First Test Match

NEW ZEALAND v WEST INDIES 1986-87

At Wellington, February 20, 21, 22, 23, 24. Drawn. When West Indies took the lead early on the third day with only two wickets down, they appeared to be building the foundation for victory. Yet New Zealand regained ground with characteristic determination. Their heroes were Wright, who batted for four hours five minutes for 75 during a difficult first innings and then for 9 hours 35 minutes in the second for 138, and Martin Crowe, with whom he added 241 for the third wicket in the second innings - New Zealand's highest for that wicket in Test matches. During their long partnership on the fourth day, West Indies had to contend with a strong, persistent and cool northerly wind and were handicapped by the absence of Marshall and Holding, both suffering from back strains. After the match Holding, who went without a wicket, announced his retirement after 60 Tests in which he took 249 wickets.

Richards's decision to bowl first on winning the toss produced quick returns. Wright found steady partners in Patel and Jeff Crowe, and Hadlee contributed a typically robust 35 not out, but New Zealand's total was disappointing on a generally good pitch. Patel, the Kenya-born former Worcestershire player, was making his d├ębut after his qualification had been cleared by ICC on the grounds that he was married to a New Zealander and had settled in the country. Jeff Crowe, one of Logie's three catches at short leg, was Garner's 250th Test wicket. In addition to his five wickets, Garner also held three sharp close catches, including that to remove Wright, cutting at Richards's off-spin.

Greenidge and Haynes, in their 58th Test together, gave West Indies another excellent start with their tenth century partnership, despite anxious moments early on. Haynes needed attention when hit on the jaw by Hadlee, and then survived an appeal for hit-wicket when the leg bail was dislodged as he set off for his 8th run. Greenidge played confidently until he was caught at short leg, and Haynes went past his ninth Test century before the close of the second day. However, when he was bowled by Bracewell next morning, offering no stroke to an off-break, the innings went into decline as New Zealand restricted the West Indians to 113 in three hours with steady, purposeful bowling. Haynes gave no chance in five hours eleven minutes' batting and struck twenty fours. When Smith caught Richards, he extended his New Zealand record of dismissals into three figures.

Rutherford and Coney again fell cheaply, both to Garner, but West Indies had to wait until after tea the following day for another wicket. In that time, Wright and Crowe became more and more entrenched as the weather, injuries and dropped catches wore the tourists' patience thin. Crowe survived a sharp, low chance to Logie at short leg off Walsh when 17; Wright should have been run out off the sixth ball of the fourth morning, and caught behind off Walsh when 44 and off Garner when 53. When bad light halted play 50 minutes early, New Zealand were 155 in front with seven wickets standing. Crowe, having reached his sixth Test century in mid-afternoon, had checked an on-drive off Richards and been caught at short mid-on after batting for 381 minutes, with fifteen fours.

Wright, resuming on the final morning, offered another chance at 115 off Garner and eventually was caught and bowled by Gomes from a tired stroke. He had fourteen fours from the 466 deliveries he faced for his sixth Test century. By then, New Zealand had made the match safe, and Richards, without two of his main bowlers, declined to change the ball, which had been in use for 177 overs when Coney declared at tea. No Test innings had seen so many overs bowled with the same ball. In the final session, Boock removed both openers as the ball turned sharply, provoking speculation that West Indies might have been further embarrassed had Coney declared sooner.

Man of the Match: J. G. Wright.

Close of play: First day, New Zealand 205-8 (R. J. Hadlee 16*, S. L. Boock 2*); Second day, West Indies 218-2 (D. L. Haynes 110*, R. B. Richardson 6*); Third day, New Zealand 91-2 (J. G. Wright 35*, M. D. Crowe 28*); Fourth day, New Zealand 272-3 (J. G. Wright 102*, D. N. Patel 4*).

© John Wisden & Co