First Test

New Zealand v England

Excitement ran high in this match. Twice New Zealand, by capturing the first four England wickets cheaply, seemed to have gained the upper hand, but in the end they collapsed and were in danger of being dismissed for less than 26, the record lowest total credited to them - at Auckland in 1955 in Sir Leonard Hutton's last Test.

For the first time for many years, New Zealand had a new captain in Chapple, Reid having retired after setting up a world record of fifty-eight consecutive Test appearances, previously jointly held by Frank Woolley and Peter May, each with fifty-two.

Although the pitch was soft after several days of rain and lowering cloud forecast trouble for batsmen, Smith, winning the toss, decided to bat. It was the captain, with Parfitt, who extricated the side from difficulties in a stand of 113 before Puna, an Indian, appearing in his first Test, made one of several brilliant catches.

As the pitch eased the tail built up the score, Allen playing well for three and three-quarter hours for 88. Brown also shaped confidently for two and a quarter hours for 88 while the partnership realised 107.

Congdon kept the New Zealand innings on a firm basis and finished with the tenth Test hundred for his country against England which occupied nearly five and a half hours. Petrie signalled his return to Test cricket after five years, by playing soundly for 55 and finally Motz, two 6's and six 4's, hit magnificently so that New Zealand gained a first-innings lead of five.

Their cup of joy overflowed when by the end of the third day they had disposed of Boycott and Edrich for 32, but again they were thwarted by Smith and Parfitt and England set them to make 197 to win in two hours and twenty minutes.

Suddenly the England bowlers took charge and, in nine overs, Higgs claimed four wickets for five runs, but Pollard, hero of several innings in England in 1965 and Cunis, a well-built Rugby centre-threequarter, saved the day by defending successfully through the last thirty-five minutes.

Other highlights in the match were Parks' five catches behind the stumps in the first innings, equalling his own and Binks' England record and Cowdrey's easy catch at second slip from Chapple, which equalled W.R. Hammond's feat of one hundred Test catches. Moreover, Cowdrey held the ball on almost the same spot where Hammond claimed his hundredth victim.

© John Wisden & Co