Second Test Match

New Zealand v Zimbabwe

At Auckland, February 26, 27, 28. New Zealand won by an innings and 13 runs. Toss: Zimbabwe.

Traditionally, the first morning of an Eden Park Test rewards seam bowlers. But this pitch looked very similar to one on which a young Auckland leg-spinner, Brooke Walker, had recently taken eight for 107. New Zealand therefore dropped the fast bowler Shayne O'Connor, who had played in the crushing defeat of Zimbabwe at Wellington, for the left-arm spin of Mark Priest. At the age of 36, and almost eight years after his only previous Test, against England at Trent Bridge, Priest now had another chance to add to his single Test wicket ( M. A. Atherton c Snedden b Priest 151).

With Streak in patchy form, Zimbabwe were also relying upon the pitch turning on the fourth and fifth days, and stuck to their spin-heavy attack. Campbell again won the toss, and again elected to bat. Perhaps the plan that failed at Wellington would come good here. But it didn't. Mid-way through the second session the Eden Park faithful were rubbing their eyes in disbelief: the new-ball bowlers, Doull in particular, had immediately found devastating form. When the ball was not bouncing sharply from a length, it was whipping away off the seam or swinging wildly.

Even the most talented of players would have struggled to survive in such favourable bowling conditions. Zimbabwe have few world-class batsmen, and their innings was in tatters when Nash and Doull reduced them to 55 for five. In his opening spell, Doull had taken four for 16 in ten overs. Andy Flower and Strang lifted the score to 157 for six but, once Flower had gone, Cairns brushed aside the last three wickets. By the close, New Zealand had reached 69 for two.

Next morning, the pitch had lost much of its life and, although the seamers still found some help, Zimbabwe simply did not have the quicker bowlers needed to put the New Zealand under pressure. Instead, Horne and Astle scored freely. Five short of his second Test century, Horne played a rare false stroke: the edge flew over the slips for four. Meanwhile, Astle was dropped at the wicket by Andy Flower when on 68. Both batsmen went on to hundreds. The stand was worth 243 when Astle was out for 114; ten runs later, Horne's long innings ended with a rather tired shot to mid-on.

McMillan then helped extend the New Zealand lead with a brisk 88, before he was last out on the third morning. He fell to the Andy Flower- Paul Strang combination, and these two turned out to be the only batsmen to offer serious resistance when Zimbabwe resumed, 290 in arrears. They lost their fifth wicket at 90; Flower, first with Streak and later with Strang, who scored 67 from 72 balls, led a minor recovery. And then Doull struck again, quickly taking the last three wickets to end the match with eight. With two days unused, the spinners had had little to do, and Priest still had only one Test wicket. But New Zealand were delighted with their 2-0 series win.

Man of the Match: M. J. Horne.

Close of play: First day, New Zealand 69-2 ( M. J. Horne 39*, S. P. Fleming 19*); Second day, New Zealand 441-9 ( C. D. McMillan 77*, S. B. Doull 0*).

© John Wisden & Co