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New Zealand's past successes on Asian soil


New_Zealand_Asia_Test_CricketA dramatic turnaround at Abu Dhabi saw New Zealand snatch an incredible four-run victory in the first Test against Pakistan, giving them a rare moment of success in a Test played in Asia. More often than not, New Zealand have found the going tough in similar conditions – the Abu Dhabi win was only their 13th win in 80 Test matches in Asia. Needless to say, most of these wins have been special, and rank among the finest in the country’s cricketing history.

Here is a look back in time at eight of the most memorable instances when New Zealand prevailed on Asian soil.

Beat India by 167 runs, Second Test, Nagpur, 1969-70

New Zealand bounced back from a 60-run defeat in the first Test at Bombay to register their maiden win in the subcontinent. Mark Burgess (89), captain Graham Dowling (69) and Bevan Congdon (64) carried the visitors to 319, before left-arm spinner Hedley Howarth (4/66) helped give them a handy lead of 62. India were ultimately set 277 for victory, which proved to be an arduous task against Howarth, who captured another 5/34 to condemn the hosts to a measly 109.

Beat Pakistan by five wickets, Second Test, Lahore, 1969-70

Less than a month after the Nagpur win, New Zealand found further success in the subcontinent. The teams arrived in Lahore with the three-match series locked at 0-0, and it was New Zealand who drew first blood, skittling Pakistan out for 114 on the first day. Howarth and off-spinner Vic Pollard took three wickets apiece. A third-wicket stand of 101 between opener Bruce Murray (90) and Brian Hastings (80*) then put New Zealand firmly ahead, with the score reading 162/2.

Left-arm spinner Parvez Sajjad (7/74) induced a collapse, but New Zealand still gained a lead of 127. Despite Shafqat Rana’s 95, Pakistan could only set a target of 82. The chase wobbled at the start, with the score reduced to 29/3, before Burgess took charge. He remained unbeaten on 29 to see New Zealand home by five wickets, a win that eventually led to a 1-0 series triumph. This was New Zealand’s first ever Test series win, in what was their 31st series in a span of 40 years.

Beat India by 136 runs, Second Test, Bombay, 1988-89

This famous win at the Wankhede Stadium enabled New Zealand to stay alive in the three-match rubber. The first day saw New Zealand stumble to 158/8, before John Bracewell led the comeback, scoring 52 and putting on 76 for the ninth wicket with Danny Morrison. This effort lifted New Zealand to a fighting 236. The evergreen Richard Hadlee built on the momentum, taking 6/49 to neutralise opener Kris Srikkanth’s rapid 94 and hand his team a lead of two runs.

With the Test on a knife’s edge, Andrew Jones produced a resolute 78 from number three to drive New Zealand to 163/3. But his dismissal triggered an implosion that sent the score to 181/8. To India’s frustration, wicketkeeper Ian Smith (54) combined with Bracewell for a ninth-wicket stand of 69, which swelled the total to 279. The Indian batsmen succumbed to Hadlee (4/39, completing 10/88 in the match) and the off-spin of Bracewell (6/51) in their chase of 282.

Beat Pakistan by 44 runs, First Test, Lahore, 1996-97

With this win, New Zealand ended a barren run of 15 winless Tests – eight defeats and seven draws – over a two-year period. Lee Germon called correctly, but his team’s batsmen could not cope with the low bounce of the pitch. New Zealand slid to 83/6, before reaching 155. However, medium pacer Simon Doull (5/46) brought New Zealand back in the contest, reducing the hosts to 37/5. Revival came in the form of Moin Khan (59), who ensured a 36-run lead for Pakistan.

New Zealand then struggled to 101/5 in the second innings, at which point Chris Cairns joined Stephen Fleming. The duo put on 141 to turn the game around, Fleming scoring 92* and Cairns a blazing 93. Ahmed snared 6/84 to return 10/143 in the match. Chasing 276, Pakistan crashed to 60/6, before debutant Mohammad Wasim struck 109*. He lacked support though, and Pakistan were bowled out for 231. Offie Dipak Patel took 4/36, while Doull ended with 8/85 in the match.

Beat Sri Lanka by 167 runs, First Test, Colombo, 1998

New Zealand took a surprise lead in the three-Test series at the Premadasa Stadium. They mustered 305 after electing to bat, thanks to captain Fleming (78) and wicketkeeper Adam Parore (67). Sri Lanka replied with 285. Fleming starred in the second dig as well, this time scoring 174*. His fourth-wicket alliance of 240 with Craig McMillan (142) led to a declaration at 444/6. Debutant off-spinner Paul Wiseman (5/82) did the rest, as Sri Lanka were all out for 297.

Beat Bangladesh by three wickets, First Test, Chittagong, 2008-09

Captain Daniel Vettori took 5/59 to restrict Bangladesh to 245, but Shakib Al Hasan, like Vettori a left-arm spinner, gave his side a lead of 71 with a career-best 7/36. Shakib then scored 71 out of 242, with Vettori taking another 4/74. Opener Aaron Redmond’s 79 began New Zealand’s chase of 314 solidly, before Vettori, who had scored 55* in the first innings, capped a fine all-round show with 76 from number four. He was sixth out at 298, but had done enough for a hard-fought win.

Beat Sri Lanka by 167 runs, Second Test, Colombo, 2012-13

Under pressure to retain his captaincy, Ross Taylor responded with a gutsy 142 after deciding to bat at the P. Sara Oval. His third-wicket stand of 262 with Kane Williamson (135) rescued New Zealand from 14/2 and steered them to 412. Pacers Tim Southee (5/62) and Trent Boult (4/42) consolidated the position, delivering a lead of 168. Taylor further scored 74 in the second innings to help set Sri Lanka 363. The hosts fell to 63/5 and crumbled for 195, leaving the series drawn.

Beat Pakistan by an innings and 80 runs, Third Test, Sharjah, 2014-15

Opener Mohammad Hafeez’s 197 seemed set to power Pakistan to a massive total, but off-spinner Mark Craig (7/94) put the brakes on the innings, which nosedived from 311/4 to 351 all out. Captain Brendon McCullum stole the show thereafter, smashing one of the most destructive double hundreds in Test history. His cracking 202 took just 188 balls, and featured 21 fours and 11 sixes. He put on 297 for the second wicket with Williamson, who himself struck a stylish 192.

Four more fifty-plus scores down the order, including 65 from Craig, contributed towards a mammoth 690, New Zealand’s highest ever Test total. Needing 339 just to make New Zealand bat again, a beleaguered Pakistan were left tottering at 36/4 courtesy of Boult (4/38). Asad Shafiq, with a counterattacking 137, was the only batsman to show fight. The innings wound up at 259, thereby giving New Zealand a share of the series. Craig returned match figures of 10/203.

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Rustom Deboo is a cricket aficionado and freelance writer from Mumbai. He is an ardent devotee of T...

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