First Test

New Zealand v West Indies 1968-69

At Auckland, February 27, 28, March 1, 3. West Indies won by five wickets. Three aspects of this match will be remembered with particular pleasure; the daring West Indies batting which brought victory against the clock, Dowling's declaration, and Taylor's century for New Zealand. Although Congdon, cutting confidently scored 85 in two and a half hours, New Zealand, after being sent in by Sobers, lost six for 152 before Taylor went to the wicket.

In what was undoubtebly the finest display of his career, Taylor raced to 50 in just thirty minutes, and powerful driving and pulling took him to three figures in eighty-six minutes, the fifth fastest of all Test centuries. Taylor batted, in all, one hour, fifty minutes for his 124, hitting five 6's and fourteen 4's. It was his second partnership of 172 between a studious Carew, who scored his maiden Test century, and later batsmen reached 20, as Taylor and Motz took charge, so that New Zealand gained a handy lead of 47.

Then Turner and Dowling shared an opening stand of 112 in almost three hours, Pollard played his best Test innings for some time, and New Zealand declared on the final morning. It was a welcome decision, for it gave both sides a chance. The West Indies required 345 in five and a quarter hours, although the need to bowl 15 overs in the last hour made it obvious that the game would go beyond 6 o'clock, and the West Indies made the winning runs at 10 minutes after that hour. Nurse, with 168 in three hours, thirty-five minutes (two 6's and twenty-two 4's) was third out at 296, and then Butcher finished the task. Nurse, although making many magnificent shots, had many mis-hits which fell just clear of fieldsmen and three times all but played on. It was a great victory; but there was certainly no disgrace in defeat.

© John Wisden & Co