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India vs New Zealand | From Wadekar & Prasanna in 1968 to Gambhir and Harbhajan in 2009 - India's Test History in NZ

India have had some memorable results and performances in New Zealand over the years. We look back and trace their Test history in the country.

Nikhil Narain |February 20, 2020, 8:35 AM IST
India vs New Zealand | From Wadekar & Prasanna in 1968 to Gambhir and Harbhajan in 2009 - India's Test History in NZ

India have won 5, lost 8 and drawn 10 of the 23 Tests they have played in New Zealand. In terms of series played, they have won 2, lost 5 and drawn 2 of the 9 series they have played there.

After sweeping the T20I series 5-0, India were swept aside 3-0 in the ODIs in their ongoing tour in New Zealand. This has added that extra bit of edge going into the two-match series which gets underway at the Basin Reserve from Friday.

India have had some memorable results and performances in New Zealand over the years. We look back and trace their Test history in the country.

INDIA IN NZ TEST HISTORY

THE FIRST MATCH AND SERIES WIN

Feb 15-20, 1968, Dunedin: India were being led in their first series in New Zealand by the great Tiger Pataudi. New Zealand put up 350 in the first innings of the series opener at Dunedin. Abid Ali picked 4 wickets for India. The visitors, in reply, courtesy half-centuries by Farokh Engineer and Ajit Wadekar and double-digit contributions by every one in the team, posted 359.

Erapalli Prasanna, then ran through the New Zealand batting line-up in the second innings and picked 6 wickets in his 40 overs. The home team was bowled out for 208 setting India a stiff 200.

India lost their openers early in the chase but Wadekar recorded his second fifty of the match (71) and stitched a match-winning 103-run stand for the third-wicket with Rusi Surti (44). India won a historic Test by 5 wickets.

It was their first Test win away from India (in any country).

New Zealand came back strongly to win the second Test in Christchurch.

Prasanna again starred with the ball and picked a fifer in the first innings of the third Test at Wellington. After bowling out the hosts for 186, India amassed 327 mainly through a superlative performance from Wadekar (143). Bapu Nadkarni picked 6 as New Zealand were bowled out for 199 and India romped home to a comprehensive 8 wicket victory.

India could now smell a famous series win and they dominated the last Test at Auckland. Forties in both innings by Engineer, fifties by Pataudi and Borde and a 99 by Surti in the second innings coupled with the magic of Prasanna (8 wickets in the match) handed the visitors a thumping 272 run victory.

This was a landmark series win for India. It spurred them to more success away from home and they registered historic series wins in both the Caribbean and in England in 1971.

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THE 1976 DRAWN SERIES

Bhagwath Chandrasekhar and Prasanna picked 6-94 and 8-76 and skipper, Sunil Gavaskar and the debutant, Surinder Amarnath registered hundreds as India won the 1976 series opener in Auckland by 8 wickets.

The second Test ended in a draw while Sir Richard Hadlee ran through the Indian line-up in Wellington to hand New Zealand an innings victory and draw level the series. India were bowled out for 81 in the second innings which remains their lowest total in New Zealand.

1981-2002: PERIOD OF NEW ZEALAND DOMINATION

New Zealand won 4 of the 5 series between 1981-2002. Such was their domination that India did not even win a solitary Test match in New Zealand during this period.

1981:

India were competitive in 1981 and thanks to some solid performances by Sandeep Patil with the bat and Kapil Dev with the ball, were in with a chance in the first Test in Wellington. They bowled out New Zealand for 100 in the second innings which remains their second-lowest total against India at home. But set a target of 253, India could not stand tall to the likes of Hadlee and co. and were bowled out for 190.

Ravi Shastri was in fine form with the ball (7 wickets) in the third and final Test in Auckland and reduced New Zealand to 95 for 5 in 62 overs (chasing 157) before time ran out.

1990:

Skipper, John Wright scored a match-winning 185 in the only result Test of the 1990 series at Christchurch. WV Raman’s 96 in the second innings was the only saving grace for India as they went down by 10 wickets.

At 131 for 7 in the first innings, India had New Zealand on the mat in the third Test at Auckland before Ian Smith smashed a magnificent 173 off just 136 deliveries to change the course of the game. Indian captain, Mohammad Azharuddin scored a brilliant quickfire 192 in the first innings.

1994:

Stephen Fleming, on debut, scored 92 in the second innings in the only Test on the 1994 tour in Hamilton. The match ended in a draw.

1998:

Hundreds from Azharuddin and Sachin Tendulkar had set New Zealand a target of 213 in the second Test in Wellington. At 74 for 5, India were in the driver’s seat before a century partnership between Craig McMillan and Chris Cairns gave the home team a fantastic 4-wicket win.

Cairns again starred with the bat in the third Test at Hamilton scoring a match-saving 126 from Number 7 in the second innings. Rahul Dravid scored a hundred in each innings for India as the match ended in a draw.

2002:

New Zealand’s seamers Darly Tuffey and Shane Bond were all over the Indian batsmen in tough swinging, seaming and windy conditions in Willington and Hamilton. India could not reach 200 in the four innings they batted in the series and went down 0-2. There were only two fifties registered by India – one each by Dravid and Tendulkar.

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INDIA FIGHTBACKS IN 2009

Ishant Sharma picked 4 top-middle order wickets to bowl out New Zealand for 279 in the first innings at Hamilton. Tendulkar led the way for India with 160 as the visitors amassed 520 – their highest score till date in New Zealand. Harbhajan Singh picked 6 in the second innings to dismiss the home team for 279. India won by 10 wickets.

The second Test in Napier was a high-scoring draw.

Zaheer Khan’s fifer in the first innings and Gautam Gambhir’s 167 in the second almost pulled off another win for India in the final Test at Wellington. Chasing 617, New Zealand were in dire straits at 84 for 4 before Ross Taylor saved them the match with a fighting hundred.

India won the three-match series 1-0. It was only their second series win in New Zealand. Gambhir was the highest scorer of the series with 445 runs in 6 innings while Harbhajan the leading wicket-taker with 16 wickets in 5 innings.

INDIA HAD THEIR CHANCES IN 2014

A splendid bowling effort by the fast bowlers in the second innings helped India skittle New Zealand for 105 in the series opener in Auckland and make a comeback into the match despite a first innings’ deficit of above 300. Set 407 for a win, India were always in the hunt courtesy a century by Shikhar Dhawan and fifty by Virat Kohli. However, wickets kept falling and no other big partnership meant that they ultimately fell short by 41 runs.

The second Test in Wellington ended in a draw. Ishant Sharma bagged six wickets in the first innings while Zaheer picked 5 in the second. Ajinkya Rahane and Kohli registered hundreds in the match. But the match will be remembered for Brendon McCullum’s 302 – he became (and remains) the first New Zealand batsman to score a triple hundred in Test cricket.

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RECORDS (by India):

Highest Team Score: 520 in Hamilton in 2009

Lowest Team Score: 81 in Wellington in 1976

Highest Individual Score: 192 - Mohammad Azharuddin in Auckland in 1990

Maximum Runs: 842 - Sachin Tendulkar

Tendulkar scored 842 runs in 11 Tests at an average of 49.52 including two hundreds

Highest Batting Average: 89 – Gautam Gambhir

Gambhir scored 445 runs in 3 Tests. He is followed by Azharuddin (74.42)

Maximum Hundreds: 2 – Azharuddin, Dravid, Gambhir, Tendulkar

Maximum Wickets: 35 – Erapalli Prasanna

Prasanna picked 35 wickets in 7 Tests at 19.25 apiece

Best Bowling Average: 17.92 – Bapu Nadkarni

Best Bowling Strike Rate: 50.1 – Erapalli Prasanna

Maximum Five-Wickets in a Match: 4 – Zaheer Khan

Best Bowling Figures in a Match – 11/140 – Erapalli Prasanna in Auckland in 1976

Maximum Runs in a Series: 445 – Gautam Gambhir in 2009

Maximum Wickets in a Series: 24 – Erapalli Prasanna in 1968

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5211 116
2 New Zealand 3959 110
3 Australia 4320 108
4 England 5253 105
5 South Africa 3537 98
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6967 124
2 India 7939 118
3 New Zealand 5347 116
4 South Africa 5602 112
5 Australia 5915 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8926 270
2 Australia 7815 269
3 England 6407 267
4 India 12141 264
5 South Africa 6220 259
see more