A test cricket win in India is a rare thing of beauty; so much so that it’s happened twice. And that’s after 31 tests in the Nouveaux hub of world cricket.
There is no other country where New Zealand has won fewer tests.
The first of these was in 1969, when the embryonic nucleus of the squad of the 1970s toured. The likes of Turner, Burgess, Wadsworth, Hedley Howarth and Dayle Hadlee were making their first tours; the last three had made their debut against England earlier in the year. It was a marathon of a multi-layered tour that included England and a first series win in Pakistan, with India in between.
New Zealand had dominated most of the first test in Bombay before succumbing to Bedi and Prasanna in the fourth innings.
A strange thing happened in Nagpur. New Zealand won the toss and they batted. Dowling, Murray, Congdon and Burgess all made strong contributions (NZ made 200 with only 2 down) but it fell away after that. 319 all out.
Bedi took 4/98 off 46 overs which gave an indication of the conditions.
India in reply were chipped away regularly and at one stage were 162/7. The surprise success with the ball was Mark Burgess who ripped out the middle order to end with figures of 3/23.
Plucky stuff from Roy and Engineer saw them get to 257. Still, that was a handy lead for the tourists on a deteriorating pitch. H Howarth 4/66 off 30; a left arm orthodox pitch.
Turner was promoted to #3 in the second innings and anchored it. 57 in 255 minutes must have been riveting viewing but it was as important as those top order innings from the first dig. A 43 run last wicket stand between H Howarth and D Hadlee helped a lot too.
India needed 277 to win.
By that stage the pitch had fallen apart. Burgess ended up bowling more overs that either D Hadlee or Cunis. Howarth took 5/34 off 23, and Pollard 3/21. India was rolled for 109 and New Zealand won by the decent margin of 167 runs. It is not often New Zealand spinners win the match in the fourth innings.
They could have won the series too. In the final test India scored 89 in their first innings and were 76/7 in the final innings before rain, some crowd trouble, and disinterested ground staff ensured the match ended in a draw.