First Test Match

NEW ZEALAND v. PAKISTAN

At Wellington, February 2, 3, 4, 5. Drawn. Pakistan had slightly the better of a game in which weather interfered on the first two days. There was a strange delay before the game began. There was a threat of rain and half an hour before the scheduled start the pitch was covered. No rain came, and the covers were off before 11 a.m. The captains conferred in the middle, both apparently being unwilling to toss for fear of finding himself fielding with a wet ball. The match began almost twenty-five minutes late because of this cautious approach. Pakistan made a weak start, scoring 26 in an hour for two wickets, but Sadiq and Majid took the side through to 196 before rain ended play ninety-five minutes early. Sadiq played some glorious strokes, but looked much more vulnerable than Majid, who was again in a most majestic mood. He pierced the field with ludicrous ease with his fine array of strokes.

He was out first thing on the second day, but some fielding lapses allowed Sadiq to continue and for Asif Iqbal to survive and share a stand of 74. By lunch, Pakistan had reached 307 for four on a pitch of easy pace, but wasted a good chance when the last six wickets added only 86. Sadiq, who batted six hours, hit nineteen 4's in his 166, his second Test century. Wasim Bari, the wicket-keeper, was struck on the head when he got into a bad position to play a bouncer from Collinge, but he continued after a few minutes. Collinge was unwise enough to bowl another bouncer straight away, and this contributed to the only sour note to mar a very pleasant series. So Wasim retired.

In the New Zealand innings Bari's opposite number, Wadsworth, was singled out for a barrage of bouncers from Sarfraz and Saleem, as many as five in an over. New Zealand reached 77 for two before play ended thirty-seven minutes early on the second day because of bad light. New Zealand's sound reply to Pakistan came mainly from Hastings and Burgess, who scored 128 for the fourth wicket. Burgess batted most attractively, making his 79 in two hours forty minutes. Hastings was slower, four and a quarter hours for 72, but Hadlee, making his Test debut, blazed his way to 46 and New Zealand fell only 32 runs behind. The main threat, rather unexpectedly, came from the pace bowlers Saleem and Sarfraz. In very windy conditions, Sarfraz showed extraordinary stamina. Parker, injured in the field, was unable to bat in his first Test.

Pakistan again began badly, and again Sadiq and Majid Khan put matters right. Once more, New Zealand missed chances in the field, as Pakistan batted on, apparently without a thought of victory. Near the end Intikhab raced to 50 in seventy minutes before he declared at tea, with New Zealand needing 323 in two hours. There was a flurry of excitement when New Zealand lost three for 11 in the first 21 balls bowled by Saleem. Then Turner and Burgess batted sensibly and safely. During the match Collinge joined the handful of New Zealand players who have taken 50 Test wickets and Howarth bowled splendidly in disheartening circumstances.

© John Wisden & Co