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OTD 1985 – Historic day for New Zealand as they won maiden series against Australia

Dec 4, 2023

In 1985, the New Zealand team toured Australia to play a three-match Test series. The home side were the overwhelming favourites against their trans-Tasman rivals but they received a major shock as the Kiwis played some excellent cricket to win the series 2-1.

The first game took place in Brisbane. Australia were bowled out for just 179 in their first innings as Richard Hadlee finished with a famous nine-wicket haul. In reply, centuries from John Reid and the legendary Martin Crowe helped the tourists take a mammoth 374-run lead. Hadlee picked up six wickets in the second innings as the Aussies were dismissed for 333, losing by an innings and 41 runs.

The second Test in Sydney turned out to be an intriguing contest. Allan Border’s men dismissed New Zealand for 293 in the first innings as leg-spinner Bob Holland picked up a six-for. In reply, Australia were bundled out for 227 to hand the Kiwis a 66-run lead. Hadlee starred once again with a five-for. The Blackcaps had a great chance to bat their opponents out of the match but they could only score 193 in their second innings. Holland built on his first-innings heroics and picked up a four-for. Chasing 260 for a win, the hosts reached the target with four wickets to spare with Wayne Phillips and David Boon registering crucial half-centuries.

The series was intriguingly poised at 1-1 with the third and final Test being held in Perth. Hadlee continued his purple patch by claiming a five-for in the first innings as Australia were bowled out for 203. New Zealand took a 96-run lead, courtesy of half-centuries from Bruce Edgar and Crowe. Hadlee picked up six wickets in the second innings as the home side set their opponents a target of 164 runs in the fourth innings. The tourists got to their target on December 4, 1985, to win their first Test series in Australia. Hadlee finished with a whopping 33 wickets across the three matches and was fittingly awarded Player of the Series.

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