Third Test Match

New Zealand v India

In achieving their ninth Test victory and the first by an innings, New Zealand exposed all the weaknesses of India's batting against pace.

This time, just about everything went New Zealand's way. Richard Hadlee, accounted lucky, after his bowling in Christchurch, to be in the Test twelve, was included in the eleven to give a four-man pace attack, although there was little enough in the pitch on the first day to persuade India to bat first. Howarth was dropped from a Test team for the first time, when available, since his start in 1969 and the policy of the New Zealand selectors paid handsomely.

India began comfortably and when Gavaskar was dropped at 18 and Vengsarkar was missed a few balls later it seemed that New Zealand were in for a lot of fielding. The pace of the pitch was easy, but there was some variation in bounce and soon after mid-day, India suffered half an hour of disasters from which they never recovered.

In 15 quick, well-directed balls, Richard Hadlee took three wickets and Dayle Hadlee had another. A palpably uneasy Patel and Mohinder Amarnath added 42, but the sixth wicket fell at 101.

Kirmani, whose wicket-keeping on tour was of the highest order, somehow survived with Patel while another 116 runs were added. Patel's assurance returned, there was some good running by the batsmen and some fine driving by Patel. Kirmani was missed at 3 and never looked anything but frail; but it was a courageous recovery. It was wasted, however, for India lost their last four wickets in 15 minutes.

The cold weather of the first day was sharper still on the next two, as India laboured to contain New Zealand. Rain cut short the second day by thirty-five minutes, by which time New Zealand had plodded to 170 for five. Turner stayed over three hours for 64; Congdon almost as long for 52. Bedi bowled admirably into a strong, bitterly cold wind. Chandrasekhar was also impressive.

On the third morning the aggressive Cairns spent two hours over 47 as Burgess, finding the form of two or three years earlier, steadily improved his side's position.

But it was a day of tragedy for India. Bedi was confined to bed with a chill, and in mid-afternoon Mohinder Amarnath had to retire with an attack of migraine. Between times, Gavaskar was hit, and was lucky not to be very badly hurt. He was six feet from the bat at short leg when the powerful Cairns pulled Prasanna hard and the ball struck Gavaskar on the right cheekbone. He was taken to hospital to undergo surgery. At the end of a sad and dreary day, New Zealand were 333 for nine.

The fourth day was fine and warm but the pitch had enough life in it for the New Zealanders to hammer home their advantage over a dispirited Indian team. The fast-medium bowlers caused enough balls to rise from near a length to disconcert the batsmen.

A brilliant gully catch by Congdon reduced India to 62 for three by lunch. A splendid diving catch by Wadsworth started India's final collapse. The victim was Patel. Richard Hadlee worked up lively pace, and bowled with sustained accuracy, but the batting was weak. From 75 for three, the score declined to 81 for nine, and Gavaskar was unable to bat. In 28 balls after lunch, Richard Hadlee took five wickets for 10, to finish with seven for 23.

© John Wisden & Co