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Match reports

WEST INDIES v. NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand were within a hair's breadth of winning this match after Taylor had used a damp wicket quite superbly on the first day, taking seven for 74 when the West Indies were bowled out before tea for 133

15-Apr-1973
New Zealand were within a hair's breadth of winning this match after Taylor had used a damp wicket quite superbly on the first day, taking seven for 74 when the West Indies were bowled out before tea for 133. New Zealand built up a lead of 289, thanks to centuries by Congdon and Hastings, and if Turner had caught Davis when 18 or if Jarvis had held Sobers when 87, both catches being reasonably easy at first slip, New Zealand must have won. As it was Davis and Sobers added 254 for the sixth wicket in six and a half hours and made the game safe for the West Indies.
With Dowling in hospital for treatment on his injured back, Congdon captained New Zealand and Jarvis came into the side as a replacement. The West Indies had brought back Shillingford, but surprisingly at the expense of Gibbs, a decision which they must have regretted as the match progressed. When Sobers won the toss he decided to bat, which was surprising in view of the fact that he had put New Zealand in at Port of Spain, and the Kensington Oval wicket looked as if it would give the bowlers even more help at the start. Taylor used the moist conditions superbly and probably better than any of the West Indians would have done. By the end of the fifth over the West Indies were six for 3 and the procession continued. OnlySobers, with his impeccable defensive technique, looked as if he would stay for any length of time until in mounting frustration he drove furiously at a very wide one and was caught at the wicket.
A big lead was obviously most important for New Zealand, but it was just as important that they should score their runs quickly so as to leave their bowlers long enough in which to dismiss the West Indies a second time. This made Turner's innings of 21 in two and three-quarter hours all the more inexplicable, especially as the pitch had dried out by the time New Zealand began their innings. He was even outscored by Jarvis who was only a makeshift opener. As the best of their batsmen, Turner should have done all he could see that New Zealand were given a commanding start. By the time he was out the score was 68 for two, and the bowlers were on the top and New Zealand were in some trouble, but Congdon appeared and played his most commanding innings of the series. He reached 126 in four hours, twenty minutes and assured New Zealand of a big lead. Hastings also batted well, hitting the ball handsomely off the front foot, but by then Congdon had lifted most of the pressure.
The West Indies began their second innings on the third evening and it seemed all over when they lost two wickets before the close.
Early next morning Davis played back defensively to Howarth and Turner at first slip dropped a straightforward catch. When the West Indies had sunk to 171 for five, still 118 behind, Sobers joined Davis and for the first time in the series Sobers began to bat like Sobers. By the close of play when the score was 297 for five he had overtaken Davis.
Soon after the start on the final morning Sobers cut at Taylor and Jarvis at first slip dropped as simple a catch as one could wish to see in that position. This was New Zealand's last chance and for the rest of the day Sobers and Davis broke record after record. In all Sobers batted six hours, hitting eighteen 4's and Davis over ten hours with nineteen 4's. By the end the pitch was playing very easily and Howarth's figures in this innings of 74-24-138-2 spoke for themselves.