Second Test Match


Toss: Sri Lanka.

New Zealand's sixth Test venue offered a pleasant ground, good weather and attendances, an almost perfect pitch and a closely contested draw. Jones and Gurusinha scored centuries in each innings to match the feat of D. C. S. Compton and A. R. Morris, who scored twin centuries for England and Australia at Adelaide in 1946-47; Wright completed his set of hundreds against all six current Test-playing countries; and Smith held seven catches in an innings to equal the Test record, with eight in all to match New Zealand's Test record.

Though the Sri Lankans bowled too wide and short on a grassy pitch, the first morning was an anxious one for the New Zealand openers, who had put on 40 when they departed either side of lunch. The pitch still contained some life in the afternoon, but Jones and Crowe countered the seam movement and occasional lift in masterly fashion while adding 85 in 96 minutes. Jones, driving and hooking with confidence, went on to his fourth Test hundred, in 234 minutes from 173 balls, with Thomson a study partner for three hours.

The second day belonged to Ratnayake, who seemed a distant cousin of the previous day's bowler, and Gurusinha. Ratnayake took five of New Zealand's last six wickets for 26 runs, becoming Sri Lanka's leading wicket-taker in Tests, and later Gurusinha held his team's innings together after four wickets fell cheaply. Aravinda de Silva seemed to believe an early boundary was essential, and skied the ball off a hasty hook to Smith. In a day of injuries, Rutherford had to go off after failing to hold a hard slip catch (New Zealand missed several in the slips and gully, which may have cost them the game), Crowe twisted his right ankle, and Ranatunga injured his back while bowling. Smith and Aravinda de Silva captained in the field on the last three days.

Gurusinha duly completed his century next morning, from 216 balls, but in spite of his six-hour effort (261 balls, one six, seventeen fours) Sri Lanka conceded a deficit of 43. After lunch, Morrison was all pace and persistence, and Watson bowled accurately. Wright now came in to play one of his finest innings. He attacked vigorously in the final session, scoring 68 out of 78 after tea and reaching his eleventh Test hundred, with his fourteenth four, in 178 minutes and 138 balls; it was a sparkling display of strokes. On the fourth afternoon Jones and Thomson provided one of the highlights of the match, adding 105 off 133 balls in 88 minutes. Thomson, with some rippling drives, reached a maiden Test fifty in 60 balls, with six fours, and Jones swept his way to a second hundred, off 172 balls with eight fours, before New Zealand's declaration left Sri Lanka a target of 418 in a minimum of 125 overs. They were 109 from 35 overs at the close, including a first-class career-best 64 by Senanayake, with ten fours and some fine cuts and hooks.

On the final day, the Test newcomer, Hathurusinghe, proved an excellent foil for the left-handed Gurusinha. Sri Lanka added 78 before lunch, and the third hour yielded 54. A first Test win over New Zealand was on the cards when Aravinda de Silva came in, after the third-wicket pair had added 117 off 235 balls, but again his mind did not seem to be firmly on the job; he gave Patel a return catch from a full toss. At tea, 140 runs were required, with six wickets and 31 overs in hand; but with Jayasuriya injured, as well as himself, Ranatunga chose not to take the gamble. Gurusinha's second hundred of the match occupied five hours eleven minutes (239 balls) and contained a six and nine fours.

Men of the Match: A. P. Gurusinha, A. H. Jones and I. D. S. Smith.

Close of play:First day, New Zealand 221-4 ( A. H. Jones 109*, S. A. Thomson 32*); Second day, Sri Lanka 180-5 ( A. P. Gurusinha 81*, C. P. H. Ramanayake 13*); Third day, New Zealand 170-2 ( T. J. Franklin 56*, A. H. Jones 2*); Fourth day, Sri Lanka 109-1 ( U. C. Hathurusinghe 30*, C. P. H. Ramanayake 11*).

© John Wisden & Co