Dream debuts for Allom and Southee, Broad's patience, Astle's blitz, and Hadlee has the last laugh.
New Zealand and England have played 101 Tests so far against each other. Of that, New Zealand have only nine wins, losing 48 times to England, while 44 of them finished in a draw.
As New Zealand are set to host England for a two-match Test series, let’s take a look at some of the statistical quirks from their previous Test encounters.
1929/30: Maurice Allom’s dream debut against New Zealand
In the 1929/30 season, there was the rare instance of England playing two Test series simultaneously on different continents. While Freddie Calthorpe led one England side in the Caribbean, Harold Gilligan led another in New Zealand. It was on this tour that 23-year-old Maurice Allom was given a Test debut in Christchurch. In his eighth over, Stewie Dempster was bowled by the second ball; Tom Lowry was lbw to the fourth; Ken James was caught by wicketkeeper Tich Cornford from the fifth and the sixth ball bowled Ted Badcock, giving Allom a hat-trick and four wickets in five balls – the first of only three bowlers to achieve that latter feat.
List of players who took four wickets in five balls in a Test on debut
Fred Titmus emulated Allom’s feat of taking four wickets in an over, but missed out on a hat-trick in the 1965 Leeds Test. He removed Bryan Yuile, Bruce Taylor, Dick Motz and Richard Collinge from the first, third, fourth and sixth balls of an over.
1932/33: Wally’s tally and an incredible average
Wally Hammond was in imperious form on England’s 1932/33 tour of New Zealand. Following swiftly on from the ‘Bodyline’ tour of Australia, he struck 227 in the first Test in Christchurch braving a knee infection, and then followed up with an unbeaten 336 in the second Test in Auckland. That innings was a new record individual score for Test cricket, beating Don Bradman’s 334 in Leeds in 1930. His triple century took just 288 minutes which remains a record for Test cricket, and his ten sixes set a record that stood for 63 years. Hammond ended the series with an average of 563 – another record.
1965: When it rained fours and sixes from John Edrich’s bat
Only one batsman has struck more than fifty fours in an innings. John Edrich of England hit 52 fours in his unbeaten 310 against New Zealand in Leeds in 1965. His innings was also studded with five sixes. He made 238 of his runs just from boundaries – also a Test record that still stands.
Most boundaries in an innings by a player
Hot and cold fact: In that same series, on the second day of the Edgbaston Test, the maximum temperature was just 9°C and hot drinks were brought out to the players during breaks.
1986: When Richard Hadlee had the last laugh
In 1986 England’s Graham Gooch infamously described the New Zealand bowling attack as like the World XI at one end and Ilford Second XI at the other. However, Richard Hadlee and his colleagues had the last laugh, as they won the three-match series 1-0 and so Gooch had to eat his words.
Wicket-keepers’ tale: That same year England’s first-choice wicket-keeper Bruce French was concussed after being struck by a Hadlee delivery on the back of the head during the Lord’s Test. When New Zealand came to bat, Bill Athey started behind the stumps before England’s former wicket-keeper Bob Taylor was summoned from a hospitality marquee to keep wicket. He was flawless before making way for another substitute – Hampshire’s Bobby Parks – the fourth wicket-keeper of the innings.
1992: Cricket can wait when the earth quakes
A minor earthquake in New Zealand’s first innings caused a four-minute delay in play in the February 1992 Wellington Test between the sides. Another similar instance was back in November 1937 when the second day of the first unofficial Test between Lord Tennyson's XI and India in Lahore was delayed when the ground was rocked for 90 seconds by an earthquake and play was stopped for two minutes. Fortunately, neither were as severe as the Loma Prieta earthquake, which occurred just before the start of Game 3 of the 1989 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics.
1999: Alex Tudor’s 99* in the year ‘99
At Edgbaston in 1999 England were set 208 to win and at the end of the second day were 3/1 with Alec Stewart dismissed early and Alex Tudor sent in as nightwatchman. The next day he carried on untroubled and when England needed four runs to win, Tudor was on 95. He swung hard, hoping to win the match with a six but top-edged a four. Graham Thorpe promptly hit the winning boundary and so Tudor ended as the only Test cricketer with a highest score of 99 not out
2002: When a Nathan Astle blitz raised hope
Fast though Hammond was, arguably no Test innings has come close to the ferocity unleashed by Nathan Astle in Christchurch in 2002. Chasing 550 to win, he reached his century from just 114 deliveries, but wickets kept falling at the other end. With the score 333/9, last man Chris Cairns strode to the crease, his entry delayed due to a knee injury. Astle then shifted gears dramatically, reaching his double century from 153 balls, with the second hundred taking just 39 balls. Eventually he edged Matthew Hoggard to the keeper on 222 and New Zealand’s innings ended on 451.
2008: Tim Southee’s debut fifty in boundaries
Tim Southee is now best known as an excellent swing bowler, but he made headlines with both bat and ball on his Test debut in Napier in 2008. He took 5/55 in England’s first innings and found himself at the crease with his side struggling on 329/8, chasing 553 in the fourth innings. He reached his fifty with his seventh six to go with two fours – 50 runs in boundaries – the only half-century in Test history reached with that many runs in boundaries. He hit two more sixes to reach 77 not out before his last-wicket partner Chris Martin was dismissed
2013: Stuart Broad’s test of patience
In Auckland in 2013, England found themselves blocking to try to save the match – and the series. With the score reading 237/7, Stuart Broad joined Matt Prior at the crease with 32.3 overs left. Broad finally got off the mark on his 62nd delivery, which took him 103 minutes, the longest any batsman has taken to score his first run in all first-class cricket, and England subsequently went on to save the game.
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