Pakistan's 1964-65 tour of Australia and New Zealand broke new ground, but the crop, unfortunately, was of indifferent quality.
All four Test matches were drawn. If each of the three in New Zealand was affected by rain, the failure to reach a result in any could be attributed principally to rather timid and tepid cricket.
New Zealand felt, with some justification, that they were capable of beating Pakistan and were desperately anxious to begin a series of 13 Tests at home and abroad in six months with a victory; Pakistan probably thought that they could ill-afford to lose to the lowest-ranked of the cricketing nations.
There was thus rather much safety-first cricket. These were not strong teams and the regularity with which the batting of both sides broke down was startling and gave the games an interest they would otherwise have lacked.
Pakistan were equipped with a good and varied attack, and the New Zealand pace bowling reached a high quality. There were some fantastic collapses, although at no stage of any of the Tests was there a really lively or dangerous pitch.
In the first Test, for instance, New Zealand reached 261 for four and were all out for 266. Pakistan, 26 for none overnight, fell to 26 for three and in the second innings lost their first five wickets for 19.
At Auckland in the second match the Pakistan score stood at 197 for five, yet the side were all out for 207. New Zealand, at tea on the last day, reached 102 for two and had victory firmly in their grasp, for they needed only 118 more runs. Half an hour later the score was 102 for six and Pakistan easily saved the match.
At Christchurch in the final Test, Pakistan lost their first seven wickets for 81. Only once in the series did either side exceed 300 in an innings. That was in Pakistan's second innings at Christchurch; then Hanif, in going on to a century, batted far too long and left insufficient time for his bowlers to dismiss New Zealand.
In scoring rate and wicket average, New Zealand held a slight advantage over the visitors, and were more often in a winning position than Pakistan. On the last day at Wellington, Pakistan, needing 259 to win, lost five wickets for 23 by tea and only a sturdy innings from Asif saved the day.
Pakistan did not look like winning at Auckland, even when New Zealand faltered on the point of victory, and at Christchurch New Zealand, set a target of 314, had made 223 for five at the close of play.
New Zealand, searching for a team to send on their tour of India, Pakistan and England, used 16 players in the three matches, of whom B.E. Congdon, R.W. Morgan, P.B. Truscott and R.O. Collinge were new to Test cricket.
Morgan, who scored 187 runs in his first four innings, made an especially good debut and so did Collinge, whose fast left-arm bowling brought him 15 wickets and the distinction of dismissing Hanif in five successive innings.
Pakistan played the same team for the first two Tests but for the third brought in Mufasir-ul-Haq to replace the injured Arif and took the unusual course of calling on the Warwickshire batsman, K. Ibadulla. He was in New Zealand as coach for the Otago Cricket Association, and he had played for Otago in the Plunket Shield series.
The Pakistan batting was distinctly disappointing. Three players of whom much was expected -- Hanif, Saeed and Burki -- failed five times in their six Test innings. Hanif, however, scored the only century of the series, and the last 50 runs of this innings showed the Pakistan captain in his best light. He had spent two hours and a half scoring 50, but completed his century in another hour.
The New Zealand captain, J.R. Reid, and Morgan were the only batsmen on either side to pass 50 twice in the series.
Reid's innings of 97 at Wellington was one of true magnificence and this was the only occasion that Pakistan's generally accurate and well-directed bowling was reduced to tatters. Reid's runs came in just over two hours of clean, powerful hitting. Morgan, too, fell only three short of a century in his second Test match.
Against a few such innings of colour and character must be set some extraordinarily dreary displays. The Pakistanis, not unnaturally, were apprehensive of rain and Hanif nearly lost the first Test by sending New Zealand in first on a wet wicket which played easily and dried out evenly.
At Auckland there was more rain, but before it fell Pakistan gave one of the most uninspiring performances in all Test history. Kadir batted two hours for 12 runs on the first innings, and at lunch Pakistan had scored 44; of which 6 were extras. The slow left-hander, B.W. Yuile, was allowed to bowl 16 overs for 4 runs and two wickets. In all, the six-hour day yielded 152 off the bat from 127 overs and Yuile by then had astonishing figures: 47-34-33-4.
New Zealand's major contribution to the spiritless batting came at Wellington. After Pakistan had been dismissed for 187 and New Zealand had established a lead of 79, S.G. Gedye occupied the last two hours of the third day acquiring 17 runs.
There was much to admire, however, in the bowling of both sides. Pervez bowled his left-hand leg-breaks with accuracy and skill and Asif, a slim, athletic right-hander of fast-medium pace, was one of the key figures in this series. He took most wickets (18); he batted particularly well in both innings of the first Test, and he was the oustanding fieldsman in a team which fell consistently short of international class in their throwing.
Intikhab also impressed with his leg-break bowling, and his return of two wickets in the three matches was absurdly out of keeping with the quality of his bowling. He was one of the few Pakistan players -- Asif and Ilyas were the others -- who were not prepared to allow the New Zealand bowlers to dictate.
All the New Zealand principal bowlers did well, with F.J. Cameron having a match analyses of nine for 70 at Auckland. His spell of out-swing bowling on the first morning of the final test was also supremely good.
Interest in cricket in New Zealand is sustained, to a very large extent, by the appearance of leading players in teams which have crossed the Tasman sea after touring Australia and the Pakistanis were, frankly, disappointing. They did not attract large crowds, but made a profit of £2,000 on the tour.
Test Matches -- Played 4, Drawn 4
First-class Matches -- Played 14, Won 2, Drawn 12
All Matches -- Played 16, Won 4, Drawn 12
Wins--Northland, Wellington, Nelson, Canterbury
Draws-- New Zealand (3), Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Auckland, Otago, President's XI, Northern Districts, Central Districts.
Match reports for
Match reports for
Queensland v Pakistanis at Brisbane, Nov 27-30, 1964
New South Wales v Pakistanis at Sydney, Dec 11-14, 1964
South Australia v Pakistanis at Adelaide, Dec 18-21, 1964