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Danny Morrison inspires New Zealand’s victory over Australia with spell of 6 for 37

    Danny Morrison bowled incisively against Australia at Auckland in 1993 © Getty Images (File Photo)
Danny Morrison bowled incisively against Australia at Auckland in 1993 © Getty Images (File Photo)

On March 12, 1993, Danny Morrison produced figures of six for 37 to bowl Australia out for 139 at Auckland. That laid the foundation for a memorable victory, as New Zealand took another 18 years to beat their trans-Tasman rivals in a Test again. Nishad Pai Vaidya looks back at the contest.

New Zealand cricketers tend to produce some of their best cricket in two important scenarios. In world tournaments, they make it to the semi-finals, more often than not, recording some inspiring performances along the way. But, against their trans-Tasman neighbors, they have shared this unique rivalry — one that has spread across sporting fields. In cricket, Australia may have been the more superior side, but the old rivalry tends to motivate the Kiwis and play on a different plane. On March 12, 1993, Danny Morrison produced figures of six for 37 to bowl Australia out for 139 at Auckland and script a victory.

The stage was set for the third Test at Auckland on March 12. Australia had won the first Test by an innings and 60 runs and had drawn the second game. The third Test was John Wright, the left-handed opening batsman’s last game and there was a sense in New Zealand dressing room to help him bow out on a high.

Australia won the toss and elected to bat at Auckland in overcast conditions. David Boon and Mark Taylor opened the batting and started off solidly. They took the score to 38, before Willie Watson dismissed Boon leg-before for 20. Then Morrison got into the act! He had Taylor dismissed leg-before for 13. Then Justin Langer edged one to the wicketkeeper Tony Blain for a duck. From 38 for no loss, Australia had slipped to 39 for three.

Damien Martyn and Steve Waugh were now in the centre with three wickets down in no time. Matryn lasted 18 balls for his single, before Watson had him caught behind by Blain with the score reading 43. Until then, Morrison and Watson had shared the spoils in the Australian innings. But, that is where Morrison surged ahead to take total control of the Australian innings.

Allan Border, who had surpassed Sunil Gavaskar in the months leading up to the series to become Test cricket’s leading run-scorer, faced 11 deliveries before Morrison induced an edge from him as well. Five runs later, Ian Healy offered a catch to Andrew Jones. Australia had now slipped to 48 for six. From there onwards, Merv Hughes gave good support to Waugh. They scored 53 runs in tandem, taking Australia past 100.

Waugh was combative in those tough conditions, scoring 41 off 77 with seven fours. Hughes was even faster, smashing 33 off 39 with four fours and one six. But, with the score on 101, Morrison caught him off Dipak Patel’s bowling. Waugh’s resistance ended when Watson had him caught by Jones.

Morrison then returned to take his fifth wicket by getting Paul Reiffel, and then finished the innings by bowling Craig McDermott. Australia were bowled out for 139 and Morrison’s figures of six for 37 had done the trick. At the other end, Watson had given him strong support with three for 47.

What happened next?

—   New Zealand scored 224 and then bowled Australia for 285. Morrison took one wicket in the second innings and spinner Patel was the star with a five-for.

—   New Zealand chased down a target of 201 with Ken Rutherford scoring an unbeaten 53. Wright bowed out of Test cricket with 33.

—   New Zealand had to wait until 2011 to beat Australia in a Test match again when they clinched a thriller at Hobart.

Brief scores:

Australia 139 (Steve Waugh 44, Merv Hughes 33; Danny Morrison 6 for 37, Willie Watson 3 for 47) and 285 (David Boon 53, Damien Martyn 74, Allan Border 71; Dipak Patel 5 for 93, Willie Watson 3 for 43) lost to New Zealand 224 (Ken Rutherford 43; Merv Hughes 3 for 67, Shane Warne 4 for 8) and 201 for 5 (Ken Rutherford 53*; Shane Warne 2 for 54) by 5 wickets.

Man of the Match: Ken Rutherford and Danny Morrison.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)

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