Win over Windies one for history books

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 14:08 01/07/2014
Stuff.co.nz

It's a blast from the past as we look back at some of the Black Caps greatest test series wins won away from home.

Denesh Ramdin
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The New Zealand cricketers celebrate the wicket of Denesh Ramdin with Tim Southee on the final day of the third test against the West Indies in Barbados.
Trent Boult
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VICTORY: Trent Boult celebrates the dismissal of West Indies batsman Kirk Edwards en route to the Black Caps' test and series win.

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The debate could rage for hours at the bar; where does this series victory rate in New Zealand's test cricket history?

Given there's only been 12 of them away from home, five of those in two-test rubbers in Zimbabwe or Bangladesh, it instantly threatens the top-five.

On closer inspection, it could sit in the top-three.

The obvious two leap out; Australia in 1985 and England in 1999, closely followed by the breakthrough series victory in the UK in 1986.

Wins in Australia and England are so rare it's hard to top a series triumph against New Zealand's two sporting rivals that are sweetest to beat.

Before 2002 the West Indies remained an unconquered cricketing land for New Zealand in test series, along with India and South Africa who remain so.

The breakthrough victory at Bridgetown, which ushered in a 1-0 series win (the second test at Grenada was a draw), was hugely significant in a place where New Zealand batsmen suffered so much torment, particularly in 1985 against the best fast bowling battery in history.

Today's 2-1 triumph was even better, purely because the Black Caps needed to win two tests in the Caribbean and fought back from seemingly down and out when they collapsed on day one at Kensington Oval.

It was a near full strength West Indies team, with the absence of mystery spinner Sunil Narine one crucial leg-up.

The hosts were awful at Kingston but fought back strongly, and New Zealand showed immense character to close it out.

Recent history weighed heavily, too. The 2002 win was their last away series victory against a top-eight opponent. In series of three or more tests, that drought extended back to 1999.

New Zealand's poor record hardly demanded too many three-test series in recent years.

In all, New Zealand have won just 30 of their 203 away tests, which shows how tough they've found it on the road.

TOP-FIVE NEW ZEALAND AWAY TEST SERIES WINS (in chronological order):

1969: beat Pakistan 1-0 (3)

A breakthrough series to provide New Zealand's first win away from home in 38 years of trying. Up 1-0 going into the third and final test at Dacca, on a pitch described as ''pounded mud'', maiden test centuries by Glenn Turner and Mark Burgess ensured a crucial draw against the Intikhab Alam-captained Pakistan. The hosts needed 184 in 140 minutes to level the series but four quick wickets by Bob Cunis halted their charge, as did a bizarre pitch invasion from restless home fans an hour before stumps. New Zealand won the second test at Lahore by five wickets, with spinner Hedley Howarth their bowler of the series with 16 wickets at an average of 20.

1985: beat Australia 2-1 (3)

The most memorable New Zealand series victory, given the gravity of Richard Hadlee's bowling performance and the fact it was the first against 'big brother'. The soon-to-be cricketing knight snared 9-52 in the first test at Brisbane and took another 11 for the match in the clincher at Perth, to give him 33 Aussie victims for the series. This was the country's two greatest cricketers in their prime, with Martin Crowe scoring 188 at Brisbane and 71 and 42 not out at Perth, after Australia clawed one back on a turning Sydney pitch. Allan Border's side wasn't a vintage Australian lineup, including the likes of Robbie Kerr, Greg Ritchie, Wayne Phillips and Dave Gilbert, but Hadlee's fast bowling mastery was unquestioned.

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1986: beat England 1-0 (3)

Barely eight months on from Australia, captain Jeremy Coney's side created more history with their first series win in England. That man Hadlee was the catalyst again, taking 10-140 on his 'home' ground at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, to inspire an eight-wicket New Zealand victory in the only result of the series. England recalled Allan Lamb and Ian Botham for the third test at The Oval but a John Wright century and the London rain, which robbed more than 15 hours of playing time, ensured a draw and New Zealand were home.

1999: beat England 2-1 (4)

The series victory that perhaps resonates most with New Zealand fans after the Black Caps came from 1-0 down. The savagery of the reaction in England was breathtaking, too, with home skipper Nasser Hussain booed at the presentation ceremony at The Oval and his team labelled the worst England had produced. Under coach Steve Rixon and captain Stephen Fleming, the tourists were brash and bold, and their bowling attack had a sharp edge with Dion Nash and Chris Cairns. The latter was at his peak and produced the memorable ball of the series, the loopy full toss to remove Chris Read. Cairns helped clinch the decider at The Oval with a five-wicket haul then a crucial 80 in the second innings.

2014: beat West Indies 2-1 (3)

- Stuff

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