Specials – When the Women’s World Cup was last held in England

  The Women’s World Cup, the final of which is being played at Lord’s today, returned to England after 24 long years. The 1993 tournament was the fifth edition and featured eight teams, then a new record. 

  Interestingly, the 60-over format was persisted with, even as the men’s World Cup had shifted to the standardized 50 overs back in 1987. Australia were defending the title, having won the previous edition in 1988 at home. Here is a look back at a few highlights and moments from the 13-day-long tournament.

A transformed roster, two decades on

  England had earlier hosted the inaugural edition in 1973, which featured an intriguing mix of teams. Besides the hosts, Australia and New Zealand, there were Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago playing as separate nations – unheard of in men’s international cricket – as well as an International XI and a Young England outfit.

  On the other hand, 1993 saw the West Indies play the tournament for the first time, while Denmark also made their World Cup bow.

Heavyweights dish out opening-day drubbings

  Veteran opener Janette ‘Jan’ Brittin impressed for the hosts in their opening game against Denmark with a sublime 104 that led to a 239-run rout of the opposition. Chasing a total of 286/3, the highest of the tournament, the Danes lost their last five wickets for one run to be bowled out for 47.

  On the same day, Australia began their title defence with a breeze, subduing the Netherlands, who were bundled out for 56 thanks in main to a remarkable return of 12-7-8-4 from pacer Brownwyn Calver, by ten wickets.

      England, hosts of the 1993 edition of the Women’s World Cup, won their second title after defeating New Zealand in the final at Lord’s (source – gettyimages/espncricinfo.com)

The Netherlands win their first World Cup game

  Having endured eight straight defeats in their maiden World Cup appearance in 1988, it would not have been surprising to see the Dutchwomen go winless again, especially after the limp display against Australia.

  However, their second match, against newbies West Indies, presented the ideal opportunity to break the duck. And they did it in quite resounding fashion, defending 158 to win by 70 runs, with Pauline te Beest (62) and Anita van Lier (4/24) doing the star turn.

England see off India in a pulsating climax

  In what was possibly the best match of the tournament, the hosts eked out a last-over victory against India. Brittin was in the thick of things again, scoring 100 in England’s total of 179 – they lost their last seven wickets for 22.

  The evergreen Indian captain Diana Edulji bowled splendidly, taking 4/12 with her left-arm spin. India went from 83/2 to 128/7 in reply, but the tail kept England on their toes. Eventually, number eleven Laya Francis was run out with four needed from two balls.

Underdogs play out a thriller of their own

  An equally exciting finish followed three days later, when Ireland staved off a brave Dutch challenge. The Netherlands could manage only 134/8, with skipper Nicola Payne (46) being the top scorer.

  Ireland looked on course at 60/2, but were put on the brink thanks to an incisive spell from Ariette van Noortwijk (4/21). It was left to Judith Herbison and Susan Bray, at nine and ten respectively, to stitch an unbroken stand of 32 and ensure a two-wicket win in the 57th over.

     Karen Smithies, England’s 24-year-old captain, receives the World Cup trophy at Lord’s. She was also the joint highest wicket-taker of the tournament (source – ICC/gettyimages)

New Zealand signal their intent with a clean slate

  The White Ferns failed to finish in the top two in the first four editions, but they were the standout team in the league phase this time, with seven wins out of seven. Despite being bowled out for 127 against England, they ensured that it was enough for a 25-run win.

  The lowest total, 40 by the Netherlands, of the tournament came against New Zealand, with Jennifer Turner taking 5/5. They reserved their best for Australia, blowing them away for 77 en route to a ten-wicket win.

Hosts prove their superiority in the summit clash

  However, New Zealand’s unbeaten streak was broke  when it mattered most – in the final at Lord’s on 1st August, 1993 – a historic occasion for the women’s game. England, whose only league loss had come against New Zealand, got back with a facile 67-run win to secure their second title.

  Brittin (48) and Carole Hodges (45) steered England to 195/5, before New Zealand ambled to 60/2 in the 27th over, at which point the run out of Debbie Hockley turned the tide towards England. New Zealand fell to 71/5, and never really recovered, terminating at 128 in the 56th over. Gillian Smith took 3/29 for the hosts.

Presenting the chart toppers

  Jan Brittin, England’s batting pillar, was the leading run-scorer in the tournament, tallying 410 runs at 51.25, including two hundreds. The highest individual score came from the bat of Helen Plimmer, who scored 118 for England against Ireland.

  Karen Smithies, captain of England, and Julie Harris of New Zealand – both medium pacers – were the leading wicket-takers with 15 scalps each, while New Zealand’s Jennifer Turner recorded the best bowling figures, a sensational 5/5 against the Netherlands.  


Record Book – The lowest total by a Test nation in the Champions Trophy

  New Zealand and Bangladesh, fresh from playing each other in the tri-series in Ireland last month, are set to face off in a Champions Trophy match at Cardiff on the coming Friday. This will be the second time that the two teams will meet in the Champions Trophy; the first instance being in the 2002 edition in Sri Lanka.

  The format back then allowed only one of the three teams in each pool to enter the semifinals, and as it turned out, Australia breezed into the final four from Pool 1, courtesy of resounding wins over New Zealand and Bangladesh. The final pool game between the two losing teams, played at Colombo’s Sinhalese Sports Club Ground on September 23, 2002, was thus reduced to an inconsequential affair.

  New Zealand, looking for consolation after having failed to defend the title they won in 2000, were inserted in to bat on a slow track by Bangladesh’s wicketkeeper-captain Khaled Mashud. Left-arm pacer Manjural Islam provided an early breakthrough for the Tigers, scalping the key wicket of Nathan Astle with the score at 11 in the third over.

  Skipper Stephen Fleming and Matthew Sinclair produced a second-wicket stand of 66 at nearly six an over, before Khaled Mahmud pulled things back with a double strike. The medium pacer first got rid of Fleming, who was looking composed on 31, and then had Lou Vincent caught behind in his next over. New Zealand were now 79/3 in the 16th over and needed someone to play a long innings.

         Scott Styris plays a shot during New Zealand’s innings as Bangladesh captain Khaled Mashud looks on (source – gettyimages/icc-cricket.com)

  Sinclair held fort, but the Bangladeshi bowlers ensured that runs were not easy to come by. The fourth-wicket partnership between Sinclair and Scott Styris had progressed to 40, when the latter was caught short of his crease for a promising 26. This setback further dented the run rate, and even though Sinclair and Chris Harris added 48 for the fifth wicket, their stand consumed 85 balls.

  When Sinclair was sixth out for a stodgy 70 from 122 balls to the part-time leg spin of Mohammad Ashraful, who had already dismissed Harris earlier, the scoreboard read 198 in the 45th over. A final flourish from Jacob Oram, who became Ashraful’s third victim, and Daniel Vettori enabled New Zealand to accumulate 46 runs in the last five overs.

  Yet, it was a commendable effort from Bangladesh to restrict their opponents to 244/7. Manjural and Mahmud bowled with control to take two wickets each, while left-arm spinner Mohammad Rafique returned tidy figures as well. The 18-year-old Ashraful, who had become Test cricket’s youngest centurion a year earlier, finished with a career-best of 3/26.

  The target was by no means a daunting one, but Bangladesh needed to put in a highly improved effort with the bat compared to the game against Australia – in which they had painstakingly crumbled for 129 in the 46th over – if they harboured hopes of notching a rare victory; they came into this match on the back of 19 consecutive ODI defeats.

       Shane Bond ripped through the Bangladeshi top order to set up a crushing win for New Zealand at the 2002 Champions Trophy (source – espncricinfo.com)

   A 20th defeat on the trot was a foregone conclusion just five overs into the Bangladeshi innings. The top order had absolutely no answer to the express pace of Shane Bond, who was in the thick of things from the first over itself when he had Al Sahariar trapped leg-before for a duck. At the other end, Oram sent back the other opener Javed Omar to leave Bangladesh at 8/2 after two overs.

  The ferocious Bond, backed by Fleming’s attacking field, had figures of 3-0-9-4 at this point. Bangladesh had suffered their lowest ODI total at the same ground just over a month earlier, when they were skittled for 76 by Sri Lanka. At 19/5, a bigger embarrassment was on the cards. The top scorer of the innings was Tushar Imran (20), who was sixth out to Oram with the score at 37.

  The last four wickets managed to double the score and also – just – avoid a record ODI low for Bangladesh, but nevertheless, the final outcome made for sorry reading. Kyle Mills and Vettori too chipped in with two wickets apiece, as the Tigers were shot out for 77 in 19.3 overs to concede a 167-run defeat. Bond finished with 4/21 in five overs and was rightly named man of the match.

  Bangladesh’s total of 77 was then the lowest in the Champions Trophy, and till date, remains the lowest by a Test nation in the tournament. In the next edition in 2004, Bangladesh were bowled out for another sub-100 total – 93 against South Africa at Edgbaston. The lowest Champions Trophy total overall is 65 by the United States of America against Australia at Southampton in 2004.

Match Scorecard 

Specials – Best of the Tests: New Zealand v Pakistan

  Pakistan’s 13th Test tour of New Zealand is underway, with the first of two Tests having been played at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch. New Zealand has been a happy hunting ground for Pakistani teams over the years – prior to the start of the ongoing series, they have won ten and lost five of the 29 Tests they have played there.

  Overall, the two sides have met 53 times, with Pakistan winning 24 matches to New Zealand’s eight. New Zealand have won only two series against Pakistan, and the latest of them came 32 years ago. In this post, we relive five of the best Test matches played between the two teams, in chronological order.

Third Test, Dunedin, 1984-85

  Pakistan had beaten New Zealand at home in December 1984, and found themselves southbound for a return series the very next month. New Zealand were up 1-0 coming into this final Test of the rubber at Carisbrook. The second Test at Auckland had seen the debut of Wasim Akram, who would go on to become the most successful visiting bowler in New Zealand.

  Pakistan’s first-innings total of 274 was built around a third-wicket stand of 141 between Qasim Umar (96) and captain Javed Miandad (79). The last eight wickets fell for just 33, with Richard Hadlee (6/51) doing the bulk of the damage. 18-year-old Wasim then showed the first glimpse of his fast bowling prowess, taking 5/56 to help bowl New Zealand out for 220.

  Umar top-scored for the visitors in the second dig as well, compiling  a solid 89 that aided in a recovery from 76/4 to 223. Set 278 to win, New Zealand were in disarray at 23/4 as the top order caved in to Wasim. Martin Crowe (84) and Jeremy Coney staged a remarkable comeback, putting on 157 for the fifth wicket.

  Yet, at 228/8, Pakistan were in pole position to level the series. Coney, who remained unbeaten on a lionhearted 111, and Ewan Chatfield however put paid to the visitors’ hopes – they added 50* to script a two-wicket win for their side. Wasim grabbed 5/72 to return a haul of 10/128 and earned the man of the match award. This remains New Zealand’s only series win at home against Pakistan.


       Waqar Younis (left) and Wasim Akram combined to bowl Pakistan to a sensational win at Hamilton in 1992-93 (source – wellpitched.com)

Only TestHamilton, 1992-93

  A brilliant exhibition of pace bowling handed Pakistan an extraordinary victory in this one-off Test at Seddon Park. New Zealand started on a bright note – they reduced Pakistan to 12/3 after winning the toss. Skipper Miandad came to the rescue with 92, with the eventual total being a respectable 216. Left-arm pacer Murphy Su’a returned a career-best 5/73.

  In reply, the hosts rode on a sedulous century from opener Mark Greatbatch. He showed great application, batting for seven hours in making 133 – more than half of the team total of 264 – and shared in an opening stand of 108 with Blair Hartland. Wasim and Waqar Younis served an appetiser of what was still to come, by sharing seven wickets between them.

  Bolstered by New Zealand’s valuable lead of 48, Danny Morrison (5/41) jolted the top order early on the third day. Inzamam-ul-Haq rose to the challenge, as he uplifted his team from the pits of 39/5 with a pugnacious 75. His partnership with Rashid Latif, worth 80 for the sixth wicket, carried Pakistan to 174. New Zealand faced a routine target of 127 with more than two days left.

  Wasim ensured that the chase had a dicey start, as he pinched three cheap wickets to leave New Zealand at 39/3 at the end of day three. As the fourth day commenced after a rain delay, Andy Jones and Adam Parore battled to take the score to 65/3 before Younis removed the former. Wasim soon sent Parore back, and suddenly the road to the target was looking arduous.

  From that point onward, it was mayhem – Wasim (5/45) and Waqar (5/22) combined to produce a breathtaking effort, rendering the Kiwis helpless with their combative pace and deadly swing. New Zealand lost 7 for 28 to capitulate to 93 all out; Mr. Extras top-scoring with 22. Waqar, playing his 20th Test, also reached the 100-wicket mark wickets during his spell.

Third Test, Christchurch, 1993-94

  Pakistan had already secured the series after comprehensive wins at Auckland and Wellington. The two Ws – Wasim and Waqar – proved to be New Zealand’s nemeses yet again in the first two Tests, bagging 20 and 11 wickets respectively. However, New Zealand salvaged pride at Lancaster Park, achieving a record five-wicket win early on the final day.


         Bryan Young (left) and Shane Thomson struck maiden centuries in New Zealand’s highest successful run chase, at Christchurch in 1993-94 (source – odt.co.nz)

  Openers Saeed Anwar (69) and Aamir Sohail (60) laid a strong platform for Pakistan by adding 125 runs, before Basit Ali (103) continued the good work, racing to his first and only Test hundred. The visitors accumulated a robust 344 on the board and New Zealand had their task cut out.

  The hosts were going well at 109/1 with Andrew Jones (81) looking in fine fettle, but Waqar, not for the first time, inspired a collapse that gave Pakistan a first-innings cushion of 144. The ‘Burewala Express’ sped to a return of 6/78. Pakistan themselves folded for 179 on the third day, failing to recover from 53/4 despite Basit’s 67. Morrison took 4/66, extending his match analysis to 8/171.

  New Zealand were thus set 324 to win with more than two days still available. Opener Bryan Young dropped anchor at one end, but Pakistan were firm favourites at 133/4. Shane Thomson came in at number six, and went on to share in a match-winning partnership of 154 with Young. Both ultimately reached their maiden Test hundreds.

  While Young was out for 120, Thomson remained unbeaten on the same score, steering New Zealand to their highest successful Test chase. They played contrasting innings – Young batted for nearly seven hours, soaking the pressure, whereas Thomson struck at 72 runs per 100 balls. The duo adeptly negated the threat of Wasim and Waqar and were successful in denying Pakistan a clean sweep.

First Test, Lahore, 1996-97

  New Zealand began the series with a rare success in Pakistan – they had won only once before in the country, which was also at the Gaddafi Stadium, during their first ever series win in 1969-70. Moreover, they ended a barren run of 15 winless Tests – eight defeats and seven draws – over the last two years.

  Wasim, who was now the captain, missed the match due to a shoulder injury and Saeed Anwar took over in his stead. Lee Germon called correctly, but his team’s batsmen could not cope with the low bounce of the pitch. New Zealand crashed to 83/6 and on to 155 all out, with Waqar and leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed taking four wickets apiece.

  However, towards of the first day, New Zealand were right back in the contest after having reduced the hosts to 37/5. Medium pacer Simon Doull was the wrecker-in-chief as he made short work of the the top order, eventually ending with figures of 5/46. A spunky 59 from Moin Khan revived the innings to an extent and ensured a narrow lead of 36 for his team.


     Shane Bond dismisses Mohammad Yousuf caught and bowled at Dunedin in 2009-10. New Zealand won by 32 runs (source – wikiwand.com)

  In the second innings, New Zealand were in a worrying position of 101/5 early on the third day. Ahmed was proving to be difficult to negotiate, until Chris Cairns joined Stephen Fleming. They stitched together 141 for the sixth wicket to turn the game. Fleming scored 92*, while Cairns hit 93 at better than a run a ball. When on seven, Cairns was dropped by Inzamam at gully.

  New Zealand were bowled out for 311, with Ahmed taking 6/84 (10/143 in the match). Chasing 276, Pakistan were on the mat at 46/5 by stumps, which became 60/6 on day four. Debutant Mohammad Wasim gave his side some hope, scoring 109* from number seven. But he could not find enough support and Pakistan lost by 44 runs. Dipak Patel took 4/36 while Doull ended with 8/85 in the match.

First Test, Dunedin, 2009-10

  The University Oval witnessed an exciting Test match that had its share of twists and turns. Pakistan’s pace attack had done well to have New Zealand at 211/6, before Brendon McCullum (78) and captain Daniel Vettori (99) took charge with a seventh-wicket stand worth 164. Earlier, Martin Guptill (60) and Ross Taylor put on 117 for the third wicket.

  These efforts enabled New Zealand to swell their total to 429. Pakistan began poorly in reply, slipping to 85/5 courtesy some fine bowling from speedster Shane Bond (5/107). 19-year-old Umar Akmal, who went on to score a breezy 129 on debut, joined forces with his elder brother Kamran (82) and the pair added a vital 176 for the sixth wicket, boosting Pakistan’s total to 332.

  Pakistan’s pacemen delivered timely blows in the second innings as well, and this time there was no lower-order fightback. Only Taylor (59) showed up as New Zealand were bundled out for 153 early on the final day, thus setting up an interesting chase. Mohammad Asif took 4/43, giving himself 8/151 in the match. Pakistan required 251 for victory.

  Bond and Chris Martin had Pakistan at 24/3 before Umar Akmal (75) put his hand up again. He shared in stands of 71 with captain Mohammad Yousuf for the fourth wicket and 66 with Shoaib Malik for the fifth. But at 195/5, he was caught and bowled by Bond (who had a match haul of 8/153 in what was his last Test). The last five wickets fell for just 23, leaving New Zealand victors by 32 runs.

Specials – Best of the Tests at the Bellerive Oval

  Tasmania got its first taste of Test cricket in December 1989, when Hobart’s Bellerive Oval hosted the second Test between Australia and Sri Lanka. Since then, the ground has been an occasional fixture on the Australian Test calendar, having hosted a total of 12 Tests – four against New Zealand, three each against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and two against the West Indies.

  Australia’s record at the ground, which is also known as the Blundstone Arena, is impressive – they have won nine games and lost just once. With South Africa – who are making their maiden appearance in Hobart – taking on the hosts in the second Test of their ongoing series, let us look back at five memorable matches played at this venue, in chronological order.

Australia v Sri Lanka, Second Test, 1989-90

  This match marked the Test debut of the Bellerive Oval, which had hosted an ODI each in the previous two seasons. Sri Lanka came into this final Test of the series on the back of a confidence-boosting draw at the Gabba, where they took the first-innings lead thanks Aravinda de Silva’s 167.

  Fast-medium pace bowler Rumesh Ratnayake produced an excellent spell of 6/66 as Australia were bowled out for 224 on the first day after being inserted by Arjuna Ranatunga. No batsman could manage a fifty. Sri Lanka crashed to 18/3 in reply before de Silva (75) joined forces with Roshan Mahanama (85) to share in a stand of 128 for the fourth wicket.

  However, the visitors lost their last six wickets for just 28, thus conceding a narrow lead of eight runs. After an eventful second day, Australia were 25/2 in their second innings and the match seemed to be heading towards an exciting conclusion. But the Australian batsmen had other ideas as they went about piling the runs in right earnest.

  While Mark Taylor (108) and captain Allan Border (85) added 163 for the fourth wicket to put their team in the driver’s seat, Dean Jones (118*) and Steve Waugh (134*) ensured that the innings went into overdrive mode with an unbroken sixth-wicket partnership of 260 at 4.5 an over. The declaration came at 513/5, leaving Sri Lanka with a target of 522.

  Sri Lanka put up a brave fight, but it was never going to be enough. Resuming the final day at 166/3, they were bowled out for 348 in the final session after losing their last four wickets for 16. De Silva, who was rightly named man of the series, starred again with 72, while Ravi Ratnayake top-scored with 75. Merv Hughes led the way for the hosts with 5/88.


    The Bellerive Oval in Hobart has hosted 12 Test matches since 1989-90, of which Australia have won nine and lost only one (source – abc.net.au)

Australia v New Zealand, Third Test, 1997-98

  Australia had sealed the series with convincing wins at Brisbane and Perth, and nearly made it three out of three at Hobart. In what was a rain-affected Test, Australia totalled 400 after batting first. The cornerstone of the innings was a second-wicket stand of 197 between Matthew Elliott (114) and Greg Blewett (99). Mark Waugh chipped in with 81.

  With the match petering out to a draw, Stephen Fleming dangled the carrot in front of the Australians late on the fourth day. The New Zealand captain declared his team’s first innings at 251/6, in which Matthew Horne (133) was the standout performer with a maiden Test ton. Host captain Mark Taylor himself declared at 138/2 at lunch on the final day.

  Two sessions now remained in the match, with New Zealand needing 288 runs to win and Australia ten wickets. The Kiwis got off to a flyer, with openers Horne and Nathan Astle blasting 72 off 52 balls. It was too good to last though, as the score quickly slid to 95/4. Shane Warne was coming into his own and the visitors thought it wise to give up their victory hopes.

  Adam Parore and Roger Twose had almost steered their team to safety with a seventh-wicket stand of 66, but a final twist was in store. Three wickets fell for six runs and New Zealand had only one wicket in the bank with 38 minutes to play. A whitewash was narrowly averted as the last pair of Simon Doull and Shane O’Connor defied the wiles of Warne (5/88), the innings ending at 223/9.

Australia v Pakistan, Second Test, 1999-00

  After clinching a ten-wicket win in the series opener, Australia looked certain to lose before an amazing last-day fightback from Justin Langer and Adam Gilchrist gave them a famous win. Steve Waugh inserted Pakistan in and his bowlers did not disappoint, limiting the total to 222. Opener Mohammed Wasim made an attacking 91.

  In reply, Australia were in a commanding position at 191/1 with Michael Slater (97) and Langer (59) in ominous form. But Pakistan somehow conjured a comeback, guided by off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq (6/46). Australia were dismissed for 246, losing their last eight wickets for 40.Pakistan then took control of the game with a solid batting display in the second innings.

  Saeed Anwar (78) took charge at the top before Inzamam-ul-Haq (118) and Ijaz Ahmed (82) put on 136 for the fourth wicket. Shane Warne (5/110) bowled impressively, but Pakistan went on to score 392. Australia needed 369 to win the Test and the series, which looked a distant dream when they fell to 126/5 on the fourth evening.


      Playing only his second Test, Adam Gilchrist smashed 149* off 163 balls to help Australia chase down 369 against Pakistan in 1999-00 (source – yahoocricket)

  They began the final day at 188/5 and Pakistan were well on top. But the overnight batsmen, Langer and Gilchrist, were not deterred and went on to add a record 238 runs for the sixth wicket. While Langer made a solid 127, it was Gilchrist’s assault that jolted Pakistan. The wicket-keeper cracked an unbeaten 149 off 163 balls – a marvellous knock given the situation.

  The Australians eventually reached 369/6 – then the third-highest fourth-innings victory chase – as Pakistan were left to rue their misfortune. There was controversy early on the final morning, when Langer appeared to have been wrongly reprieved following a caught-behind appeal off captain Wasim Akram. Australia went on to sweep the series 3-0.

Australia v Sri Lanka, Second Test, 2007-08

  Australia won the two-Test series 2-0, but not before Sri Lanka made a valiant attempt to chase down a massive target. The home batsmen put the Sri Lankan bowling attack to the sword after winning the toss, amassing 542/5 before Ricky Ponting decided that they had batted enough.

  Opener Phil Jaques struck a career-best 150, and was involved in a third-wicket partnership of 152 with Michael Hussey, who made 132. Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds and Adam Gilchrist hit brisk fifties to further put Sri Lanka under the pump. Captain Mahela Jayawardene stood up to the task by scoring 104, but his side faced a deficit of 296 after the first innings.

  Australia opted to bat again and galloped to 210/2, declaring before lunch on the fourth day. Marvan Atapattu (80) and Kumar Sangakkara showed resolve in pursuit of an unlikely 507, as they put on 143 for the second wicket. Sangakkara was looking in great touch and ended the day at 109*, Sri Lanka’s score reading 247/3.

  Australia, hungry for their 14th successive Test match win, wrested the initiative on the fifth day, sparking a collapse to send Sri Lanka from 265/3 to 290/8 even as Sangakkara batted on with assurance. The ninth wicket fetched 74 runs, as Sangakkara and Lasith Malinga engaged in an entertaining counterattack.

  Only a poor umpiring decision stopped Sangakkara from reaching his seventh double hundred, as he was adjudged out for a brilliant 192 after the ball deflected from his shoulder and hit the helmet before being snapped in the slips. Sri Lanka were eventually dismissed for 410. Brett Lee, who was named man of the match and series, finished with 4/87, taking his match figures to 8/169.


     Doug Bracewell celebrates a wicket at Hobart in 2011-12 even as David Warner looks on. New Zealand won a thriller by just seven runs (source – pakistantoday.com.pk)

Australia v New Zealand, Second Test, 2011-12

  Coming into this match, Australia were favourites to take the rubber after an easy nine-wicket win in the first Test. Michael Clarke had no hesitation in putting New Zealand in to bat on a grassy wicket. The hosts’ pace trio of James Pattinson (5/51), Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc proceeded to destroy New Zealand’s top order – they crashed to 60/6 in the first session itself.

  Dean Brownlie stemmed the rot with a gutsy 56 from number six. He shepherded the tail and was the only one to cross 20. The innings wound up at 150 before the first day ended prematurely due to rain, Australia being 12/1. The second day was again dominated by the bowlers as the Australian batsmen failed to cope with the visiting bowlers’ pace and swing. 

  The batting order imploded as the score slid to 75/7. Chris Martin, Trent Boult and Doug Bracewell took three wickets each. It took a 56-run stand for the eighth wicket between Siddle and Pattinson to revive the final total to 136. With New Zealand leading by just 14, the Test was now akin to a second-dig shootout. They lost their top three with 73 on the board in the second innings.

  Captain Ross Taylor steadied the ship, scoring 56. From 171/4, New Zealand regressed to 226 all out, which left Australia with seven sessions to score 241. By stumps on the third day, openers Phil Hughes and David Warner cruised to 72/0, thus providing the perfect start to the chase. At 159/2 and with Warner and Ricky Ponting in the middle, the game was Australia’s to lose.

  However, 21-year-old Bracewell, playing only his third Test, went on to bowl a game-changing spell. He finished with 6/40, scalping Ponting, Clarke and Michael Hussey – the latter two in successive balls – even as Warner fought on. Three wickets had fallen for no run and the game was wide open. Except for Warner, no batsman crossed 23.

  Another catastrophic slide from 192/5 to 199/9 seemed to be the final blow for the hosts. But Warner, who carried his bat in vain for 123 off 170 balls, and Lyon added 34 to ignite hope among the spectators before Bracewell castled Lyon with tea approaching to script a seven-run win for New Zealand – their first against Australia in 19 years.

Famous Test Matches – South Africa v New Zealand, Cape Town, 1961-62

  Coming into this five-match series, New Zealand had not played Test cricket for nearly three years. They had lost ten consecutive series dating back to 1950-51 and had won just one Test in 32 years and 52 attempts – against the West Indies at Auckland in 1955-56.

  New Zealand’s first tour of South Africa in 1953-54 was a hard lesson learnt as they went down 4-0, salvaging only a draw to avoid being whitewashed. That tour is best remembered for New Zealand’s valiance, spurred by a determined Bert Sutcliffe, in the emotionally-charged Johannesburg Test.

  The first Test of the 1961-62 series at Durban was a close affair, with the hosts prevailing by 30 runs. South African captain Jackie McGlew carried his bat for 127* to guide his side to a first-innings lead of 47. New Zealand were eventually set 197 to win, but they succumbed to Peter Pollock, who took 6/38.

  New Zealand’s performance in the Durban Test underlined that they were not going to go down without a fight, and so it proved as the series wore on. The second Test at Johannesburg was drawn, which meant that South Africa held a 1-0 lead when the teams arrived at Newlands for the crucial New Year’s Test on the first day of 1962.

  Graham Dowling, who had debuted at Johannesburg, fell without scoring to the tall paceman Godfrey ‘Goofy’ Lawrence soon after John Reid had elected to bat. However, his fellow opener Noel McGregor (68) laid a solid platform for the middle order to capitalise on. When he was bowled for 68 by debutant Sydney Burke, the score read 116/3.

  Reid was joined by Zin Harris and the two turned the tide towards New Zealand with a fourth-wicket partnership of 93. Reid scored an attacking 92 before slow left-armer Atholl McKinnon scalped him short of a well-deserved century. Harris was unperturbed by his captain’s loss and found an equally ambitious partner in Murray Chapple.

  Harris and Murray calmly went about their task on a harmless pitch as the South Africans failed to find a way through their alliance. Harris was unbeaten on 91 when stumps were drawn with New Zealand in the ascendancy at 337/4. He circumspectly inched to his first and only Test hundred the following day.

  Burke used his medium pace to great effect on the second morning and was instrumental in sparking a New Zealand collapse. He had Chapple caught behind by John Waite for 69, which ended the fifth-wicket stand of 148. Waite had a good time behind the wicket as he also stumped Harris for 101 (ten fours and two sixes) off Harry Bromfield soon after.


         New Zealand’s leg-spinner Jack Alabaster starred in Cape Town with a match return of 8/180 (source – stuff.co.nz/fairfaxnz)

  The lower order and tail were quickly dismantled thanks to Burke, who bowled his heart out to finish with 6/128 in 53.5 overs. New Zealand’s innings terminated at 385, a total they would have taken at the start, even though they lost their last six wickets for 28. This being a four-day Test, the follow-on mark for the hosts was 236.

  Openers McGlew and Eddie Barlow began soundly before Dick Motz took the important wicket of the home captain. Barlow seemed to be in his element, but leg-spinner Jack Alabaster had him caught by Harris for 51, the South African score now a potentially thorny 85/3.

  Clever bowling supported by quality fielding ensured that South Africa kept losing wickets before any substantial partnership could find its feet. Waite attempted to solidify the innings, but his dismissal at 157/4 triggered a slide of 6 for 33. The wreckers-in-chief were medium pacer Francis Cameron and Alabaster.

  Cameron delivered a fine performance as he returned a haul of 5/48. Alabaster, who has to be credited with denting the top order early, was equally effective with figures of 4/61. South Africa could muster only 190 in the face of their combination, and Reid had to decide whether to enforce the follow-on – then a rarity for a New Zealand captain.

  The New Zealand think-tank eventually opted to bat again, ostensibly because it would have been a risk batting last on a wicket expected to turn on the final day. The visitors ended the second day at 8/0 in their second innings and with a lead of 193 – by all means a highly secure position.

  Burke was at it again in the second innings, this time rattling the top order to renew South African hopes. His in-swinger was particularly fruitful as New Zealand wobbled to 44/3 and later to 127/6. Four batsmen from the top seven crossed 20, but none went further than 33. Burke had by now collected his second five-wicket haul.

  Wicketkeeper Artie Dick, who came in at number eight, ended up as the top scorer of the innings with an unbeaten 50 – his only Test fifty – that enabled his team to swell the lead. He dominated in an unbroken tenth-wicket stand of 49 with Cameron, much to the frustration of the hosts, before Reid declared at 212/9.

  South Africa were hampered by an injury to Lawrence, which meant that Burke had to bowl more than he would have expected. Yet, he recorded figures of 5/68, giving him a remarkable 11/196 from 81 overs in the match. This is the second-best return by a South African on Test debut, after Alf Hall’s 11/112 against England at the same venue in 1922-23.

  South Africa’s target was a daunting 407 with about eight hours of play left in the Test. There was more bad news in store for the hosts as McGlew was admitted to hospital after sustaining a finger injury, the score being 11/0 at this stage. Alabaster soon took the wickets of Barlow and Buster Farrer to reduce the score to 54/2 at stumps.


         Captain John Reid contributed to New Zealand’s first away win with 92 runs in the first innings and two vital wickets in the second (source – wikia.com)

  Roy McLean, batting at number four, began signalling his intent to keep sniffing at the target early on the final day. Alabaster added a third wicket to his tally when he removed Waite to make the score 100/3, but McLean mixed caution with aggression and gave Reid plenty to ponder about.

  McGlew returned at the fall of the third wicket to fight for his team, and a partnership worth 101 ensued between him and McLean. The duo steadily progressed in the middle, and at 201/3, the match was heading towards a climax. It was fast bowler Gary Bartlett who broke through, having McGlew caught behind for a gritty 63.

  The pitch was still easy to bat on and until New Zealand saw the back of McLean, they could not have afforded to rest. McLean kept the chase alive in the company of Colin Bland; their partnership realised a further 72 runs for the fifth wicket. 134 runs to win, six wickets in hand was the delicate equation at this stage.

  Bartlett did the star turn again, inducing McLean – who hit his fifth Test ton – into a hook that landed into the hands of Harris. In less than three hours, McLean produced a knock of 113 (18 fours and a six) that had given South Africa a real chance of a historic win – no team had chased down these many runs to win a Test.

  However, McLean’s dismissal signified another momentum shift. Bland battled on, his partnership with Kim Elgie mopping another 42 runs off target, before Cameron dismissed Elgie, and just two runs later, Reid had Bland LBW for 42. South Africa’s batting ammunition had been extinguished, the score now 317/7.

  The end was quick, with the last three wickets falling for only four runs. Though Alabaster was the pick of the bowlers with 4/119 (8/180 in the match), Bartlett and Reid, with two wickets apiece, had provided the vital scalps. Reid fittingly took the final wicket, that of Lawrence, as South Africa were bowled out for 335 to give New Zealand a 72-run win.

  New Zealand thus recorded their first ever overseas Test match triumph. It had taken a long time coming – a run of 30 winless overseas Tests in as many years was finally broken with a convincing all-round display. South Africa’s brave final-day attempt was not enough as the target proved to be a bit too much for their liking.

  South Africa bounced back in the fourth Test at Johannesburg, winning by an innings and 51 runs, before New Zealand levelled for the second time in the series with a 40-run win in the fifth Test at Port Elizabeth. The final result of 2-2 was a fair reflection of a well-fought Test series. 

Match Scorecard

Specials – Memories from the NatWest Tri-Series, Part 2

  Having looked at the first three editions of the NatWest Tri-Series last week, we move on to summarise the latter half of the tournament’s history, comprising of the 2003, 2004 and 2005 editions.


  Zimbabwe and South Africa, co-hosts of the World Cup that had concluded three months earlier, were the tourists. England had forfeited their World Cup match against Zimbabwe on political grounds, a decision which probably cost them a place in the next round. This was destined to be Zimbabwe’s last series in England.

  England were caught napping in the first game at Trent Bridge where a tidy Zimbabwean attack kept them to just 191/8. Zimbabwe overcame a dreadful start of 15/4 to clinch a four-wicket win with two overs to spare, thanks to Grant Flower’s mettlesome 96*. England bounced back with a commanding six-wicket win over South Africa at the Oval.

  Chasing a total of 264/6 (Jacques Kallis scoring 107), openers Marcus Trescothick (114*) and Vikram Solanki (106) galloped to a 200-run stand and the win was sealed in the 46th over. Another Kallis century (125) followed at Canterbury, this time not in vain as Zimbabwe fell 46 short of their target of 273.

  The second round began with a rained-off game between England and Zimbabwe at Headingley, following which South Africa nosed ahead with a seven-wicket defeat of the hosts. An unbroken stand of 145 between Kallis (82*) and Jacques Rudolph (71*) ensured that a modest 224 was chased down with 15 balls left. The Proteas then subdued Zimbabwe by nine wickets at Canterbury, chasing 175.

  Bristol saw the English pace attack master the conditions expertly as Zimbabwe were shot out for 92, Darren Gough the pick with 4/26. Heath Streak (4/21) reduced England to 25/4, but Flintoff’s rapid 47* calmed nerves to ensure a six-wicket win. This result knocked Zimbabwe out of contention.


     Andrew Flintoff celebrates Shaun Pollock’s dismissal in the 2003 NatWest Series final at Lord’s. He was named player of the tournament (source – tribuneindia.com)

  England’s bowlers continued their good form at Edgbaston, limiting South Africa to 198/9 with James Anderson claiming 4/38. Michael Vaughan’s 83 rescued England from 30/3, guiding them to a four-wicket win in the 39th over. Zimbabwe ended their tour with another disappointing seven-wicket loss to South Africa, after Makhaya Ntini’s 4/45 restricted them to 173/8.

  The final was awfully lopsided. South Africa slipped to 43/4 in the 12th over after being put in, and never recovered. The hosts’ pace unit proved to be too much as no batsman managed to reach 20, the final total being 107 in 32.1 overs. England lost Trescothick early, but Solanki’s 50 was enough for a seven-wicket win with 178 balls to spare. Flintoff was named player of the series.


  New Zealand made their first appearance in the tournament while the West Indies returned after four years. The first two ODIs failed to produce a result due to rain, before the first completed match at Trent Bridge saw the Windies – who were later to be whitewashed in the Tests – win in a canter. England slumped from 102/3 to 147 all out, losing by seven wickets with 106 balls to spare.

  England’s batting went from bad to worse in their next game against New Zealand at Chester-le-Street. James Franklin (5/42) and Jacob Oram ran riot, skittling the hosts for just 101. No batsman reached even 15. The Black Caps achieved an easy seven-wicket win in the 18th over. A struggling England then faced the West Indies at Headingley.

  The pace attack rose to the occasion and helped bundle the West Indies out for 159. Marcus Trescothick’s brisk 55 at the top ensured a comfortable seven-wicket win in just 22 overs. The New Zealand bowlers continued to impress at Cardiff, where the West Indies could manage only 216 after being 180/3 at one stage. Brian Lara made 58 while opening the innings.

  New Zealand’s reply revolved around an unbeaten 75 from Hamish Marshall, which guided them to a five-wicket win with four overs to spare. They followed this up with another convincing display at Bristol, defeating England by six wickets. England rode on Andrew Flintoff’s 106 to post 237/7 after having been reduced to 57/3.


     Daniel Vettori starred with a haul of 5/30 in the 2004 NatWest Series final, enabling New Zealand to beat the West Indies by 107 runs (source – stuff.co.nz)

  Captain Stephen Fleming, later named player of the series, starred in the chase, scoring a solid 99 and sharing century stands with Nathan Astle for the first wicket and with Marshall for the second. Though unlucky to miss his century, his effort was enough to seal a six-wicket win in the 48th over and also a spot in the final.

  In a must-win game at Lord’s, England were 54/3 when Flintoff joined Andrew Strauss. They added 226 for the fourth wicket – Flintoff scoring 123 in 104 balls, Strauss 100. The total of 285/7 however did not prove enough as Chris Gayle scored 132*, his second-wicket stand with Ramnaresh Sarwan (89) fetching 187. The target was reached with seven wickets and five balls in the bank.

  New Zealand took on the West Indies in the final. Fleming (67) and Astle (57) put on 120 for the first wicket to lay a strong base. Craig McMillan (52) held the middle order despite the last seven wickets falling for 49; the Black Caps bowled out for 266 in the final over. The Windies suffered a collapse from 98/2 to 159 all out, thanks to Daniel Vettori who spun a web to finish with 5/30.


  The focus in this year was well and truly on the Ashes, but the last edition of the NatWest Tri-Series set the tone for the epic Test series that followed. The tournament featured one of the biggest ODI upsets and the final was a tantalising affair. The presence of lightweights Bangladesh, on their first tour England, added novelty to the summer.

  England proved to be too strong for the Tigers in the opening game at the Oval. Steve Harmison’s 4/39 kept Bangladesh to 190, which was overhauled by openers Trescothick (100*) and Strauss (82*) in less than 25 overs. Bangladesh however were undeterred and went on to script a fairytale against World Cup champions Australia in their next match at Cardiff.

  Australia were reduced to 9/2 before Damien Martyn (77) and Michael Clarke revived the innings. The bowlers kept it tight as Australia were limited to 249/5. Bangladesh began slowly and were struggling at 72/3 in the 21st over when captain Habibul Bashar joined young Mohammad Ashraful. Their 130-run stand turned the game around, with Ashraful going on to reach a memorable 100.


     Mohammad Ashraful celebrates his hundred that helped Bangladesh stun Australia at Cardiff in 2005 (source – foxsports.com.au/news limited)

  Australia were stunned by five wickets with four balls to spare in what was an apt case of Goliath slayed by David. They suffered another defeat the next day at Bristol, where Harmison (5/33) restricted them to 252/9 (Michael Hussey 84). Kevin Pietersen then smashed 91* off 65 balls to pave the way for England’s three-wicket win in the 48th over.

  The next round began with England posting a record 391/4 against Bangladesh at Trent Bridge. Strauss (152) and Paul Collingwood (112*) shared in a 210-run stand for the fourth wicket. Ashraful (94 in 52 balls) tried his best in reply, but England romped to a 168-run win, thanks to Collingwood (6/31) and Chris Tremlett (4/32).

  Under-pressure Australia now faced England at Chester-le-Street. Their total of 266/5 (Andrew Symonds 73) proved to be 57 runs too strong for the hosts, who never recovered from 6/3. Ricky Ponting’s men exacted revenge against Bangladesh too, with a ten-wicket win at Old Trafford thanks to Symonds’ 5/18 that ensured the target was limited to 140.

  England were back in business with a five-wicket win over Bangladesh at Headingley. A total of 208/7 (Flintoff 4/29) was surpassed with ease, with Strauss scoring 98. The third match between England and Australia ended in a no result due to rain before Australia overcame the jitters of 83/3 at Canterbury to go past Bangladesh’s 250/8 and win by six wickets, Clarke scoring 80*.

  The final had plenty of ebbs and flows. Australia raced to 50/0 in seven overs after being put in, before imploding to 93/5. Hussey’s 62* was the only score past 30 as his side were bowled out for 196 in the 49th over, Flintoff and Harmison taking three wickets each. Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee scythed through England’s batting and at 33/5 in the tenth over, it seemed as if the end would be quick.

  Collingwood (53) and Geraint Jones (71) had other ideas, as they brought England back with a 116-run stand for the sixth wicket. The battle entered the last over with England 187/8. With three needed off two balls, McGrath removed Darren Gough before two leg byes were squeezed off the final ball to leave the match tied and the trophy shared. Symonds was named the player of the tournament.

Specials – Best of the Tests : Australia v New Zealand

  The Trans-Tasman Trophy is back after a period of four years as Australia host New Zealand for what promises to be a highly enticing three-Test series starting from 5th November. Adding to the excitement is the fact that the third Test at Adelaide will be the first ever day-night Test match in the history of the game.

  Though Australia have enjoyed a clear edge over the years, winning 27 out of 52 Tests played till date, New Zealand have had their share of landmark moments against them, most notably the twin series successes – both home and away – in the 1985-86 season.

  While the Australians are always a tough nut to crack in home conditions, the Black Caps have not lost a series in the past two and a half years. With just a few days to go before the two evenly-matched sides square up at the Gabba in Brisbane, we go down memory lane to revisit five memorable Test matches contested between the two nations.

2nd Test, Christchurch, 1973-74

  After three defeats and two draws, New Zealand secured their first win over Australia at the multi-purpose Lancaster Park. It also helped them to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Just two months earlier, Australia had defeated New Zealand 2-0 in a home series, also consisting of three matches.

  The Chappell brothers Ian – who was the captain – and Greg were in imperious form coming into this match, both having reeled off twin hundreds in the drawn opening Test at Wellington. But this time, they were sent back quickly thanks to the efforts of Richard Hadlee and skipper Bevan Congdon. Put in to bat after a slight rain delay, the visitors stumbled to 128/5 on the first day.

  Opener Ian Redpath laboured to score 71, which helped Australia end their first innings at 223. Hadlee, Congdon and Richard Collinge all took three wickets each. Glenn Turner and John Parker put on 59 for the first wicket in reply, but the Australian seam bowlers Max Walker and Geoff Dymock chipped away with timely strikes.

  Only Turner batted with the neccessary application, and was unbeaten on 99 when New Zealand ended the second day at 194/5. He reached his hundred the following morning, but was out soon after to Greg Chappell for 101. No other batsman crossed 24. The last five wickets fell for 42 as New Zealand took a narrow lead of 32. Walker bowled well to take 4/60.

  Collinge and Richard Hadlee then jolted Australia’s top order, reducing the score to 33/3. Keith Stackpole and both the Chappells were all dismissed for single figures. Redpath (58) starred again and he added 106 with Ian Davis (50) for the fourth wicket before both fell to Hadlee (4/71) in quick succession. Keith Walters was unbeaten on 52 as Australia finished day three at 211/6.

  As play resumed after the rest day, Richard’s elder brother Dayle Hadlee (4/75) dismissed Walters for 65, an innings that helped the eventual total recover to 259. New Zealand, set a target of 228, were again given a sound start by openers Turner and Parker, who put on 51. However Walker removed Parker and John Morrison to even things out.

  Congdon was soon run out as the score now slipped to a worrisome 62/3. But Turner was in his element and he found able support from Brian Hastings (46). They soothed the nerves of the spectators with a fourth-wicket stand worth 115. As the final day began, New Zealand were 177/4 and on the cusp of victory, with Turner unbeaten on 85.


    Glenn Turner during the Christchurch Test in 1973-74. He scored centuries in both innings to guide New Zealand to their first win against Australia (source – odt.co.nz)

  Turner duly reached his second century of the match, thus becoming the first New Zealander to achieve the feat. He remained unbeaten on a patient 110, batting for more than six hours and facing 355 balls. It was wicketkeeper Ken Wadsworth who hit the winning four off Greg Chappell as New Zealand reached 230/5 to complete a famous win.

3rd Test, Melbourne, 1987-88

  Australia managed to hang on to a 1-0 series victory by the skin of their teeth as the two teams played out an enthralling draw in the Boxing Day Test, the third and final of the series. Allan Border invited the visitors to bat and Tony Dodemaide removed Phil Horne with the score on 32.

  The dependable pair of John Wright and Andrew Jones shared in a second-wicket partnership of 79 before Jones was controversially dismissed for 40. He was out caught behind by Greg Dyer off Craig McDermott, to a catch which was later found to have bounced before being taken. Wright and Martin Crowe further added 68 for the third wicket.

  Wright was agonisingly out for 99, caught behind off McDermott as well. McDermott bowled excellently to add the wickets of Jeff Crowe and Dipak Patel to his tally. New Zealand finished the opening day at 242/5, with Crowe looking assured at 76*. He could however only extend his score to 82, giving McDermott (5/97) his fifth wicket.

  Wicketkeeper Ian Smith, batting at number nine, rallied well with the tail before being last out to Mike Whitney (4/92) for a quickfire 44. New Zealand’s innings terminated at 317. The evergreen Richard Hadlee gave his side the edge as he took the key scalps of David Boon, Geoff Marsh and Dean Jones to reduce the score to 31/3.

  Australia struggled to 121/5 before Steve Waugh and Peter Sleep steered the total to 170 without any further damage at stumps. Waugh failed to add to his overnight score of 55 on the third morning, but Sleep went on to make a career-best score of 90. He and Tony Dodemaide (50) frustrated the Kiwis with a grinding 80-run stand for the eighth wicket.

  Dodemaide and McDermott added a further 61 for the ninth wicket to help Australia into the lead. Australia were all out for 357 at the fag end of the third day, with Hadlee returning 5/109. With a first-innings difference of 40 and two days to go, the match hung in the balance.

  Horne and Wright mopped off the deficit with an opening stand of 73 before they both fell within three runs of each other. Crowe was in an attacking mood and he dominated a third-wicket partnership with Jones worth 82 runs. He eventually fell to Border’s 100th Test catch off Dodemaide for 79 in just under two hours.

  The score motored along to 272/5 before Dodemaide (6/58) inspired a lower-order collapse. New Zealand were bowled out for 286 in the first over of the final day, thereby setting Australia 247 in 92 overs. Boon (54) and Border (43) guided the chase and at 176/4 with 28 overs left, Australia were in the box seat.

  At 209/5, Hadlee (5/67) removed Sleep. At the same score, a settled Mike Veletta fell to John Bracewell for 39. Seven runs later, the tireless Hadlee sent back Dyer. When Dodemaide became Hadlee’s tenth victim of the match, Australia needed 20 with the last wicket and 4.5 overs left. McDermott and Whitney held out amid pure tension as Australia escaped by ending at 230/9.

Only Test, Perth, 1989-90

  The next time the two teams met after the Melbourne draw was in a one-off Test at Perth two years later. It turned out to be another gripping affair. John Wright inserted Australia in, but David Boon and debutant Tom Moody put on 149 for the second wicket after Mark Taylor’s early dismissal.

  Moody fell for a composed 61, which brought captain Allan Border to the middle. Boon and Border put the bowling to the sword as Australia finished the first day at a healthy 296/2, Boon unbeaten on 169. Their third-wicket partnership realised 142 before Border was out for 50. Boon went on to score an exact 200, coming off 326 balls with 28 fours.

  Dean Jones ensured there was no respite for the Kiwi bowlers as he struck 99 from number five. The declaration came at 521/9. Pacemen Danny Morrison and Martin Snedden toiled hard to take four wickets apiece. New Zealand, who were 25/0 overnight, resumed on the third morning with a positive intent.


      Mark Greatbatch scored a marathon 146*, batting for nearly 11 hours to help New Zealand save the Perth Test in 1989-90 (source – gettyimages/ espncricinfo.com)

  Mark Greatbatch (76) and Martin Crowe (62) took the total to a solid 173/2 courtesy a third-wicket alliance of 89, but Merv Hughes’ (4/51) dismissal of Greatbatch sparked a woeful collapse. The last eight wickets could muster just 58 runs between them as New Zealand folded for 231 on the fourth morning, a whopping 290 runs in arrears.

  Border enforced the follow-on and the situation became worse for the visitors. Openers Wright and Bert Vance were both back in the hut with 11 runs on the board. Greatbatch and Crowe added 68 for the third wicket, but New Zealand needed much more if they were to survive. They ended day four at 168/4 with Greatbatch batting resolutely on 69.

  Greatbatch resisted all tempting deliveries but his hard work seemed to have gone in vain when Hughes had Jeff Crowe (49) LBW and Ian Smith caught by Border in successive balls to make the score 189/6. Greatbatch though was concentration personified and battled with determination, reaching his hundred from 341 balls after lunch.

  Greatbatch and Chris Cairns shared 45 runs for the seventh wicket before the latter’s dismissal. At this point, New Zealand were still 56 behind. The gutsy southpaw found an equally obstinate partner in Snedden, and the eighth-wicket pair steadily played out time. At tea, New Zealand were 282/7, now trailing by eight.

  Australia went wicketless in the final session as Greatbatch and Snedden (33* in 142 balls) produced one of the great stonewalling efforts. They added an unbeaten 88 in 48.3 overs and 202 minutes as New Zealand reached 322/7. Greatbatch returned to the pavillion a hero, facing 485 balls for his 146* which took five minutes short of eleven hours.

1st Test, Brisbane, 2001-02

  Steve Waugh’s all-conquering Australians were considered invincible at home, but they found a stiff challenge in the form of Stephen Fleming’s Black Caps who managed to hold them to a 0-0 stalemate in the three-Test series. The closest of the draws came in the opener at the Gabba.

  After being put in to bat, Australian openers Justin Langer (104) and Matthew Hayden (136) piled up a 224-run partnership. However a collapse of 6/39 brought New Zealand right back into the game. Australia ended the first day at 294/6. Rain proceeded to affect each of the next three days.

  Australia bounced back with a rapid 135-run stand for the eighth wicket between Adam Gilchrist and Brett Lee (61). Gilchrist cracked 118 off just 158 balls with 17 fours and a six. Waugh declared at 486/9 on the third day and a draw seemed inevitable. Lee (5/67) and Jason Gillespie reduced New Zealand to 55/4 in reply.

  But Nathan Astle (66) ensured that New Zealand went into the final day at a relatively safer 186/5. He shared in a 95-run stand for the sixth wicket with Chris Cairns, who smote a quick 61 to add to his 5/146. With the follow-on mark overhauled, Fleming came up with a sporting declaration at 287/8 just before lunch.

  Waugh, being the aggressive captain he was, soon announced his own intentions, declaring Australia’s second innings at 84/2, the runs coming in just 14 overs. New Zealand were thus set an alluring 284 runs to win from 57 overs. A dull Test match had suddenly sprung to life in the last two sessions.

  Mark Richardson struck a brisk 57 and shared in a stand of 56 for the second wicket with Matthew Sinclair. Both batsmen fell within the space of a run as New Zealand stumbled to 90/3. Fleming (57) and Astle (49) put the chase back on track with a fourth-wicket partnership of 100 in less than 19 overs.

  Astle’s dismissal brought Cairns to the middle, at which point the requirement was 94 from 83 balls. Fleming was run out soon after, but Cairns charged at the Australians with 43 off 38 balls including two sixes. With 20 needed off 11 balls, Cairns was out caught by Ponting on the boundary off Lee. New Zealand eventually finished at 274/6, just ten short of a stunning victory.

2nd Test, Hobart, 2011-12

zzzzz    Doug Bracewell celebrates a wicket at Hobart in 2011-12 even as David Warner looks on. New Zealand won a thriller by just seven runs (source – pakistantoday.com.pk)

  Ten years after their drawn series against an Australian side at its peak, the Black Caps repeated the result, this time in a two-Test series. Coming into this match at the Bellerive Oval, Australia were favourites to take the rubber after an easy nine-wicket win in the first Test at Brisbane.

  Michael Clarke had no hesitation in putting New Zealand in to bat on a grassy wicket. The hosts’ pace trio of James Pattinson (5/51), Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc destroyed the top order. New Zealand crashed to 60/6 in the first session itself. Dean Brownlie, playing his third Test, stemmed the rot with a gutsy 56 from number six.

  He shepherded the tail and was the only one to cross 20. The innings wound up at 150 before the first day ended prematurely due to rain, Australia being 12/1. The second day was yet again dominated by the bowlers as the Australian batsmen failed to cope up with the pace and swing of the quartet of Chris Martin, Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Doug Bracewell.

  The top and middle order imploded as the score slid to 75/7. Martin, Boult and Bracewell took three wickets each. It took a 56-run stand for the eighth wicket between Siddle (who top-scored with 36) and Pattinson to revive the final total to 136. With New Zealand leading by just 14 runs, the Test was now akin to a second-dig shootout.

  New Zealand lost their top three with 73 on the board in the second innings. However Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson added 66 for the fourth wicket. Another eventful day ended with New Zealand at 139/3. Williamson fell early on the third day, while Taylor went on to score a defiant 56.

  From 171/4, New Zealand regressed to 203/9 before debutant Boult struck a few vital blows to take the total to 226. Pattinson, Siddle and off-spinner Nathan Lyon all chipped in with three wickets, leaving their side with as many as seven sessions to score 241 runs.

  By stumps on the third day, Australian openers Phil Hughes and David Warner cruised to 72/0, thus providing the perfect start to the chase. Warner was in great touch and added a further 50 for the second wicket with Usman Khawaja. At 159/2 and with Warner and Ricky Ponting in the middle, the game was Australia’s to lose.

  However 21-year-old Bracewell, playing only his third Test, proceeded to bowl a game-changing spell. Bracewell (6/40) scalped Ponting, Clarke and Michael Hussey – the latter two in successive balls – even as Warner fought on. Three wickets had fallen for no run and the game was wide open. Except for Warner, no batsman crossed even 23. 

  Another catastrophic slide from 192/5 to 199/9 seemed like the final blow for the hosts. But Warner, who carried his bat in vain for 123 off 170 balls with 14 fours, and Lyon added 34 to ignite hope among the spectators before Bracewell castled Lyon with tea approaching to script a seven-run win for New Zealand – their first against Australia in 19 years.