Wednesday, June 19, 2024

MCC: From the archives | England v New Zealand

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Photo Credit: Marylebone Cricket Club

AHEAD OF THE BEGINNING OF THE LV=INSURANCE MEN’S TEST BETWEEN ENGLAND AND NEW ZEALAND AT LORD’S, WE TAKE A LOOK BACK AT SOME CLASSIC TEST MATCH ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN THE TWO SIDES AT THE HOME OF CRICKET. 
THE BEGINNING 

The first Test between England and New Zealand at Lord’s came in the summer of 1931.

A year after gaining Test status, it was the tourists’ first ever away fixture and their historic encounter would eventually conclude in a draw following three days.

England’s Ian Peebles took a five-wicket haul during New Zealand’s first innings score of 224, before centuries from Les Ames and Gubby Allen secured a healthy lead of 230 for the hosts.

However, New Zealand responded well in their second innings and history was made when Stewie Dempster hit a century to become the first Kiwi to make it onto the famous Honours Boards.

Dempster finished with a score of 120, while Curly Page was to join him on the Boards with a total of 104.

England’s final innings total of 240 could not be reached in time, meaning the match concluded in a draw.

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AN AWAY CONQUEST

It took until 1999 for New Zealand to achieve their first ever victory at Lord’s, winning by nine wickets

It was a match that saw Chris Cairns stun the hosts in their first innings, taking a memorable six-wicket haul.

The visitor’s opener Matt Horne scored a century in response to England’s first innings total of just 186 before New Zealand bowled England out in their second innings, which set a target of 58 runs for victory, achieved within 23 overs.

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THE PERFECT WAY TO SAY GOODBYE

In the summer of 2004, England’s seven-wicket victory over New Zealand was one of the more dramatic Test matches ever played at this famous Ground.

Following an injury to Michael Vaughan in the warm-up, there was a debut given to Andrew Strauss,  who seized his opportunity to great effect, becoming only the fourth player after Australian Harry Graham (in 1893), England’s John Hampshire (1969) and India’s Sourav Ganguly (1996) to score a Test century on debut at the Home of Cricket.

While Strauss (his match-worn shirt from the Test now in the MCC Museum, below) was representing a new period of English cricket, someone who played a key role in revitalising its Test team was to play his final match in the format.

A Mark Richardson hundred for New Zealand prompted a target of 282 for England and with time running out, Nasser Hussain was to say goodbye with a high-class and emotional innings.

Not only did Hussain carry his bat with an unbeaten score of 103*, it was also his final runs in Test cricket that sealed victory for his side in an unforgettable encounter.

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BROAD BRILLANCE

The 2013 Test between the two sides produced some of the best bowling performances ever seen at Lord’s.

A good start, noticeably Tim Southee (his shirt in the MCC Museum, below) with four wickets, by New Zealand’s bowlers saw England score a modest total of 232 in their first innings.

James Anderson’s five-wicket haul reduced New Zealand to 207 in response but Southee again displayed his class with a further six wickets in England’s second innings as the hosts set a target of 239.

However, having seen his bowling partner dominate in the first innings, Stuart Broad stepped up for his team with a spell of fantastic swing bowling.

Broad ended the innings with figures of 7 for 44, single-handedly reducing the Kiwis to 21 for 4 at one stage, before they were bowled out for 68 in only 135 deliveries, sealing victory for England by 170 runs.

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THE GREATEST TEST?

New Zealand arrived in England in the spring of 2015 with a reputation as a difficult side to beat in the previous 12 months.

Key batter Kane Williamson had scored more than 1,000 runs at 89 over eight Tests coming it into the fixture and it was the current New Zealand men’s captain whose innings of 132 gave the Kiwis what looked like an overwhelming first innings lead of 134.

England slumped to 30 for 4 on the first morning before a blistering counter-attack from Ben Stokes, ably supported by Joe Root, got the hosts back in the game. Both fell in the 90s, with Trent Boult taking a five-wicket haul for the visitors.

New Zealand had an opening stand of 148 to build their reply on, and Williamson took full advantage, facing 262 balls over more than six hours. When he fell, BJ Watling held the tail together with an unbeaten 61 as New Zealand built a formidable lead.

Two telling second innings contributions swung the game back in England’s favour. Alastair Cook batted exactly nine hours for 162, and after a fine 84 from Root wiped out the deficit, Stokes joined his skipper and crashed 101 from 92 balls, including 15 fours and three sixes.

It was the fastest Test hundred ever scored at Lord’s, with Stokes reaching three figures from his 85th ball. Unexpectedly after their first innings advantage, New Zealand were set 345 to win on the final morning.

Who else would it be but Stokes to make the telling contribution, claiming the key wickets of Williamson and skipper Brendon McCullum on his way to 3 for 38. New Zealand fell 124 runs short, but the match aggregate of 1,610 runs was the highest ever in a Lord’s Test.

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DEBUTANT DELIGHT 

Following a year’s absence of International cricket in 2020 at Lord’s due to the COVID-19 pandemic, England faced New Zealand in-front of a limited crowd in the summer of 2021 but it was a fixture that still produced moments that will remain in the history of the Ground.

The most notable was the performance of New Zealand opener, Devon Conway.

Conway (match-worn gloves in the MCC Museum, below) reached three figures on the first occasion that they walked out through the Long Room in a Test. He also became the 12th New Zealander to make a century on Test debut.

Conway went to his century at Lord’s, in 163 balls and hit 11 fours before his double-ton came from 347 deliveries. It was the first time a Test debutant had hit a double-century at this famous Ground.

Rory Burns hit his first hundred at the Home of Cricket in response for England, but Kiwi seamer Tim Southee was to also make another appearance on the Honours Boards, taking a six-wicket haul.

Rain prevented a real opportunity of a result with England managing to bat out the final few hours of the Test as it concluded in a draw.

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