Second Cornhill Test


Norman de Mesquita

Toss: New Zealand.

A number of factors combined to make this a less than remarkable Test. The pitch was too easy-paced, the bowling was not good enough to dismiss batsmen intent on survival, and the weather intervened.

There were some memorable features, however, the first of which came before the match started. Hadlee had received a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours and there was much discussion as to how he should be designated on the scoreboard. In the event, Sir R. Hadlee was settled on, but not everyone was pleased. One senior statistician wrote to MCC complaining, mistakenly as it happened, that Hadlee could not use the title until his official investiture. But most cricket devotees were delighted by the honour and anxious that it should be used. So, fifteen minutes late because of damp conditions, Sir Richard Hadlee led New Zealand on to the field and was warmly received.

It was Morrison, however, who struck first for the visitors when Atherton was bowled in the second over, following his Trent Bridge century with Lord's duck. This seemed to support Wright's decision to put England in, but it was the only incident of note on the first day, as rain drove the players off after only 50 minutes. The main statistical feature of the 11.3 overs bowled had been eight no-balls, four of them from Morrison. Extras continued to make a valuable contribution the next morning, adding 16 of the 74 runs scored after another late start.

The England captain, Gooch, completed his half-century soon after lunch. It had taken 142 minutes and contained six fours, which increased to twelve fours as he advanced to 85. Stewart's fifty took twenty minutes longer and he was out in the next over, lbw to Hadlee for 54. Lamb, on the other hand, started as though the fastest century of the season was in his sights. His first scoring stroke was an edged four to third man, but he handsomely off-drove Hadlee next delivery and 36 of his 39 runs, made in 46 balls, came in boundaries. Only 7 runs were scored by Smith in a fourth-wicket partnership of 38, which ended when Lamb was l. b. w. to Snedden. Fairbrother, still looking for a big Test score, was missed at second slip off his third ball, and a halt of rain brought him no benefit; he made only 2 before giving Morrison a straightforward catch at mid-on off Bracewell. When Russell was bowled by Hadlee for 13, England were unhealthily placed at 255 for six, but DeFreitas joined Smith and they repaired some of the damage. Smith passed 1,000 runs in Test cricket and completed a half-century in 113 minutes, only to go 14 runs later to a fine catch from Bracewell at deep mid-on. With their last three wickets falling for 12 runs in 22 balls, England's total was a disappointing 334.

As New Zealand replied, none of the bowlers troubled Wright and Franklin. They gleaned runs at their own pace, interrupted only by a delay of nearly three hours caused by rain, which extended play until seven o'clock on Saturday. The openers had put on 185 in four and a half hours when Wright, 2 short of his hundred, was well caught at forward short leg, left-handed, by Stewart off Small. Jones helped Franklin add 93 in two hours before he gave Stewart a second catch, at cover point, 1 short of his half-century.

The wait for Franklin's maiden Test hundred was proving a long one. Missed at second slip by Gooch when 88, he spent threequarters of an hour on 98 before reaching three figures with a two from Malcolm. It had taken him seven hours eleven minutes, and in 309 balls he had hit just eight fours. Next ball he edged Malcolm to Russell and was gone. With Crowe and Rutherford then managing 1 run between them, the New Zealanders had lost four wickets for 7 runs and their innings was losing momentum when Hadlee strode to the middle for his last Test innings at Lord's. His second scoring stroke was a six over long-on off Hemmings, and two overs later he despatched Small over long-off, inspiring Greatbatch to flick Malcolm, into the Grand Stand at square leg. Hadlee's fifty came in an hour from only 42 deliveries, and included six fours as well as the two sixes. He had put on 123 for the sixth wicket with Greatbatch, and struck, another six fours, when he swung at Hemmings once too often and was bowled. There were many who wished they were saluting his hundred as the great New Zealand all-rounder paused before climbing the pavilion steps and lifted his bat high to acknowledge the applause all round the ground.

Wright declared at 462 for nine, after Malcolm had taken five wickets in a Test innings for the second time. But with less than a day remaining, the match drifted towards a draw. For England, Gooch confirmed his excellent form with 37 unforced runs before losing his off stump to Hadlee, while Atherton made up for his first-innings failure with 54, becoming Jones's first Test victim. An opportunity to move Fairbrother up the order was not taken, but when Smith trod on his wicket without having scored, he came in with just over an hour remaining to take advantage of batting practice at Test level without excessive pressure. He added 97 with Lamb, whose unbeaten 84 from 99 balls contained fourteen fours and a six, but by this stage of the match Hadlee had returned to the dressing-room - where Snedden was already nursing his shoulder injury - to rest a strained hamstring.

Man of the Match: Sir R. J. Hadlee. Attendance: 58,047; receipts £891,983.

Close of play: First day, England 27-1 ( G. A. Gooch 16*, A. J. Stewart 3*); Second day, England 329-8 (. A. J. DeFreitas 33*, E. E. Hemmings 0*); Third day, New Zealand 156-0 ( T. J. Franklin 60*, J. G. Wright 84*); Fourth day, New Zealand 440-8 ( I. D. S. Smith 20*, M. C. Snedden 0*).

© John Wisden & Co