First Test Match


Toss: West Indies. Test debuts: R. G. Samuels, P. I. C. Thompson.

With Cairns injured two days before and Nash already out with a back injury, the New Zealanders needed all the luck - including the toss - in a match played on a surprisingly green Kensington Oval pitch.

The good luck instead was with West Indies, who won in four days, Walsh sent New Zealand in and reduced them to a Calamitous six for three within the first half-hour. Two decisions in that innings raised doubts: Spearman appeared to be caught off his pad, and later Bucknor gave Peterson Thompson his second Test wicket when Harris seemed to be caught off his arm-guard. It was a rare break for Thompson, who struggled to live up to West Indian fast bowling standards, conceding 25 in his first two overs and being no-balled 26 times in the match.

Parore and Vaughan were just starting to build an interesting sixth-wicket stand when Adams, a reluctant Test bowler, was persuaded to try his slow left-armers. His first ball bounced so crazily that Parore jerked a close catch to Simmons. In a bizarre form of suicide, New Zealand lost five wickets to Adams in nine overs - a career-best for him. They were all out for 195; Campbell and Lara had already knocked off half of that by stumps.

Lara was quickly taken in the morning, but Campbell worked on to reach his maiden Test hundred in six hours. By the end of the day, he and Chanderpaul had New Zealand under the thumb at 334 for four. New Zealand's bowlers had allowed only 236 more runs but never looked like breaking Campbell's grip. On the third morning, he went mercilessly on to his 200 in 648 minutes, joining the pantheon of West Indians (Denis Atkinson, Garry Sobers, Rohan Kanhai, Seymour Nurse, Lawrence Rowe, Faoud Bacchus and Brian Lara) whose maiden Test centuries were doubles. He was finally eighth out, having batted 15 minutes over 11 hours; he had hit 30 fours in 497 balls.

New Zealand resumed 277 behind and, at the close of the third day, they were four down, still needing 126 to make West Indies bat again. But Astle, picked for his one-day big hitting, was attacking cheerfully. He had reached his fifty in 56 balls, to follow a 48-ball 54 in the first innings, and rushed headlong to his maiden Test century, in his third match. He and Vaughan put on 144 - a New Zealand record for the fifth wicket against West Indies - of which Vaughan scored only 24. When Astle fell, at 215 for six, his 125 had taken only 204 minutes and 154 balls. It contained precisely 100 in boundaries: 22 fours and two sixes.

The tail postponed the inevitable, and Morrison and Kennedy had a tenth-wicket stand of 45, another New Zealand-West Indies record. But Campbell blithely hit all the 29 runs needed for victory in four overs.

Man of the Match: S. L. Campbell.

Close of play: First day, West Indies, 98-1 (S. L. Campbell 47*, B. C. Lara 32*); Second day, West Indies 334-4 (S. L. Campbell 149*, S. Chanderpaul 81*); Third day, New Zealand 151-4 (N. J. Astle 82*, J. T. C. Vaughan 10*).

© John Wisden & Co