ENGLAND v NEW ZEALAND 1950-51
At Wellington, March 24, 26, 27, 28
At Wellington, March 24, 26, 27, 28. England won by six wickets. A fitting climax to the tour came a few minutes from time when England captain, Brown, made a full-blooded boundary drive which carried his side to their tenth victory of the tour. The stroke was typical of Brown's approach to every big occasion and nothing could have been more appropriate than that he should make the winning hit.
England merited their success, but they were made to fight all the way and, at times, the situation was tense. Brown could not have been sorry when, after a blank first day through rain, he lost the toss for the sixth time in seven Tests. Seepage of storm water under the covers left wet patches on the pitch, and few New Zealand batsmen overcame the problems set by turf from which the occasional ball lifted or kept low.
By dismissing Sutcliffe, Wallace and Hadlee, Wright struck the most telling blows for England, who in turn were poorly placed when four wickets fell for 69. They regained the advantage through a text-book innings by Hutton, lusty but judicious hitting by Brown (eight 4's), with whom Hutton added 71, and an eighth-wicket stand of 43 by Bailey and Bedser.
Although Burtt, promoted to first wicket because of the unfitness of Scott, held out for ninety minutes, the off-breaks of Tattersall, who took the first five wickets for 13, caused a second collapse, and when Scott went in seventh wicket down New Zealand led by only three. In spite of a pulled leg muscle which compelled the use of a runner, Scott soon became a big problem. For an hour and three-quarters he mixed a straight bat in defence with a variety of strongly played drives and cuts. With Moir also hitting vigorously, New Zealand recovered well.
Two hours remained when England opened their task of scoring 88 to win. That this would not be easy soon became obvious. Hadlee relied mostly on his steadiest bowlers, Cresswell and Burtt. Bowling slightly short of length to a defensive field on a crumbling pitch, they kept the batsmen struggling for runs. Aggression involved a hazard, but gradually the object was achieved. Midway through the innings uncertainty on the part of the umpires resulted in Moir bowling two successive overs, the last instance of which in Test cricket occurred in 1921, when Warwick Armstrong of Australia did so against England at Manchester. Moir bowled the last over before tea and the first, from the other end, afterwards.
Until the last day cricket was played in bitterly cold weather. When bowling in the first Test against New Zealand, Washbrook strained his back and was not available for selection.