New Zealand v Australia
Basin Reserve, Wellington: 20th – 23rd March 1948
Australia toured New Zealand for the first time in Test cricket in March 1948, to be captained by the heir apparent, Mollie Dive. Mollie would make her Test debut, at the age of 34, as captain. The only players with previous Test experience were Amy Hudson and Molly Flaherty, from the 1937 tour of England, over a decade earlier.
The youngsters in the squad included Una Paisley, a solid batter and spin bowler from Victoria, and from the same state, a punishing batter in the same mold as Mollie Dive, E.R. “Betty” Wilson, who also bowled spin.
On the 20th March 1948, Mollie Dive won her first toss as captain and elected to bat in conditions described as a “northerly gale”. It’s not called “Windy Wellington” without good reason.
Ima Lamason, tossed the new ball to fast bowler Joan Francis, who would bowl the first delivery in Test cricket against Australia. Before long she bowled Joan Schmidt for 13 and the visitors were 1/16.
The Australian captain strode to the crease, batting at three, and dispatched the Kiwi bowlers in the same manner as she treated club bowlers in Sydney, with style and authority. This was the way to open your account as a new Test captain! At the other end was the dependable Amy Hudson and the two put together a partnership of 96, before Francis collected her second wicket, taking out the dangerous Dive for 59. Hudson was joined by the debutant, Paisley, and the two took the score to 135 before Hudson was back in the pavilion for a well compiled 46.
That was as good as it got for New Zealand. Paisley was joined by another greenhorn, Betty Wilson. Paisley carefully crafted her innings while Wilson blazed away in a fashion previously unseen in Test cricket. Finally Wilson took one too many chances and was out to the offspin of Marjorie “Billie” Fulford, for 90, Australia 4/298. Paisley continued chipping away before she too fell to Fulford, but not before she had scored a debut Test century, 108, and the first by an Australian in Test cricket.
When Norma Whiteman was bowled by Phyllis Blackler, Mollie Dive declared the Aussie innings over at 6/338. The style of Dive, the patience of Paisley and the dynamism of Wilson had stunned the Kiwi bowlers. It wasn’t the last they’d seen of Wilson. They found her a nuisance in the field and an even bigger headache with the ball in her hands.
Mollie Dive then tossed the ball to Betty Wilson who bowled 26 overs unchanged. At the other end were Paisley, Hudson, Myrtle Craddock, and Myrtle Edwards, but this Wilson girl had the ball on a string. The Kiwis were mesmerized and Betty ended with 4 wickets for 37. Hudson picked up two while Paisley and Edwards collected one each. The sharp leg spin of the skipper wasn’t even tried. The Kiwis fell for just 149 and Dive enforced the follow-on.
Flaherty again took the opener Fulford early, but at least the batter was spared from Betty Wilson. Mollie Dive delayed bringing on the precocious youngster, otherwise it would have been worse for New Zealand who had no answers. Four of them were clean bowled by the off spinner who collected the remarkable figures of 6/28 from 14 overs. It was a stunning performance from the young Victorian. Ninety runs and ten wickets for the match. Australia had unearthed a new superstar as they trounced the Kiwis by an innings and 102 runs.
The skipper, Mollie Dive, almost a bit player in the company of the young brigade was victorious in her first Test as captain.
Australia 6/338 (Paisley 108, Wilson 90, Dive 59, Blackler 2/32) defeated New Zealand 149 (Blackler 34, Wilson 4/37, Hudson 2/38) and 87 (Wilson 6/28, Craddock 2/20) by an innings and 102 runs