Second Test Match

INDIA v NEW ZEALAND 1988-89

At Bombay, November 24, 25, 26, 27, 29. New Zealand won by 136 runs. Toss: New Zealand. When New Zealand were 175 for eight at tea on the first day, the odds against them squaring the series would have been astronomical. But a ninth-wicket stand of 76 between Bracewell and Morrison, a record for New Zealand against India, revealed the fierce determination that had been a characteristic of New Zealand teams in the 1980s. Sweeping and pulling with gusto, Bracewell reached his half-century before the close and went on to be the major influence on the outcome of the match.

When India replied, Srikkanth took on Hadlee in a spirit of self-sacrifice, and with Vengsarkar, in his 100th Test, playing the foil, the Indians seemed set to dwarf the New Zealand total on a pitch which held something for all typed of bowlers. Srikkanth's contemptuous treatment of Bracewell, whom he hit for three sixes, emphasised India's domination over the New Zealand attack, but a careless shot by Vengsarkar off the New Zealand off-spinner brought their century partnership to an end and the course of the contest changed abruptly. Hadlee, who had had only the wicket of Arun Lal in his first thirteen overs, returned to take on Srikkanth, who had slowed down considerably when in sight of his century. A splendidly concealed leg-cutter went off the leading edge into gully and suddenly New Zealand's total assumed a dimension out of proportion to its actual size. Hadlee once again began to dictate terms; none of the remaining batsmen could keep him out as Srikkanth had done at the start. He demolished the tail and increased his haul of five-wicket returns in Tests to 34 as New Zealand took the lead. It might have been just 2 runs, but it was a tremendous achievement for a side so comprehensively beaten in the First Test.

Notwithstanding Jones's discipline, and his clear reading of the spin, there was always a danger that New Zealand would leave India too moderate a fourth-innings target. Greatbatch and Jones, who had added 76 for the third wicket, fell within 14 runs of each other, and a collapse left New Zealand 181 for eight when Bracewell joined Smith. These two redoubtable battlers decided the course of the match once and for all, with their stand of 69 putting India well out of it. Smith attacked the second new ball with relish on the fourth morning to make his first half-century against India and only his third in Tests. As many as 47 runs came in the first hour, and the realisation must have been growing on the Indians that no target beyond this point would be easily attained. Given that their batsmen had never come to terms with Hadlee, the eventual target of 282 in a minimum of 130 overs looked way out of India's reach.

When Srikkanth padded up to the first ball, an in-cutter from Hadlee, the result could be assumed immediately. The pitch, not the easiest one to make runs on, began to allow much turn. Certainly Bracewell revelled in a fourth-innings situation in which the batsman could not afford to take chances. Most cleverly he bowled Sidhu and Vengsarkar in his first two overs. Arun Lal stuck around for two hours, but Azharuddin's nervous start against Bracewell's old-fashioned, yet sharp, off-breaks told the whole tale of how India were being hoist with their own petard.

There was a display of bravado from Kapil Dev, who launched a brief counter-attack, but New Zealand's victory was all sealed by Bracewell's four and Hadlee's three wickets on the fourth day. The match was just into its 21st minute on the final day when Hirwani swept Bracewell high to Chatfield at long leg and New Zealand achieved their second win in India. It was a remarkable result and a great match for Bracewell, who had scores of 52 and 32 and figures of two for 81 and six for 51 in a contest of low scores. For the ninth time in Tests Hadlee finished with ten or more wickets in the match.

Close of play: First day, New Zealand 231-8 (J. G. Bracewell 51*, D. K. Morrison 25*); Second day, India 232-9 (K. S. More 27*, N. D. Hirwani 2*); Third day, New Zealand 182-8 (I. D. S. Smith 5*, J. G. Bracewell 1*); Fourth day, India 137-7 (K. S. More 0*, Arshad Ayub 2*).

© John Wisden & Co