South Africa 2 New Zealand 2

New Zealand in South Africa, 1961-62

John Reid's pre-tour prediction that he was leading the best team ever to represent New Zealand abroad was in the light of subsequent events fully justified. To share the rubber deservedly with South Africa was magnificent achievement; in fact, never before in the history of cricket had New Zealand won a representative match outside their own country.

The tour of twenty-four matches must go down in history as belonging almost exclusively to Reid. This quiet, unassuming master of bat and ball smashed most of the records open to him.

In the five Test Matches he scored more runs than any two of his colleagues. His tour aggregate of 1,915 runs eclipsed Compton's thirteen-year-old record. He topped the century seven times, including a glorious 203 on his favourite Newlands and easily headed the fielding statistics with 22 catches.

Apart from Reid, the batting was far too brittle, with the possible exception of the third Test when several of the players ran into form simultaneously.

The bowlers never let up and although Reid held pride of place with four wickets for 44 runs in a marathon spell of 45 overs when he won the all-important final match almost single handed but Cameron, Motz and Alabaster deserved the plaudits for their tenacity and refusal to admit defeat in every match. In Alabaster we were privileged to meet the finest leg-spinner -- a genuine finger worker -- seen in this country for many years.

The South African selectors introduced ten new players to the international sphere and resurrected Heine after a three-year gap. Adcock, restricted to two appearances because of a stubborn injury, headed the Springbok averages, but Heine's re-entry appeared little more than a psychological move.

The burly Transvaaler captured only two expensive wickets in a single appearance. Newcomers Peter Pollock, Lawrence, the 6ft. 5in. Rhodesian, and Burke all established fresh records for opening bowlers and must be earmarked for consideration for the tour of Australia in 1963-64.

The batting find was a university student, Barlow -- an opening bat who revealed an all-too-rare and refreshing desire to attack. He lived dangerously at times and Dame Fortune was kindness personified, but the bespectacled lad has undoubtedly come to stay. As he progresses to maturity so he should become a tremendous force in the Springbok's batting of the future.

In the five International matches, both countries were admirable served by their wicket-keepers. J.H.B. Waite surpassed all previous feats in Test cricket by claiming 26 victims, 23 caught and three stumped. For New Zealand, A.E. Dick equalled the existing record with 23 victims, 21 caught and two stumped.

In view of South Africa's withdrawal from the Commonwealth, the series was not given official status. Both contestants -- and one must appreciate their reasoning - refused to accept any other designation that Full International. Political considerations apart it is common knowledge that the strength of the teams would have remained unaltered, in fact, the tourists were actually selected before their hosts took the plunge.

To add to the confusion the Australian Board of Control announced that full International status had been bestowed on the South African 1963-64 tour of Australia and New Zealand.

In his summing up of the situation Mr. R. E. Foster-Bowley, President of the South African Cricket Association, submitted his Board's view that a match between fully representative sides belonging to two countries constitutes an International contest in the fullest sense of the word.

Later, at the Imperial Cricket conference at Lord's in July 1962, it was agreed there was nothing to prevent matches played by South Africa being called Tests, though these were not recognised as official by the Conference.

Match reports for

1st Test: South Africa v New Zealand at Durban, Dec 8-12, 1961
Report | Scorecard

2nd Test: South Africa v New Zealand at Johannesburg, Dec 26-29, 1961
Report | Scorecard

3rd Test: South Africa v New Zealand at Cape Town, Jan 1-4, 1962
Report | Scorecard

4th Test: South Africa v New Zealand at Johannesburg, Feb 2-5, 1962
Report | Scorecard

5th Test: South Africa v New Zealand at Port Elizabeth, Feb 16-20, 1962
Report | Scorecard

© John Wisden & Co