Second Test Match


At Auckland, February 27, 28, March 1, 2, 3. West Indies won by ten wickets with 4.3 overs to spare, their first victory in a Test in New Zealand since March 1969. Repeated interruptions for bad light and rain over the first four days caused the loss of almost eight and a quarter hours and led to a tense final day as New Zealand, through another dogged hundred by Martin Crowe, battled to avoid defeat. West Indies owed their substantial first-innings total to Greenidge's thirteenth century, and third double, in Tests, a triumph of technique and temperament on a pitch that encouraged the faster bowlers throughout.

Even though West Indies were without their two most experienced bowlers - Holding, by now back home, and Garner, who had developed a chest infection the day before the match - Richards's decision to bat first was surprising, considering the overcast conditions and the well-grassed pitch. Hadlee and Chatfield created problems throughout the first day, but with New Zealand playing both spinners they lacked seam-bowling support. It took all Greenidge's experience and skill to survive the difficult early period and he was 112 at the close of a shortened first day. West Indies quickly lost Logie next day to a smart gully catch by Martin Crowe, but Greenidge, surviving straightforward chances in the outfield at 131, 148 and 187, and the steady Dujon put on 165 to consolidate their position. Dujon's 77 was his highest score for fifteen Tests. The certainty of Greenidge's play was evidenced by his high number of boundaries: seven sixes, mostly off the spinners, and twenty fours. It was not until twenty minutes before the close of the second day that, driving at Hadlee, he lost his off stump. Hadlee dismissed Gray next day, Richards having needlessly extended the innings, and finished with five or more wickets in an innings for the 28th time in Tests.

New Zealand collapsed against the varied West Indies attack, and although Smith launched a stirring counter-attack to score 40 from 40 balls, the last wicket adding 39, it was not enough to prevent the follow-on. Only two and a quarter hours were possible between stoppages on the fourth day, when the Crowe bothers steadied the innings after the quick loss of the openers. Jeff took 35 balls to get off the mark, before which he was dropped at slip off Marshall, but he and Martin entered the last day at 64 for two.

With the weather mostly sunny, the cricket was tight and engrossing throughout. New Zealand were in trouble at 134 for five at lunch but Martin Crowe, dropped at slip off Walsh when 32, and the unflustered Bracewell put on 107 for the sixth wicket with positive play that brought an apparent concession from Richards when he introduced Gomes. The change proved decisive. Bracewell missed a pull and was lbw. whereupon Walsh and Gray set to work with the second new ball. Crowe eventually fell victim to Gray's bounce and Logie's remarkable reflexes and agility at short leg. His 382-minute innings was not without blemish, for he was missed again at 89, but his seventh Test century once more emphasised his class and temperament. He hit a six off Butts to raise his century and eight fours.

New Zealand started the final twenty overs needing 2 to make West Indies bat again and with three wickets standing. The loss of three overs to poor light heightened the tension, but Walsh, who had undeserving bad luck throughout, had Hadlee, Smith and Boock all caught off the outside edge for his first five-wicket haul in Tests. The West Indians were left with the formality of scoring 13 from six overs to record New Zealand's first defeat in a home Test for five seasons, and Greenidge and Haynes required only nine balls.

During the many breaks for rain and bad light, Richards engaged umpire Goodall in obviously animated discussion, and the New Zealand team manager, David Elder, afterwards alleged that the West Indies captain had "taunted and abused" the umpire and placed unwarranted pressure on him. The New Zealand Cricket Council made no comment.

Man of the Match: C. G. Greenidge.

Close of play: First day, West Indies 211-4 (C. G. Greenidge 112*, A. L. Logie 33*); Second day, West Indies 415-8 (C. G. Butts 7*, A. H. Gray 6*); Third day, New Zealand 1-0 (J. G. Wright 0*, K. R. Rutherford 0*); Fourth day, New Zealand 64-2 (J. J. Crowe 17*, M. D. Crowe 18*).

© John Wisden & Co