First Test Match

New Zealand v Australia

Nothing in the series compared, for range and mastery of strokes, with the century Greg Chappell made after Australia had won first use of a dormant pitch.

New Zealand gained two early successes and then the Chappells took command. A very strong wind blowing down the ground posed problems in the management of the attack, but Greg Chappell, in particular, looked capable of thrashing a Lindwall or a Larwood. Elegant, imperious, he was hardly ever in any sort of difficulty, and Ian Chappell matched him in power of stroke.

They scored 264 for the third wicket; Ian Chappell reached his century in four hours, seven minutes off 207 balls and Greg Chappell in two hours, thirty-five minutes, off 160 balls. It needed a remarkable running catch by the wicket-keeper, Wadsworth, to dismiss Ian Chappell.

Next day Australia went on to 511 for six wickets, Greg Chappell making 247 not out in just short of six hours, with one 6 and thirty 4's. So the Chappells accounted for 392 of the 491 runs from the bat. Australia batted 485 minutes and of the New Zealand bowlers, only Hadlee commanded much respect.

New Zealand also made very good use of ideal batting conditions. Turner and Morrison scored 108 for the second wicket and by the end of the second day New Zealand were 161 for two.

Play on the third day did not begin until 1.15 p.m. because of heavy overnight rain, and in bitter cold Congdon and Hastings applied themselves earnestly so that only one wicket was lost before bad light ended play fifteen minutes early.

Congdon received a life at 48; it was a grim battle although each batsman now and then produced handsome strokes. Congdon reached his sixth Test century in four and three-quarter hours off 252 balls, and on the fourth day, one of warm sunshine, Hastings went to his hundred in nearly the same time off 267 balls. Their stand of 229 beat their New Zealand fourth-wicket record set at Georgetown in 1972 and it was the third highest in Tests for any wicket by New Zealand.

Once the stand was broken Australia regained full control, the last six wickets falling for 86, and of those 47 came from a last-wicket stand by Howarth and Webb. Australia led by 27 and scored 86 for one by the end of the day. They made no attempt to win the match on the final day, and they could be forgiven, for the pitch remained full of runs.

Redpath and Ian Chappell put on 141 runs for the second wicket and Australia were 240 ahead at lunch. Ian Chappell's century took just over three hours, his third successive tour hundred. Australia scored their third hundred in an hour.

Greg Chappell was again in absolute control and giving a superb display made his hundred in two hours, twenty-four minutes. The Chappells put on only 86 this time, but they were together only forty-four minutes. The Australians kept batting until play was given up half an hour early. The match total of 1,455 was a record for a Test in New Zealand; the Chappell brothers scored 646, for three dismissals.

© John Wisden & Co