a diverting display, scored 64, reaching his half-century from only 58 balls. After an uncertain start on the first afternoon, Chappell was magnificent on the second morning when, in 106 minutes, he added 100 to his overnight 76. His 176 came from 218 balls in 260 minutes with two 6s and 23 4s.

If, with the exception of Hadlee's splendid bowling, New Zealand's performance in the field was disappointing, so was their batting. The Australians were all hostility, Thomson in particular bowling very fast, but New Zealand reached 50 with only one wicket down. Then six were lost in an hour, despite another knee injury to Lillee, whose last victim, caught by Marsh, gave the Australian wicket-keeper his 300th Test dismissal, 88 of them catches off Lillee.

At the close of the second day New Zealand were 98 for eight, needing another 56 runs to avoid the follow-on. Hadlee and Snedden scored all but 5 of them with some assertive batting, but both were out at 149 to give Australia a first-innings lead of 204. In Lillee's absence Chappell thought deeply before enforcing the follow-on. He opened the bowling himself, in order to rest Thomson, and when a stand of 93 between Wright and Howarth took New Zealand to 129 for two, a full recovery was in sight. Howarth was then given out caught at silly mid-on, a decision which caused considerable discussion, from which point New Zealand lost ground rapidly. Wright, driving beautifully, was 91 not out at the end of the day, with New Zealand 181 for seven. On the fourth morning he hit ten 4s in adding another 50, totalling seventeen 4s in his second Test century, but Australia, needing only 69 to win, had squared the series by mid-afternoon.

Attendance: 36,000. Takings:£41,000.

© John Wisden & Co