First Test Match

AUSTRALIA v NEW ZEALAND 1980-81

At Brisbane, November 28, 29, 30. Australia won by ten wickets. New Zealand went to Brisbane for the first Test suffering from lack of practice because of rain in the opening weeks of their tour. They were put in to bat on a pitch with enough grass on it to help the Australian seam bowlers, but even so they batted weakly. Howarth and Parker were the two exceptions as they tried to rebuild the innings after the first three wickets had fallen for 76 runs, putting on 117 for the fourth wicket. While they were there New Zealand seemed assured of a reasonable total, but soon after reaching his 50 Parker played on to Pascoe and the last six wickets fell for only 32 runs, four of them to the leg-breaks of Higgs who gave the ball plenty of air. Lawson, playing in his first Test match, seemed to be affected by nerves and bowled too short.

Looking much less jittery, Australia were given a good start by Wood and Dyson against steady rather than dangerous New Zealand seam bowling. After Dyson had been lbw to Cairns's slower ball, Greg Chappell began in magnificent form, especially against Brendon Bracewell whom he hooked for 6 and straight drove for 4. Bracewell was playing Pennant cricket in Perth when summoned to Brisbane to stand in for the injured Troup.

Chappell had reached 35 when carelessness cost him his wicket as he drove Cairns to mid-on where McEwan held a fine catch above his head, but Wood, picking up runs off his legs and wide of gully, though occasionally playing a good drive, reached his hundred before being caught at slip trying to cut off-spinner John Bracewell, who was making his Test d├ębut. In all, Wood batted five and a quarter hours for his 111 (twelve 4s) and won the Man of the Match award. He and Border put on 65 in 72 minutes for the fifth wicket. Walters, recalled to the Test side after an absence of four years, made 17 before edging Cairns into his stumps.

Australia's eventual lead was 80, and when New Zealand went in again, forty minutes before lunch on the third day, they were destroyed by the splendid bowling of Lillee. Wright, McEwan and Howarth were all out to him before lunch and Burgess soon afterwards. Pascoe and Lawson then joined in and after 22 overs New Zealand were 61 for seven, still 19 behind. It was only because of some brave hitting by Hadlee, whose half-century took 73 minutes and included a 6 and five 4s, that they reached 142. Wood and Dyson were 78 minutes scoring the 63 Australia needed for victory.

© John Wisden & Co