Fourth Cornhill Test



At Nottingham, August 25, 26, 27, 28, 29. England won by 165 runs and took the series by three matches to one. New Zealand were never masters of their own destiny once England had pulled themselves together after the unconvincing first two sessions. A partnership of 186 in 32 overs on the first evening between Botham and Randall took England clear, and in fine, warm weather the result was more or less assured by the end of the second day.

England omitted Thomas of Surrey from their chosen twelve. New Zealand gave Franklin a first cap, Wright being injured; Lees returned for Smith, who was also injured, and Snedden replaced Chatfield. Snedden disposed of Tavaré in his first over, Cairns scooping up a very good, low slip catch. Smith and Gower stabilised the innings without dominating. Gower continued to bat without a helmet after receiving a crack on the back of the head from a ball by Hadlee.

New Zealand did not bowl straight enough, and their fortunes declined to a low point when Crowe, fielding at short leg, had a finger dislocated. However, their prospects improved sharply in mid-afternoon when Gower was yorked, Smith and Lamb gave close-in catches and Gatting played a reckless sweep. But England's decision to include an extra batsman in preference to a bowler proved crucial. Botham and Randall followed reconnaissance by providing the rare sight of two English batsmen attacking spectacularly at both ends. Botham, after more than a year below his best, rediscovered the sort of violent strokeplay that make good-length bowling irrelevant. Bracewell's spin was hit for 31 in two overs and as Hadlee hopefully propelled the new ball it was hammered for 26 in two overs. Randall was an equal partner, carving the ball through the off side with increasing audacity. Botham hit three 6s and fourteen 4s. His century took 99 balls, his second 50 a mere 26.

Randall and Botham were both out before the close, which meant a prosaic second morning. In the afternoon Edgar and Howarth profited against a pace trio which had assorted problems, including a final warning for Willis for following through on the pitch. Cook was a splendid stand-by for his captain, settling into a long, nagging spell. He had Howarth, playing early, but the innings really disintegrated in the final session with a series of mistimings against Cook, whose 24 consecutive overs brought him four for 34.

Willis sent his batsmen in again. His chief reasons for not making New Zealand follow on were the lack both of a fifth bowler and a rest day. The move also eliminated, to all intents and purposes, New Zealand's chance of squaring the series. Much of England's batting was casual, reflecting their advantageous position. Lamb, however, appreciated the fact that runs were available without any pressure and he played with authority. Hadlee introduced a notable personal finale by setting a New Zealand record of 21 wickets in England and becoming the first New Zealander - the nineteenth in all - to reach 200 Test wickets.

Needing an impossible 511 in eleven hours, New Zealand made a fight of it. Edgar continued his excellent series. Howarth again succumbed after doing the hard work; Crowe's unlucky game ended when he received one of the nastiest balls of the match, and England's last-day task was eased when Edgar was dug out near the close of the fourth day after 266 minutes of resolute defence. Coney batted for ten minutes longer and Hadlee fired off a succession of typically ferocious drives. He cracked fourteen 4s and took the match just beyond the half-way point of the final day. Hadlee's fine entertainment confirmed his status as Cornhill's Man of the Series. The total attendance was 34,763 and the takings were £161,300.

© John Wisden & Co