NEW ZEALAND v ENGLAND - The 1990s
by Lynn McConnell
Graham Gooch led a strong England team to New Zealand in what was also a lead-up series to the 1992 World Cup for both teams.
New Zealand was still building its team in the immediate post-Hadlee, Chatfield, Snedden and Bracewell era with Danny Morrison the senior member of the pace attack which was bolstered by Chris Cairns and Chris Pringle.
In the first Test at Lancaster Park in Christchurch, New Zealand captain Martin Crowe decided to ask England to bat first, but in doing so he read too much into the greenish-looking pitch which soon settled into a fine run-making track.
England scored 580 thanks to Alec Stewart's 148 and a middle-order supporting cast most teams would die for. The batting list read Graeme Hick (35), Robin Smith (96), Allan Lamb (93), Jack Russell (36), Dermot Reeve (59), Chris Lewis (70).
New Zealand were dismissed for 312 as they struggled to cope with left-arm spinner Phil Tufnell's flight, while Dipak Patel struggled with an attempted third run which saw him short of his ground on 99. Unfortunately for New Zealand it wasn't to be its last 99 of the game.
John Wright was out stumped when charging Tufnell on that score as the Englishman picked up seven for 47 as New Zealand were all out for 264, losing eight wickets in the last session which came to an inglorious end when Martin Crowe was caught out attempting a four which would have made the game a draw, coming as it did within 10 minutes of stumps. Instead New Zealand lost by an innings and four runs.
England were put in again in the second Test and were much better dealt with by the New Zealand attack. They were dismissed for 203 with Chris Cairns taking six for 52. However, New Zealand did even worse being dismissed for 142 as Chris Lewis picked up five for 31. Gooch ensured a handy lead for England with 114 before he was run out while Lamb's 60 provided substance down the order.
New Zealand faced a target of 383 but were three wickets down for seven runs and while Crowe scored 56 the innings never recovered and New Zealand were all out for 214, a loss by 168 runs.
At the Basin Reserve for the third Test, Stewart scored his second century of the series with 107 after England chose to bat first. England scored 305 to which New Zealand, led by Wright and Andrew Jones who added 241 runs for the second wicket while scoring 116 and 143 respectively, replied with 432.
England scored 359/7 before declaring, with Lamb scoring 143 and Smith 76. There was no time left for New Zealand to chase a total and the last hour of the game was remembered mainly for the horrific knee injury suffered by fast bowler David Lawrence who had to be stretchered from the ground.
The visit by Michael Atherton's team was keenly awaited after New Zealand's structural change at administration level, the appointment of Australian coach Steve Rixon, the obvious development of the home side for the 1996 World Cup and West Indies tour, and the 1-1 series played out in Pakistan earlier in the summer.
Stephen Fleming marked the first Test match by scoring his maiden Test century after England asked New Zealand to bat first. Earlier, Blair Pocock scored a pain-staking 70 while Chris Cairns hit 67 down the order. New Zealand's 390 was soon played out of the game as England scored 521.
Atherton and Alec Stewart scored 182 for the second wicket with Stewart going on to score 173. Atherton was out for 83 while down the order Graham Thorpe score 119 and Dominic Cork hit 59.
New Zealand's second innings threatened to run off the rails as eight wickets fell for 105. New Zealand needed 131 to make England bat again, and it was only some lower order blasting by Simon Doull that carried New Zealand past that target that avoided an innings defeat.
However, Nathan Astle, who had not been renowned for playing defensive innings but who had back-to-back centuries against the West Indies in the previous season, came to the fore in an outstanding last wicket partnership with Danny Morrison for 108 unbeaten runs.
Astle was not out on 102 and Morrison on 14, having survived 133 balls and 165 minutes at the crease to deny England a victory.
Sadly for Morrison it was to be his last act in Test cricket as he was dropped for the second Test.
The New Zealand selectors broke with tradition for the second Test and named left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori in their side for the second Test at the Basin Reserve and after an outstanding effort for the New Zealand A team which beat England at Wanganui, Geoff Allott was named in the side.
But a miserable first innings effort on a rain-affected first day in Wellington marred the game. New Zealand slumped to 56/6 as Andrew Caddick (4/45) and Darren Gough (5/40) got among the home batsmen as the side was all out for 124, a score that could have been considerably worse had it not been for Dipak Patel's 45.
Graham Thorpe scored his second century of the series with 108 which was well supported by Stewart's 52, Nasser Hussain's 64 and John Crawley's 56 as England made 383. Doull picked up five for 75 and Vettori, who became New Zealand's youngest Test player in the game, took two for 98.
Despite an opening stand of 89 by Bryan Young and Blair Pocock, New Zealand slumped at the hands of Robert Croft and three wickets fell with the score on 125. Gough also got among the batsmen and took four for 52 and New Zealand were all out for 191, a defeat by an innings and 68 runs.
More changes followed for the third Test with Stephen Fleming being appointed captain with Lee Germon controversially replaced while Heath Davis was recalled to the side and Matt Horne made his debut.
New Zealand produced a much better all-round batting effort when being asked to bat first and while no-one dominated, Fleming scored 62, Adam Parore 59 and Cairns 57. Horne scored 42 as New Zealand reached 346. England benefited from an unbeaten 94 by Atherton who carried his bat in the total of 228. Allott took four for 74.
New Zealand then failed to build a position of impregnability and were all out for 186 with Young (49) and Cairns (52) making the only reasonable scores.
The stage was still set for an interesting finale to the game as England needed to score 306 for victory. At 231/6 it was in trouble but a fine innings of 118 by Atherton had given Crawley and Cork the sort of example England needed and they saw the side home for a four wicket win.