New Zealand cricket team in England in 1965

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The New Zealand cricket team toured England in the 1965 season, playing three Test matches in the first half of a damp summer. England later hosted a second three-match series against South Africa, the first time two Test series were played in a single English cricket season since the 1912 Triangular Tournament.

The New Zealand side lost all three Test matches, and lost three other first-class matches against English counties. The team's only victories came in one county match and in the first-class matches against Scotland and Ireland.


New Zealand had last toured England in 1958 and the 1965 tour had been scheduled for several seasons. However, the success and popularity of the 1963 West Indies tourists led to demands for an early return visit, so schedules were rearranged and New Zealand and South Africa "doubled up" in 1965, the first time this arrangement, now commonplace, had happened.

Since the last tour of England, there had been five Tests between the two sides in New Zealand, England winning four of them. New Zealand had yet to record a single victory over England after 31 Tests between the teams, England having won 14 matches before this series.

The New Zealand team arrived in England at the end of the most intensive period of Test cricket in the country's history. The side had played three drawn matches at home to Pakistan in January and February 1965, then travelled for India for a four-match Test series which they lost 1-0 with three drawn, and then went to Pakistan for three further Tests, two of which were lost.

The New Zealand team was in a state of transition, with older players such as John Reid and Bert Sutcliffe, who had both first come to England with the 1949 New Zealand side, nearing retirement. At the other end of the scale were several promising batsmen, including Bev Congdon and Barry Sinclair, and young seam bowlers in Richard Collinge and Bruce Taylor. These last two, and Vic Pollard, the Lancashire-born off-spinner, were only 19 at the time of the tour.

England too were in transition, with no obvious fast-bowling candidates coming through to replace veterans Brian Statham and Fred Trueman; and batsmen such as Peter May and Ted Dexter either retired or nearing the ends of their careers.

The New Zealand cricket team[edit]

A party of 15 players had left New Zealand for the six months' world tour, but that number had increased to 16 by the time the team reached England. John Ward, selected as the only wicketkeeper in the original party – though captain John Reid had kept wicket in a Test match in 1949 – was injured in India and Artie Dick was sent out as a reinforcement. Ward remained with the touring side and played in one Test in England.

The full team was:

By the time the team reached England, all of them had had experience of Test cricket, with Jarvis, Pollard, Taylor and Vivian making their Test debuts in the matches in India and Pakistan. In England, Jarvis and Vivian were the only players not to play in a Test match.

The team was managed by Walter Hadlee, who had been captain of the 1949 New Zealand team in England.

The Test Matches[edit]

First Test at Edgbaston, 27 May to 1 June 1965. England (435 and 96 for one) beat New Zealand (116 and 413) by nine wickets. Played in cold weather, the match was essentially decided on the first innings. England batted solidly, with Ted Dexter making 57 and Colin Cowdrey 85, but the largest innings was by Ken Barrington who took 435 minutes to make 137 in what Wisden Cricketers' Almanack termed a "tedious exhibition". Motz took five wickets for 108 runs. New Zealand batted badly against the spin of Fred Titmus, and Sutcliffe had to retire hurt after ducking into a bouncer from Fred Trueman. Following on 319 behind, they batted much more consistently, with seven batsmen reaching 40. However only Pollard, with an undefeated 81, and the recovered Sutcliffe managed to pass 50. England needed 95 to win and the match was over by lunchtime on the fifth day.

Second Test at Lord's, 17 to 22 June 1965. New Zealand (175 and 347) lost to England (307 and 218 for three) by seven wickets. England left out Barrington because of his dull batting at Edgbaston, and Sutcliffe was not fit for New Zealand. The touring team won the toss and batted and then lost four wickets for 28 runs, all taken by Fred Rumsey at a personal cost of seven runs. Reid and Dick became John Snow's first Test victims on his debut, but Pollard (55) and Taylor (51) added 92 for the seventh wicket. England's reply was built around 119 from Cowdrey and 62 from Dexter, but Collinge finished the innings off with four quick wickets. As at Edgbaston, New Zealand batted much better in their second innings and with 50s from Dowling, Sinclair and Pollard they totalled 347. That left England 216 to win. With 76 for Geoffrey Boycott and an unbeaten 80 from Dexter, the main danger to the win was from the weather, which caused long interruptions on both the final days, England in the end winning with only 15 minutes to spare. The match was Fred Trueman's final Test appearance. His 306th and 307th Test victims were Taylor and Collinge in the first innings.

Third Test at Headingley, 8 to 13 July 1965. England (546 for four wickets declared) beat New Zealand (193 and 166) by an innings and 187 runs. Injuries to Boycott and Dexter led to the recall of John Edrich and Barrington, and their stand of 369 for the second wicket sealed the match. Edrich hit five sixes and 52 fours in an unbeaten 310, the eighth Test score of more than 300 and the third on the Leeds ground after Bradman's 334 and 304 in 1930 and 1934. Barrington made 163 in just over six hours, and England's total was at that stage their highest against New Zealand. New Zealand lost four wickets for 61, but Reid made 54, Pollard 33 and Yuile 46. Even so, New Zealand followed on 353 behind and another patchy batting performance – again Pollard, who hit 53, was an exception – led to a big defeat. The match was all but finished by Titmus taking four wickets in an over, Yuile, Taylor, Motz and Collinge falling respectively to the first, third, fourth and sixth balls. Titmus finished with five wickets for 19 runs off 26 overs.

First-class matches[edit]

Apart from the Tests, the New Zealanders played 16 other first-class matches, and two one-day warm-up matches. They won three of the first-class games and lost three, though their victories included the matches against Scotland and Ireland, both at that time weaker than the county teams the tourists met.

After the two warm-up one-day matches against London New Zealanders (including Jim Laker) and the Duke of Norfolk's Team, the New Zealanders played a tight game with the County Champions Worcestershire which was distinguished by a 10th wicket partnership of 107 by Motz, who made 95 and Cameron, the highest last-wicket partnership for a New Zealand team in England.

The match that followed against Lancashire lost the whole of the first day to rain, and proved pretty much of a disaster. Put into bat, Lancashire reached 225 thanks to Geoff Pullar, and Vivian hurt his ankle, which meant he was unable to bat. New Zealand totalled 115 without him and, under the then rules for a match reduced to two days, followed on. In the second innings, Brian Statham and Ken Higgs reduced the tourists to 8 for six wickets (with Vivian unable to bat). Pollard and Motz ensured respectability by taking the score to 104, but the match was lost by an innings and six runs.

Off the back of this heavy defeat, the New Zealanders produced one of their better performances, coming from a first-innings deficit to beat Gloucestershire by four wickets. Motz, who took five wickets in the county's second innings, settled the match by hitting three sixes off the England off-spinner John Mortimore.

The traditional match between the tourists and the MCC at Lord's saw the New Zealanders have the best of a drawn game against a side containing 10 present or future Test players. Congdon scored 136 in a first innings total of 318 for seven declared; he also scored an unbeaten 50 in the second innings. Rain interfered with the last day's cricket.

The run-up to the first Test match involved two drawn games. The match with Nottinghamshire was a low-scoring and slow-scoring match, in which the New Zealanders just held on to draw with one wicket left and 38 runs to make. By contrast, Cambridge University posted a first innings of 364 for nine declared, and then forced the New Zealanders to follow on, dismissing the team for just 137. In the follow-on, Sinclair made 130, Dowling 87 and Congdon 63, and the match petered out to a draw.



  • Wisden Cricketers Almanack, 1966 edition, pages 270-297.

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