England’s international summer kicks off with a two-Test series against New Zealand commencing at Lord’s on 2nd June. This will be New Zealand’s 18th Test series in England and will be followed by their much-awaited clash with India in the World Test Championship final. Having played 54 Test matches in England till date, the Black Caps have won only five times. Here is a look back in time at those rare instances.
Second Test, Headingley, 1983
It took New Zealand 29 matches to register their first Test win on English soil. Geoff Howarth inserted England, and his decision was vindicated as Lance Cairns rose to the occasion. The medium-fast bowler returned figures of 7/74 – still the best for New Zealand against England – to restrict the hosts to 225. Chris Tavare (69) and Allan Lamb (58) scored fifties, but the last seven wickets fell for only 50.
Bruce Edgar retired hurt early, but later came back to compile a gritty 84. His opening partner John Wright scored 93, while the great Richard Hadlee contributed 75. Armed with a robust lead of 152, New Zealand strengthened their grip in the second innings. David Gower remained unbeaten on 112, but he lacked support from the other end. The wrecker-in-chief this time was Ewen Chatfield, with a haul of 5/95.
Cairns took 3/70 in the second innings, giving himself his only ten-wicket bag in Tests. New Zealand’s target was only 101, but Bob Willis was not going to go down without a fight. The pace ace kept things interesting by snaring 5/35, reducing the score to 83/5. However, it only delayed New Zealand’s eventual five-wicket win, which was confirmed when Jeremy Coney hit Ian Botham for four after tea on the fourth day.
Second Test, Trent Bridge, 1986
Though the 1983 rubber ended 3-1 in favour of England, New Zealand turned the tables at home in 1983-84 with their first series win against the Old Blighty. By the time they arrived in England again under Coney, they had also upstaged the Australians both at home and away. They duly proved their mettle by claiming a historic 1-0 triumph in the three-match series, with the decisive victory coming at Trent Bridge.
Bill Athey (55) and Gower (71) held the top order together, but it was Hadlee who had the final say, taking 6/80 at his county home ground to help bowl England out for 256. New Zealand wobbled to 144/5 despite Wright’s measured 58, at which point Hadlee (68) joined forces with Evan Gray (50) for a stand of 95. Hadlee added another 79 with John Bracewell for the eighth wicket as New Zealand gained control.
Bracewell went on to score 110, his only Test hundred, and was last out at 413. He then scalped 3/29 with his off-spin, which, along with Hadlee’s 4/80, further dented England. England were 104/6 at one point, before John Emburey’s 75 improved the total to 230. Hadlee’s 10/140 was his second ten-wicket return against England. Martin Crowe rushed to 48* as New Zealand cruised to an eight-wicket win.
Second Test, Lord’s, 1999
The first Test at Edgbaston had seen New Zealand squander a lead of 100 to go down by seven wickets. They began strongly at Lord’s too, but this time went on to notch an emphatic nine-wicket win. Like his father 16 years earlier, Chris Cairns played a key role in a famous New Zealand win. The exciting fast-bowling all-rounder swung his way to 6/77 to condemn England to 186, with captain Nasser Hussain (61) top-scoring.
New Zealand’s response was built around a solid 100 from opener Matt Horne, who put on 120 for the fourth wicket with Roger Twose (52) and was later named Man of the Match. England would have sniffed a quick finish to the innings at 242/6, but Daniel Vettori (54) frustrated them and helped stretch the lead to 172. Mark Butcher and Alec Stewart kept English hopes alive by adding 55 for the opening wicket.
However, the innings lost its way after Vettori’s left-arm spin sent both openers back, and the unavailability of Hussain, who had injured his finger while fielding, added to England’s woes. At 127/6, an innings defeat was likely, and it took a knock of 45 from Andrew Caddick to set New Zealand a target of 58. Late on the fourth day, a four from Matthew Bell brought up New Zealand’s first Test win at Lord’s in 13 attempts.
Fourth Test, The Oval, 1999
The third Test at Old Trafford was a rain-affected draw, in which New Zealand clearly held the upper hand. This set the stage for a deciding final Test at The Oval. England made as many as five changes, which included debuts for Darren Maddy and Ed Giddins. New Zealand struggled to 104/7 on the first day, before captain Stephen Fleming (66*) and Vettori (51) fought back to drag the total to a respectable 236.
The English batting was found wanting in the face of Cairns (5/31) again, resulting in New Zealand getting a significant lead of 83 early on the third day. New Zealand started their second innings woefully, as the pace trio of Caddick, Giddins and Alan Mullally sent the score crashing to 39/6. It was that man Cairns who thwarted England again, this time with the bat. Batting at number eight, he hit 80 from just 93 balls.
Cairns’ exploits gave England a target of 246. At 123/2 with Michael Atherton (64) and Graham Thorpe in the middle, the chase was very much on. But after Atherton was fourth out to Dion Nash (4/39), a familiar collapse ensued. The last seven wickets were blown away for just 19 to hand New Zealand a well-deserved 83-run win and the series 2-1. This remains New Zealand’s latest four-Test series against any team.
Second Test, Headingley, 2015
New Zealand called the shots in the first innings of the first Test at Lord’s, only to go down by 124 runs. In the second and final Test at Headingley, The Black Caps endured a nightmarish start, losing Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson to James Anderson with only two runs on the board. Opener Tom Latham (84) and debutant wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi came together at 144/5 and shared in a crucial alliance of 120.
Ronchi blazed 88 in 70 balls and was instrumental in New Zealand reaching 350. Stuart Broad was the pick of the bowlers with 5/109. Remarkably, England totalled 350 as well, with Tim Southee (4/83) helping pull things back after openers Adam Lyth (107) and captain Alastair Cook (75) had put on 177. With the match now akin to a second-innings shootout, Broad removed Latham and Williamson early.
But Guptill (70), Ross Taylor (48) and captain Brendon McCullum (55) revived the innings, before BJ Watling smote 120 from number six. Mark Craig (58*) and the tail gave a further boost, enabling a declaration at 454/9. The bowlers fired as a unit on the final day, with only Cook (56) and Jos Buttler (73) showing fight after the score had fallen to 62/4. New Zealand ultimately squared the series with a 199-run victory.