Match reports


Toss: New Zealand.

Colin Bateman
Toss: New Zealand.
In five days at Lord's, Ray Illingworth learned a great deal more about the task ahead of his selection panel than he did during his heady start at Trent Bridge. The innings victory in the First Test brought a bullish response from the England camp when they turned up in London for the Second, with Atherton talking about his team developing a ruthless streak, kicking opponents while they are down and wrapping up the series. By Monday evening, however, with their tailenders hanging on grimly in the gloom, England were relieved to escape with a draw and their 1-0 lead in the series intact.
The Test was a fascinating contest and, for the unfancied tourists, an enormously encouraging match. Just as England had dominated at Trent Bridge, so New Zealand were always in command here, but without quite getting the reward they deserved - their first ever Lord's Test victory. Their young and talented team came of age and suggested the future of New Zealand cricket was not in such bad hands after all. None of the bright lights shone more brilliantly than Nash, a boyish, enthusiastic pace bowler who was overcome with emotion by the ovation he received from the Lord's crowd. In his fifth Test, he finished with figures of 11 for 169, the best bowling return by a New Zealander against England, and with a half-century too - a double no player had achieved in a Lord's Test before - he was named Man of the Match.
Nash, bowling at a vigorous fast-medium from the Pavilion End, got extra bounce from a slow wicket; he disconcerted even the best England batsmen and made the ball move sharply, especially away from the bat. His improvement was far more significant than New Zealand's three team changes. Pocock returned as opener in place of Hartland, while Pringle and Owens beefed up the pace attack in place of Larsen and Davis. Disappointingly for them, their most experienced bowler, Morrison, was on his way home with a hamstring injury. England made just one change, the Northamptonshire left-armer Taylor coming in for his home Test debut in place of Malcolm, who made a disgruntled return to his county 24 hours before the Test began, after being told he would not be in the team. For the second time, left-arm spinner Stemp was also omitted from the final eleven. Atherton, having lost his sixth successive Test toss, switched around seven bowlers with little joy. Only when Defreitas had the ball in his hand did the English attack look anything but bland. Defreitas worked tirelessly for his captain and collected six wickets in the match to add to his nine in the First Test, making his latest England comeback look more permanent.
After an early wobble on the first morning, New Zealand built an impressive first-innings score over the opening two days around Crowe, who treated the Lord's crowd to a century - his 16th - of the highest calibre. Though his movement was restricted by a brace on his right knee following his recent operation, Crowe showed there are still few cleaner hitters of a ball in the world. His 142 included 20 fours and three sixes, one of which, off Fraser, made him only the second New Zealander after John Wright to pass 5,000 Test runs.
To England's frustration, they could not sweep away the New Zealand batting, even after Crowe was out at 350 for six. All the late-order batsmen made valuable contributions to a total of 476, which sorely tested England's ability to avoid the follow-on. To the astonishment of a packed Saturday crowd, they crumbled, after a powerful start by Stewart. A three-and-a-half-hour vigil by Rhodes for 32 not out kept England alive, and Rhodes and last man Such scraped past the follow-on target before Such became Nash's sixth victim. But New Zealand, with a lead of 195, were still in a position to declare an hour before the close on the fourth day, setting England to chase 407. It would have been a record fourth-innings total to win a Test had England made it but, after another bright start by Stewart and Atherton, their hopes were obliterated in Nash's second over of the last day, when he removed Atherton and Gooch.
The only objective then was survival. Despite a highly polished century from Stewart, his third in four Tests, England kept losing wickets at important times, Hick and Smith in particular struggling to assert their authority. The last hour arrived with New Zealand three wickets from victory. But Rhodes, first with Fraser, then with Taylor, blocked out time, while Such gnawed his nails on the balcony. As the poor light closed in, forcing Rutherford to withdraw Nash, who had removed five of the top six batsmen, Rhodes filibustered and fussed to eat up valuable seconds, frustrating New Zealand and earning the displeasure of the umpires. England, however, held on with two wickets to spare. Even with a £360 fine per man for slow over-rates, they must have felt they escaped lightly.
Man of the Match: D. J. Nash.

Attendance: 86,035; receipts £1,655,289.
Close of play: First day, New Zealand 316-4 (M. D. Crowe 133*, S. A. Thomson 68*); Second day, England 94-1 (M. A. Atherton 27*, G. A. Gooch 13*); Third day, England 281; Fourth day, England 56-0 (M. A. Atherton 29*, A. J. Stewart 25*).