Third Test Match


At Perth, November 30, December 1, 2, 3, 4. New Zealand won by six wickets. With the Test series level, and faced by a new, uncertain pitch on the renovated WACA ground, both teams approached the final Test tentatively. New Zealand brought in Cairns, for what was to be his last Test, while Australia rebuilt their new-ball attack around Lawson and McDermott. As a sideline, the relaid outfield promised to present more problems than the pitch, for it was soft and spongy and unlikely to contribute to fast scoring.

Coney put Australia in, but this time Chatfield, not Hadlee, did the early damage. However, he strained a groin muscle, and after lunch (74 for two) it was Hadlee and Coney who reduced Australia to 140 for seven by tea. Some big hitting by McDermott helped them to 203, with Hadlee again taking five wickets.

Martin Crowe, with Edgar as his ally, fought through the second day, lifting New Zealand to 184 for two at stumps, but when he followed Edgar, out early on the third day, the rest of the New Zealand batting had to scramble for runs against steadfast bowling from Lawson and Holland.

Australia, beginning their second innings 96 in arrears, were 38 for two at the end of the third day, but a hard-fought rearguard action by Border, Boon and Ritchie carried them to 207 for five. In what may well have been the final turning-point of the match Bracewell bowled Hookes with a shooter, and Hadlee had Matthews lbw before Australia finished the fourth day 239 for seven. When, next morning, Hadlee dismissed Lawson and Gilbert in nine balls, and Bracewell trapped McDermott, the last seven Australian batsmen had gone for 64 and New Zealand needed 164 to win - from about half that number of overs - on a wearing, cracking pitch.

Edgar and Wright provided a solid start (Wright was completely undone by an impossible skidder at 77) and Martin Crowe and Reid took the score to 121, even though Reid was uncomfortable and uncertain for much of the time. Coney drew New Zealand closer; and, finally accompanied by his brother, Crowe marched on resolutely to the win with ten overs to spare.

Hadlee, with eleven wickets in the match, 33 in the series and 299 in 60 Tests, was the Man of the Match, the attendance being 46,800.

© John Wisden & Co