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The Test at Sabina Park will be the 43rd clash between West Indies and New Zealand. Abhishek Mukherjee lists the most iconic moments in the history of the clashes.
Australia and England had dominated the world of cricket for long, and even after South Africa had joined the fray the competition looked too limited. West Indies and New Zealand were incorporated at the highest level at roughly the same time, but surprisingly, it took over two decades for them to play against each other.
Here is a list at the top ten iconic moments in the history of West Indies-New Zealand clashes:
1) Dunedin, 1955-56: Welcome for Guillen, Calypso style
The Trinidadian Sammy Guillen had toured New Zealand in 1951-52, and it was love at first sight. He shifted base, and New Zealand included him in the Test at Dunedin despite him not having completed four years of residency. Denis Atkinson and his team did not object, and Guillen took up the big gloves.
When Guillen walked out to bat, there was no sense of hostility among the fielders. What followed, in fact, was magical. Guillen himself recalled: “They all formed a ring, took their caps off and gave me three cheers. I could have been out right there and then, I felt so emotional.”
2) Eden Park, 1955-56: Finally the Kiwis fly
It took them 45 Tests and 26 years, but New Zealand eventually registered their maiden Test win. The great John Reid formed the fulcrum of the first innings, scoring 84 to help his side reach 255. West Indies, in return, were skittled out for 145 by Tony MacGibbon and Harry Cave with four wickets apiece.
Then Guillen came to party, scoring a quickfire 40-minute 41 and helping set a target of 268 despite Denis Atkinson’s seven-wicket haul. The target was gettable for a line-up that boasted of Everton Weekes, Collie Smith, and Garry Sobers, but they never survived Cave’s first spell and were reduced to 22 for six.
Offices were closed and people rushed to Eden Park to witness history being made. There was a fightback of sorts by Weekes and Alfie Binns, but once Weekes fell to a brilliant catch by Noel McGregor West Indies gave in and were bowled out for 77. Guillen performed the final act, stumping Alf Valentine off Cave.
3) Sabina Park, 1971-72: Rowe arrives
Surprisingly, all Tests played between the two teams over the first two decades were on New Zealand soil; when the contest finally moved to Calypso-land, Lawrence Rowe, the local boy, sparkled with scores of 214 and 100 not out in the first Test at Sabina Park. He became the first man to score two hundreds, and remains the only one to score a double-hundred and a hundred — on debut.
While Rowe was plundering runs, Glenn Turner, after scoring 202 against West Indies Board President’s XI, made a sedate 223 out of a team score of 386. It was not a flash-in-the-pan innings; his time will come.
4) Bourda, 1971-72: Turner and Jarvis, Jarvis and Turner
Turner had arrived in Bourda to notch up his third double-hundred of the tour — an emphatic 259 against Guyana. After West Indies declared at 365 for seven in the Test that followed, Turner and Terry Jarvis batted on endlessly in the scorching Guyana heat.. For a whopping nine hours, adding 387 for the opening stand.
Jarvis finally fell for 182 in 555 balls, but there was no stopping Turner. He eventually batted for 704 minutes, faced 759 balls, and carved out yet another 259 at the same ground; he had left field for the first time on the fifth morning, and had dropped on his knees multiple times on the fourth afternoon, but refused to give in. The Test petered out to a draw, but Turner and Jarvis had put up what still remains the fourth-highest opening stand of all time.
5) Dunedin, 1979-80: When Holding couldn’t hold back
Whispering Death meant business that day. Seldom has the noble sport reached a point this low, making it one of the ugliest in its history. Things went to such an extreme that three facts have almost been forgotten:
- Richard Hadlee had demonstrated one of the finest performances of his career (which is saying something) and finished with five for 34 and six for 68. With slight help from the umpires (seven of his wickets were leg-before) he turned out to be the difference between the sides. Seven LBWs against a bowler and 12 LBWs in a Test both remain records.
- Desmond Haynes became the first opener to be dismissed last in an innings twice in a Test, and remains the only one to do so. He scored 55 out of 140 and 105 out of 212; barring Collis King’s 30 in the second innings, no West Indian managed to cross 30.
- New Zealand managed to win the Test by one wicket, and held on to the lead. It remained West Indies’ only series loss in close to two decades.
Let us move on to the action, though. Hadlee’s five wickets included four LBWs, but both Don Cameron, that doyen of New Zealand journalism, and Geoff Howarth, thought they were okay. The West Indians thought that they had played too forward for the umpire to be sure, but they did not really object. The heat was building up, but things had not gone out of control yet.
Hadlee had three more LBWs in the second innings, and New Zealand were left to score a mere 104. The heat was building up. Determined to give it back to the Kiwis, Michael Holding went all-out at them with Colin Croft and Joel Garner. New Zealand were 28 for two when John Parker walked out.
According to Croft, Holding unleashed a ball that “tore the glove off” John Parker’s hands; John Hastie remained unmoved; Holding walked up to the striker’s end; and kicked the stumps out of the ground. It remains one of the most viewed and most iconic photographs of cricket. Croft later said in an interview to ESPNCricinfo: “The photo of (Michael) Holding is the best sports picture I’ve seen. He should have been signed up by Manchester United on the strength of it.”
Clive Lloyd and his side were left fuming, and refused to take field after tea. Upon much coaxing they took field, and Howarth stood his ground to a clear catch off Holding. The Jamaican unleashed four successive bouncers, and play was reduced to a farce as West Indians deliberately dropped catches and escorted ball to the fence. New Zealand ambled home by one wicket in the end.
6) Lancaster Park, 1979-80: Not all good for Goodall
The next Test started with the tourists in a better frame of mind, though one could always sense the heat simmering underneath the tranquil surface. The West Indians had scored 228; during the second session on Day Three and Howarth gloved Holding to Deryck Murray (he later admitted to it), and this time it was Fred Goodall who turned the appeal down.
The West Indians refused to take field after tea that day. It took Howarth to go their dressing-room and promise that their batsmen would walk if they edged anything, and play eventually got underway after 12 minutes of delay. That night the West Indians had packed their bags, ready to leave. It took some effort from Cameron — a much-respected man in the Caribbean — to use all his influence and get things moving. Things, however, deteriorated the next day.
New Zealand were on their way to build up a lead through Jeremy Coney and Hadlee when Croft unleashed a bouncer, and went up in a vociferous appeal as Hadlee hooked and the ball went to Murray (Hadlee later admitted to Goodall that he had nicked it). Goodall turned it down. Croft unleashed a few unprintable words. Goodall wanted to speak to Lloyd, but the West Indian captain refused to move from first slip.
Croft unleashed a bouncer barrage. Goodall no-balled him on the grounds that he was bowling from too wide of the crease. Croft knocked a bail on his way back. Coney picked it up and placed it in its rightful place. Croft walked back to his mark, and ran in.
Then it happened: Croft shoulder-barged into Goodall.
There was a conversation between Lloyd and Croft, but the latter bowled on. He later said: “I did not do it purposely. If Fred Goodall was in Hollywood, he’d have picked up an Oscar. I’m six foot six and 230 pounds. If I’d meant to hit him, he wouldn’t have got up. It’s crap that I barged him deliberately.”
The third Test at Eden Park got underway only after Goodall was withdrawn as an umpire.
7) Basin Reserve, 1994-95: 13 for 55 as Murrays shine
Though on the decline, the West Indians were by no means a pushover, and they lived up to their reputation at Wellington. Six of seven West Indians went past fifties, with Brian Lara and Jimmy Adams piling up big hundreds, and Junior Murray enthralling the audience with a furious assault, scoring 101 not out in 88 balls. West Indies amassed 660 for five.
Then Courtney Walsh took over, and after being a safe 108 for two, they were suddenly up against a rampant Courtney Walsh. Wickets tumbled like ninepins, and the hosts were bowled out for 216. Walsh finished with figures of seven for 37 and asked the New Zealand to bat again.
Still on a high, Walsh took the new ball ahead of Curtly Ambrose and reduced New Zealand to 15 for three. They were bowled out for 122 the next morning with Walsh finishing with six for 18 and match figures of 36-15-55-13; another Murray — Darrin, this time — top-scored in each innings for New Zealand with 52 and 43.
8) Hamilton, 1999-2000: The wonder-collapse
Nothing could have gone wrong for West Indies in the Test as Adrian Griffith and Sherwin Campbell made merry at the expense of the Kiwis, adding 276 runs at more than three runs an over. Then Dion Nash had Campbell caught-behind, and hell broke loose: West Indies lost 20 wickets for 186 runs, being bowled out for 365 and 97.
While it was a three-man show between Nash, Chris Cairns, and Daniel Vettori in the first innings, the second innings was an outstanding solo from Cairns, who returned a haul of seven for 27. Having also scored an 82-ball 72, Cairns pushed New Zealand to an eight-wicket victory.
9) St George’s, 2002: The ODI specialist arrives
For long Scott Styris had been classified as an ODI specialist, but when he was eventually drafted in, there was no stopping him. Making his debut, Styris walked out with West Indies in a spot of bother at 208 for six, and took control of proceedings from thereon despite Craig McMillan’s departure.
With only Robbie Hart, Shane Bond, and Ian Butler for company, Styris scored 107 in 178 balls, lifting New Zealand to 373. Chris Gayle then smashed his way to 204 as West Indies acquired a 97-run lead — though not before Styris had picked up two wickets including the prized scalp of Lara. With the Test still to be saved at 157 for five and close to three hours left, Styris walked out and saw things off, finishing on an unbeaten 69. So much for Test specialists!
10) Eden Park, 2005-06: As close as it gets
It took another Styris hundred for New Zealand to reach 275 after they were 69 for four, but still they managed an 18-run lead. Once again they were in trouble at 146 for seven, but a determined partnership between Brendon McCullum and Vettori saw them post 272.
Chasing 291, Chris Gayle went bonkers with Daren Ganga for company, adding 148 for the opening stands — but the Kiwis, inspired by some hostile bowling from Bond, kept striking back. Bond hit Ramnaresh Sarwan on the helmet, forcing him to retire hurt, and clean bowled Lara in the next. The double-blow dented West Indies sufficiently, and they ended up losing by 27 runs.
The scores, however, were a statistician’s delight: it is not every day that you come across 275, 257, 272, and 263 — a difference of a mere 18 between the highest and the lowest — in a Test.
11) Hamilton, 2013-14: Taylor’s record
There were speculations regarding Ross Taylor’s performance under McCullum’s leadership after the rift between them, but all doubts were cleared when Taylor almost single-handedly defeated West Indies in the home series. The tourists were spared the blushes at Dunedin by Darren Bravo and rain, but were defeated heavily in the next two.
Taylor scored 217 not out and 16 not out at Dunedin; 129 at Basin Reserve; and 131 and two not out at Hamilton. A series tally of 495 runs at 247.50 with three hundreds is not an everyday affair.
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