First Test Match


At Christchurch, February 25, 26, 27, March 1. England won by eight wickets. The match was won and lost on the first day. On a damp, sparsely-grassed pitch the New Zealand batsmen found it most difficult to make strokes from the fast bowlers; the ball generally came through low and once Underwood had begun, the end was in sight. In conditions perfectly suited to his especial talents, he made the ball turn and sometimes lift very sharply. He captured six for 12. Dowling batted over two hours for 13; Pollard made a few assertive shots but Underwood was in supreme command and New Zealand were out for 65, their third lowest score against England.

New Zealand took three wickets for 56 by the close of play, but on the second morning Hampshire helped d'Oliveira to add 64 for the fourth wicket and Illingworth then shared a stand of 93 with d'Oliveira, who produced some magnificent strokes. He took risks on a pitch still taking turn readily, but played a match-winning innings. He batted three hours and eleven minutes for his 100, which included two 6's and thirteen 4's. A strange inability to read Shrimpton's wrong-un contributed to an England collapse, the last six wickets falling while 43 were added.

New Zealand batted again after tea, and again started wretchedly, but Congdon and Turner halted the retreat and when bad light ended play thirty-seven minutes early, the score was 54 for two. Rain delayed the resumption until after lunch on the third day when Congdon and Turner showed some aggression in a stand of 77. Another collapse was halted by Pollard and Turner, who scored 52 together in conditions which still helped the bowlers. That England were left some sort of token task was mainly to the credit of Turner, who batted five hours and nine minutes before Underwood bowled him, just before close of play. Cunis helped him to add 57 for the eighth wicket; then Howarth and Cunis offered further resistance.

England, needing 89 to win, began half an hour before lunch on the final day and although Collinge, bowling with great spirit, soon took two wickets, Hampshire batted boldly and the game was won half an hour before tea. When Underwood had Shrimpton caught in New Zealand"s second innings, he claimed his 1,000th wicket in first-class cricket. His match analysis of twelve for 97 pointed to his mastery of the situation.

Mr. Charles Elliott ( England) stood as one of the umpires at the invitation of the New Zealand Cricket Council; he was in New Zealand on a Churchill Fellowship.

© John Wisden & Co