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New Zealand maintained their recent record against visiting teams when they won the three-match series against Australia by one Test to nil. In the previous seven years, they had met each of the other Test-playing countries at home and enjoyed series victories over all of them, whereas the 1981-82 series against Australia had been drawn. With a 2-1 Test success over their neighbors earlier in the summer, New Zealand could look upon the season as a late flowering, and a full one, of their somewhat elderly team.
After an even but rain-ruined contest at Wellington, the Australians gained a 25-run lead in the Test at Christchurch. But after rain had accounted for most of the fourth day, the Australians suffered another of the batting collapses which had marked their cricket of late before Allan Border, their captain, saved them with his second century of the match. At Auckland, in a fascinating final Test, Australia went from 193 for one to 314 all out, yet when New Zealand yielded a lead of 56, with the pitch taking increasing spin, the match and the series appeared to be Australia's. However, John Bracewell's off-breaks wrecked the Australian second innings - their 103 was by 59 the lowest score they have made against New Zealand - and their spin bowlers failed to take similar advantage of the pitch. New Zealand won by eight wickets.
Border had with him a team which was the best available - bearing in mind the unavailability of those players who toured South Africa - and one which, it was hoped, would mend Australia's ailing fortunes. On the evidence presented, it still had some way to go, though after forthright talking by Border it did manage to redeem some self-respect by squaring the four-match one-day series which concluded the tour. Border showed clearly that he was a class above the others, while David Boon, a predominantly front-foot player, and Geoff Marsh, correct and careful, looked capable of being Australia's opening pair in the years ahead. Greg Ritchie played two of the series' most assertive innings, but Greg Matthews could point only to his 130 in the first Test. The free-scoring Wayne Phillips had a disappointing tour, but twenty-year-old Stephen Waugh already looked an accomplished all-round player.
The bowling was very ordinary. Craig McDermott, so successful in England in 1985, was ineffective. Both he and Bruce Reid, the left-arm fast bowler, delivered an unnecessary number of no-balls. Matthews, the principal spinner, was accurate, but the slow bowling cold almost certainly have profited from the presence of Bob Holland, the New South Wales leg-spinner.
Jeremy Coney, with successive scores of 101 not out, 98 and 93 carried the New Zealand batting almost single-handed, although there was a gallant century from Martin Crowe at Christchurch. The bowlers, Bracewell, in the last two Tests, Richard Hadlee - as ever - and Ewen Chatfield, all distinguished themselves.
Test matches - Played 3: Lost 1, Drawn 2.
First-class matches - Played 5: Won 1, Lost 1, Drawn 3.
Win - Northern Districts.
Loss - New Zealand.
Match reports for