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Best of the Tests at Seddon Park

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Seddon_Park_New_Zealand_Cricket_GroundThe second and final Test of the ongoing series between New Zealand and England is underway at Hamilton’s Seddon Park, one of the newer Test grounds in New Zealand. Since hosting its first Test in 1990-91, it has witnessed 25 Tests, of which New Zealand have won 12 and lost six, and has also seen the Black Caps’ highest total of 715/6, made against Bangladesh earlier this year. Here is a rewind to five exciting Tests played at the venue.

New Zealand v Pakistan, Only Test, 1992-93

New Zealand started this one-off Test on a bright note – they reduced Pakistan to 12/3 after winning the toss. Skipper Javed Miandad came to the rescue, scoring 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 diligent century from opener Mark Greatbatch. Greatbatch batted for seven hours, making 133 out of a total of 264, and built an opening stand of 108 with Blair Hartland.

The pace duo of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis served an appetiser of what was still to come, sharing seven wickets between them. Danny Morrison (5/41) jolted the Pakistani top order early on the third day, but Inzamam-ul-Haq rose to the challenge with a knock of 75 that uplifted his team from the pits of 39/5. His crucial partnership with Rashid Latif, worth 80 runs for the sixth wicket, carried Pakistan to 174. New Zealand faced a target of 127, with more than two days left.

The chase had a dicey start, as the left-armed Wasim pinched three cheap wickets to leave New Zealand at 39/3. Andrew Jones and Adam Parore battled to take the score to 65/3, before Waqar removed the former. Wasim (5/45) soon sent Parore back, and from that point, it was mayhem, as he and Waqar (5/22) unleashed their combative pace and deadly swing. New Zealand lost their last seven wickets for only 28 runs to collapse to 93 all out. Extras top-scored with 22.

New Zealand v West Indies, First Test, 1999-00

Not even the most optimistic of New Zealand’s supporters would have given their team a chance when the West Indies were cruising at 276/0 on the first day. However, they had reckoned without the visitors’ tendency to implode in remarkable fashion. Brian Lara’s men frustratingly lost all ten wickets for 87 to be dismissed for 365, neutralising the excellent platform provided by the Barbadian opening pair of Sherwin Campbell (170) and left-hander Adrian Griffith (114).

It only got worse in the second innings, as after conceding a narrow lead of 28, the West Indies were blown away by Chris Cairns, who had earlier biffed an entertaining 72 to lend impetus to New Zealand’s total. Cairns bagged 7/27 to finish with 10/100 in the Test – both career-best returns. He got rid of Campbell and Shivnarine Chanderpaul without a run on the board, and went on to condemn the Windies to just 97. New Zealand duly galloped to a nine-wicket victory.

New Zealand v Australia, Third Test, 1999-00

Australia showed why they were the best team in the world with a six-wicket win that sealed a 3-0 sweep of the series in their favour. New Zealand struggled to 53/4 against the pace of Glenn McGrath (4/58) and Brett Lee (5/77) after being put in to bat, before Craig McMillan’s 79 carried the total towards 232. Australia’s start was even worse, as they were left tottering at 29/5 by Shayne O’Connor (5/51) and Cairns. Damien Martyn came out to join Mark Waugh at this crucial stage.

Martyn (89*) added 75 for the sixth wicket with Waugh, followed by 119 for the seventh wicket with Adam Gilchrist (75 in 80 balls). This recovery gave Australia a lead of 20, after which the hosts slipped to 130/6 in their second innings. Cairns’ 71 helped New Zealand reach 229, leaving Australia to chase 210. Southpaw Justin Langer, batting at number three, stole the show with a rollicking 122* from as many balls that took the Baggy Greens to victory early on the fourth day.

New Zealand v India, Second Test, 2002-03

The first Test at Wellington had seen New Zealand prevail by ten wickets on a green, seaming pitch. A similar track was on offer at Seddon Park, and it produced an extraordinarily low-scoring contest. The first day was entirely washed out, and after play commenced late on the second day, Daryll Tuffey (4/12) and Shane Bond (4/39) combined to skittle India out for 99. New Zealand moved to 39/1 in reply, before they endured an incredible meltdown of their own.

The Black Caps lost nine for 55 to be bundled out for 94, with left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan (529) being the wrecker-in-chief. It was for the first time in Test history that both teams were dismissed for less than 100 in their first innings. Tuffey (4/41) and Jacob Oram (4/41) continued the procession in India’s second innings, which terminated at 154 – Rahul Dravid’s 39 was the highest individual score in the Test. The third day’s play saw the fall of a staggering 22 wickets.

Facing a potentially tricky target of 160, New Zealand began the fourth day at 24/0. The Indian bowlers plucked out wickets at regular intervals, and at 105/5, the visitors were in with a shout. Scott Styris and Oram put on 31 for the sixth wicket, before the former fell to off-spinner Harbhajan Singh to add a new twist to the chase. However, Oram kept his nerve in the company of wicketkeeper Robbie Hart, who struck the single that handed New Zealand a four-wicket win.

New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Second Test, 2015-16

Trailing the two-match series 1-0, Sri Lanka put themselves in a position of real strength at the start of the second innings, only to squander it all in manic fashion. A solid fifth-wicket partnership of 138 between captain Angelo Mathews (77) and Milinda Siriwardene (62) propelled Sri Lanka to a competitive 292, after which an exhilarating bowling display from paceman Dushmantha Chameera (5/47), playing his fourth Test, handed the Lions a 55-run lead.

Openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis ran up a stand of 71 to extend the lead to 126, before the former’s dismissal to Doug Bracewell opened the floodgates. In a shocking collapse against the hosts’ pace battery, led by Tim Southee (4/26), Sri Lanka lost all ten wickets for 62 in just 13.5 overs. Chameera (4/68) reduced New Zealand to 11/2 in their chase of 189, but Williamson’s calm 108* guided them to a five-wicket win in the final session of the fourth day.



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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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