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If New Zealand had the satisfaction of winning a Test against India for the first time, they were generally outplayed by a team stronger in batting, more reliable in fielding, and far better equipped in spin bowling for the turning pitches on which the Tests were played.
Apart from the first Test at Dunedin, the pitches gave the spinners considerable help well before the five-day games were due to end. New Zealand, leaning heavily on pace bowlers, did not produce one pitch to suit them.
The Nawab of Pataudi's team proved a particularly attractive one, with batsmen aggressive of intent and of stroke-making ability far down the list.
In the first two Tests, the Indians' enthusiasm led to some costly dismissals, but Wadekar at Wellington gave his side the long and thoughtful innings that was needed, and in the final match Borde and Surti broke New Zealand with batting of genuine quality, but of reasonable restraint.
The Indian spin attack was far too good for New Zealand as soon as the ball began to turn readily. Prasanna, who had bowled his off-breaks profitably in Australia, was again the key figure, with the left-handers, Bedi and Nadkarni, offering strong support.
The New Zealand batsmen were often crude in method, and slow to learn from their mistakes. A persistent desire to sweep and pull was costly. Burgess, who scored three fifties in his first Test series, impressed with his straight hitting.
Dowling, captain for the last three Tests, completed a season of outstanding success. His 966 runs from ten first-class matches improved on E.D. Weekes' all-comers' record of 940 in a New Zealand season. Moreover, his innings of 239 at Christchurch set a New Zealand Test record. The previous best was 230 not out by B. Sutcliffe at New Delhi in 1955-56.
Unhappily, there was a controversy about the action of G.A. Bartlett, the New Zealand fast bowler who played in two Tests, and about New Zealand umpiring. With the series undecided until the final match, there was much public interest, the tour showing a satisfactory profit.
Match reports for
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