Horror show adds to litany of NZ cricket woe

MICHAEL DALY
Last updated 15:14 03/01/2013

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It's enough to make a New Zealand cricket supporter feel ill, but the first innings score of 45 against South Africa overnight was just another in a history of terrible performances by Kiwi cricketers.

It was New Zealand's third-lowest innings total in a test, and the 12th-equal worst score on the list for all countries.

It comes after the embarrassing events in Sri Lanka in November, which saw Ross Taylor lose the test captaincy and decide not to go on the South African tour.

As bad as the 45-run innings total was, at least the Black Caps managed to avoid becoming the new holders of possibly New Zealand's most infamous world record.

That is the oft-recalled marker for the lowest score in a test innings - 26 runs in the second innings against England at Eden Park, Auckland in 1955.

After reaching 200 in their first innings, the New Zealanders managed to hold England to 246, but their second innings meltdown meant the visitors won by an innings and 20 runs.

Our cricketers' second-lowest test innings score, 42, came in the same game in which they scored their fifth-lowest innings total, 54.

The terrible double was scored against Australia at the Basin Reserve in Wellington in 1946.

The visitors were not terribly flash themselves, but their first innings of 199 for eight declared was easily enough for a win by an innings and 103 runs.

At least the Kiwis' 42-run first innings was only the seventh-worst internationally, with South Africa filling four of the spaces (in 1896, 1899, 1924 and 1932) and Australia one (in 1902), between New Zealand's two worst scores.

While the current test in South Africa is still to be decided, New Zealand can be thankful it currently has only the fifth-biggest losing margin, going down by an innings and 324 runs to Pakistan in Lahore in 2002.

It is some small comfort that in the same year, South Africa lost to Australia in Johannesburg by an innings and 360 runs - the second-biggest test match losing margin in history. The biggest losing margin was Australia's 1938 capitulation to England by an innings and 579 runs at The Oval.

New Zealand's worst test losses were by an innings and 324 runs to Pakistan in Lahore in 2002, and by an innings and 322 runs against the West Indies in Wellington in 1995 - the fifth and sixth worst defeats on record.

New Zealand also occupies the first and second spots for most consecutive series without a win. Between 1929 and 1970, we were unable to win a series in 30 consecutive attempts, although that included nine draws. Then between 1992 and 1997, New Zealand failed to notch up a series win in 17 consecutive attempts.

At least we only have the third-worst run of test series losses, with 10 in a row between 1950 and 1959. Bangladesh occupies the top two spots.

But Bangladesh has bragging rights over New Zealand in the shorter form of the game, whitewashing the Kiwis 4-0 in the one-day series in October 2010.

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Against another minnow, New Zealand had another series to forget, losing an ODI series 2-1 in this country to Zimbabwe in January 2001.

New Zealand also managed to lose 13 consecutive ODI games in 1995. 

- Fairfax Media

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