First Cornhill Test, Lord's

England v New Zealand 1986

England may have been spared another Lord's defeat in the 1980s when the sort of weather that spoiled so many Test matches there in the 1970s robbed this match of almost half the fourth day. None the less, England needed a long and commanding innings from Gooch, his second Test hundred at Lord's in 1986, to save the game.

It would hardly be a drawn Lord's Test without rain and bad light plus a much-discussed, if short-lived controversy. This came on the second day when French, England's injured wicket-keeper, was replaced by the former England wicket-keeper, R. W. Taylor. French had been struck on the back of the helmet when he turned away from a Hadlee bouncer, the resulting cut requiring three stitches and the blow leaving him groggy until after the weekend. Athey deputised for two overs at the start of the New Zealand innings until Taylor could hurry round the ground - from his duties as a host for Cornhill, the match's sponsor - and equip himself with an assortment of borrowed kit, although he did, far-sightedly, have his own gloves in his car. Despite having retired from first-class cricket two years earlier, Taylor, at the age of 45, kept almost without a blemish. He did his old job until the 76th over, near the lunch interval on Saturday, after which R. J. Parks of Hampshire, following his father and grandfather, appeared in a Test match. However, Parks, a more authentic substitute, should have been on stand-by at the start of play because recovery from such a head wound is seldom immediate. French finally resumed his appointed role for one ball on Monday morning. All these switches were made with the generous permission of New Zealand's captain, Coney. With substitutes also needed for Willey and Foster and for Coney and Jeff Crowe, 29 players took the field at various times.

Even before the match, injuries had given England anxieties. Willey was called in after Emburey had broken his nose in a Sunday League match and Pringle was declared unfit just before the toss, which meant that England's XI was pre-determined for the second consecutive Test. Dilley, the man who withdrew at Birmingham on the first morning of the third Test against India, was back. Moxon, who replaced Benson as Gooch's opening partner, underpinned England's steady development to 248 for five after Gatting had won the toss. However, it was soon evident that two different games were taking place - one when Hadlee was bowling and the other when he was out of the attack. He took a wicket in each of his first two spells and in his fourth disposed of Moxon and Gatting. on the second day he and Watson went through England's later batsmen, and with six for 80 Hadlee equalled I. T. Botham's record of five or more wickets in a Test innings 26 times.

Dilley's fast, accurate opening spell brought the wickets of Wright and Rutherford, but Edgar and Martin Crowe responded in their characteristic ways. Edgar existed at 1 run an over for most of his 298-ball innings while Crowe eased the situation with increasing aggression. Both were 52 not out at the end of a day in which 25 overs were lost, and gradually they transformed a recovery into a position from which their side could strike for victory. Crowe's range of strokes during an innings of 5 hours, 40 minutes (247 balls, eleven of which he hit for 4) showed the English cricket-watcher that he had entered the ranks of world-class batsmen. Their partnership of 210 was a record for New Zealand's third wicket against England, surpassing Hastings and Congdon's 190, also at Lord's, in 1973. When they were dismissed in successive overs, Coney made a brisk, consolidating half-century, and only Edmonds prevented the match from running entirely New Zealand's way. Their innings was ended by the first ball on Monday, their lead 35.

Hadlee made his customary initial breakthrough and Gray, turning the ball out of the footmarks, achieved a remarkable double, by bowling a right-hander, Athey, and a left-hander, Gower, around their legs, as they made technically inept attempts to combat him. From then on, pads were frequently favoured to counter the slow left-armer as he toiled for 4 overs.

Only 21 overs were bowled after lunch, and at 110 for three, only 75 ahead, England were looking to a long partnership between Gooch and Gatting. Instead, the latter's over-ambitious stroke on the final morning put an extra burden on the former. Gooch, however, coped in masterly fashion and had the ideal partner in the resolute Willey. The new ball, taken with England 146 in front with four hours left, was the last obstacle, and when it was surmounted Gooch played with great freedom in the afternoon sun. He had batted for 441 minutes, received 368 balls and hit 22 4s when his dismissal to a catch at long-off brought the declaration. This allowed England to dismiss two top-order New Zealand batsmen for 0 for the second time - Wright for a "pair" - both falling to slip catches by Gower that deserved a more meaningful setting.

For his innings which secured the draw for England, Gooch was named Man of the Match. The overall attendance was 69,184 and receipts £531,434.

© John Wisden & Co