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Clear evidence of an inability to adjust to New Zealand conditions was given by West Indies' batting on the first day. Lloyd, having won the toss, made a questionable decision in batting first, for the ball often kept rather low and there was sharp movement off the pitch. Only Haynes saw the need to get on to the front foot as much as possible, and against the pace attack he batted several inches outside his crease. He was in for all the three and a half hours of an innings which yielded only 140. Four West Indian batsmen, with their partiality for playing back, were lbw to balls cutting into them. Others lost their wickets trying to hook or cut in conditions which made such shots extremely risky. The first three wickets fell in Hadlee's first thirteen balls, for 4 runs, and after Haynes and Lloyd had fought it out for one hundred and twelve minutes there was little resistance.
The West Indian bowlers were as much at fault as their batsmen as New Zealand built up a lead of 109. They bowled much too short, unlike the New Zealanders who had made the most of the conditions by keeping the ball up. The New Zealand batsmen took a physical hammering, but they showed considerable determination in grafting for their runs. Edgar was in almost five hours for his 65, Howarth just over two hours for 33, but their stand of 67 was followed by a swift decline against fiercely hostile bowling until the late-order batsmen again came to the rescue. Cairns, a powerful hitter, took three 6s in an over from Parry which brought him 20 runs, and Hadlee had nine 4s in his 51; their eighth-wicket partnership of 54 took just 35 minutes and swung the game New Zealand's way.
There were only seventy minutes of play on the third day, which left West Indies 18 for one, and the fourth was dominated by Haynes and Hadlee. At 29 for four West Indies were in dire straits, but there were stands of 87 between Haynes and King and 64 between Haynes and Deryck Murray. The West Indian tail failed, however, and New Zealand were left needing only 104 to win. By lunch, under intense pressure, they had fought to 33 for two. About twenty minutes before lunch, Parker was given not out when Holding appealed for a catch by the wicket-keeper, which prompted Holding to demolish the stumps at the batsman's end with a full swing of the right foot. In the afternoon West Indies seemed to have the game won. Howarth was third out at 40, and fifteen minutes later New Zealand were 44 for six. Webb went at 54, but once more there was strong resistance from the tailenders. Hadlee and Cairns added 19 with Hadlee playing some fine forcing strokes; Cairns and Troup put on 27 with determination much more of a factor than finesse. At tea it was 95 for eight.
Only 1 run had been added after tea when Holding beat Cairns, but the ball touched the off stump without dislodging a bail. When Cairns was out at 100, Boock, whose best Test score was 8, saw out the last five balls of Holding's over. Garner bowled the final over. The first ball produced a bye. Boock, the non-striker, tried to make it 2 runs and turning back was almost run out. Second ball, he survived an appeal for lbw. He kept the next two out and then squeezed 2 runs backward of point to level the scores. The last ball went from his pads to backward square and the batsmen ran the leg-bye, Parry's return to the non-striker's end going wildly astray. It was the narrowest of victories, but well-earned. Hadlee, with eleven wickets for the match and a Test record of seven leg-before decisions, took his Test tally to 118, two ahead of New Zealand's previous record-holder, Richard Collinge.