Match reports


At Auckland, March 6, 7, 8, 9

At Auckland, March 6, 7, 8, 9. Drawn. Long hours of determined defence by England were required to stave off a strong New Zealand challenge; this was one of New Zealand's best displays against England. In the home team Murray and Pollard, who do not play on Sundays, were replaced by Burgess and Webb. For England, Knott came in for Taylor, Cowdrey for Fletcher, Willis for Wilson. In contrast with Christchurch, the pitch was true and of good pace for the first two days and although it became slower, strokes could be made throughout the match. Dowling won the toss again and sent in England.
Until tea, New Zealand made steady progress, Cunis bowling particularly well against the top batsmen. Cowdrey gave a grand display. Firm and certain of stroke, he batted nearly two and a half hours for 54, a performance which was particularly pleasing for spectators who had given one of New Zealand's most popular cricket visitors a very warm welcome. d'Oliveira, hampered after his first 29 runs by a leg injury, also batted well again, but at 145 for six, England were badly placed. Knott and Lever scored 48 more, rather sketchily, before the interval and in the last period of play forced the pace successfully. Knott was missed three times off Shrimpton and had many mis-hits, but Lever, after being missed at 10, batted solidly. Their partnership of 149 was a seventh-wicket record for England against New Zealand. They were together two and a quarter hours and Knott, who reached his first Test century, batted just over three hours in all, with one 6 and eleven 4's.
England, out in the first over on the second morning, batted six and a half hours for 321; this was brisk scoring considering that New Zealand averaged only 11.5 overs an hour. Cunis's persistent length and sharp out-swing provided a consistent challenge to the batsmen.
New Zealand made slow but sound progress, Dowling and Turner scoring 91 in just over three hours, but Underwood, on a very true pitch, took three wickets between lunch and tea and then splendidly caught and bowled Turner. Burgess and Shrimpton struggled for survival but by the end of the day New Zealand were 208 for four. On the Sunday afternoon, before a crowd of about 15,000, the New Zealand batsmen gave a most attractive display. Shrimpton played some good attacking shots and Burgess was in complete command. Dropped twice the previous afternoon, he gave hardly a hint of fallibility and even Underwood was punished to the extent of 46 from eight overs. Burgess went to his second successive Test century in three hours thirty-five minutes and in addition to one 6 hit twelve 4's. Dowling declared when eight runs behind to have the interval absorbed in the tea break and then New Zealand bowled with such purpose that by the close England were 78 for four.
On a pitch of easy pace, England defended for most of the last day. Cowdrey, though suffering from a leg injury, again batted well and with Knott scored 76 for the fifth wicket, but the sixth wicket fell at 152 half an hour before lunch. Knott, completely sound in defence, found staunch allies in the tail-enders, and was last out, after five hours, when only four runs short of a second century. Collinge, on an unresponsive pitch, bowled with skill and spirit and Cunis was again effective, but England's delaying action left New Zealand only two hours, with 246 runs needed and play was given up, for indifferent light, forty minutes from time.