First Test Match


When Coney sent Australia in to bat on a pitch which seemed to have some moisture in it, and with cloudy, humid weather aiding the faster bowlers, there was no early indication of the drama that this Test would provide. Wessels, 38 not out, led Australia uncertainly to lunch at 72 for two, and he had 69 not out, and Australia 146 for four, when bad light cut short the first day. Hadlee's fifteen overs had brought him four wickets for 35, and early on the second, humid morning he dismissed Wessels for 70 (186 balls). He then demolished the Australian innings with one of the outstanding pieces of contemporary Test match bowling, having taken all eight by the time Australia were 175 for eight. He missed the chance of all ten wickets by taking a well-judged catch in the deep from Lawson to give Brown his first wicket in Test cricket, whereupon Brown returned the favour by catching Holland and Australia were all out for 179, with Hadlee returning figures of 23.4-4-52-9. Only J. C. Laker (twice in 1956 at Manchester) and G. A. Lohmann (in 1895-96 in Johannesburg) had recorded better analyses in Test cricket.

The Australians had no bowler to match Hadlee's control and movement off the pitch, which had lost much of its spite, and staunch batting by Reid (71 not out) and Martin Crowe (58 not out) took New Zealand to 209 for two at stumps. On the third day they tightened New Zealand's grip on the match, reaching their centuries within five minutes of each other, Crowe from 197 balls with sixteen 4s, Reid 234 balls, fifteen 4s. It took a great diving catch by Border to remove Reid when the stand was worth 224, a New Zealand Test match record for the third wicket. Crowe, however, surged on, accompanied by free hitting from Coney and Jeff Crowe, hitting 26 4s in all before edging a delivery from Matthews into his stumps after 328 balls. Next Hadlee arrived to torment the Australians again - 50 from 41 balls with three 6s and four 4s - and New Zealand were 553 for seven at stumps, their highest score in Tests. Coney declared on the fourth morning with a lead of 374.

In a little more than two hours Hadlee, Chatfield and Snedden had Australia 67 for five, but Border found a stout ally in Matthews, who hit his first Test hundred from 171 balls and then saw Border to his fifteenth from 196 balls. However, when Hadlee took the second new ball fourteen minutes from stumps and had Matthews caught for 115, Border, 106 not out, was Australia's last hope as they went into the final day at 266 for six. He stood alone as Hadlee took three of the last four wickets to give him match figures of 52.3-13-123-15, the best match return by a New Zealand bowler. Border's undefeated 152, off 303 balls in just over seven and a half hours, included two 6s and twenty 4s.

The attendance for the five days was 16,044. Hadlee was named as Man of the Match in what had been New Zealand's most overwhelming Test victory away from home.

© John Wisden & Co