After a 31 year break South Africa returned to New Zealand. It was for a one-off test, the highlight of New Zealand’s centenary celebrations. That summer, however, had been dominated by drug-smoking on South Africa, three players being suspended, the coach getting sacked, a record loss to the West Indies, the first loss at home to Sri Lanka and an ODI side featuring Roydon Hayes.
A lot of the pre-match talk was around whether Martin Crowe could notch up a century against all test nations. It was being played at Eden Park so New Zealand played two spinners, the dream duo of Matthew Hart and Dipak Patel.
They ended up with three wickets between them.
This was one of those tests where New Zealand had the edge for the first three days before that Day Four crash took hold. At the end of Day Three they were 22 runs ahead with three wickets in hand.
They lost by 93 runs and Hanse Cronje was Man of the Match. As Widen put it:
“Cronje’s tempting declaration 15 minutes before lunch on the fifth day left New Zealand 275 to win in 63 overs and enough time to get themselves out. The hosts, in the middle of what was proving to be a disastrous centenary season, duly obliged, losing their last seven wickets after tea in less than 28 overs.”
Crowe scored 16(103) in the first innings. He wanted it.
Partying like it was 1999
Except there wasn’t much partying in a series when glued together pitches were all the rage.
This was the series where Dion Nash was captain. The first test is most remembered for the 101 minute 10th wicket partnership between Chris Harris and Geoff Allott. What isn’t remembered so much, but should be, is that Chris Harris was batting at Number Five.
Meanwhile Daryll Cullinan made 275* and Matt Horne had a decent double.
In the second test at Lancaster Park South Africa lost one wicket. In the entire test. There was an unbeaten 315 run for the second wicket, and it rained a lot.
The final test was at the Basin. New Zealand batted first. There were twin 68s from Gary Stead and Chris Harris (what a series) yet the home side was all out for 222. That sentence says it all.
Vettori ended up bowling 54 overs in the first innings, and guess what; centuries to Gibbs and Cullinan.