Australia v New Zealand
Albert Ground, Melbourne: 26th – 29th January 1979
Australia’s Sharon Tredrea won the toss at the Albert Ground and batted, but that was the only real victory on the opening day. The Kiwis came in for the kill with Eileen Badham and Jackie Lord both snaring four wickets as the Aussie crumbled to 129.
“Our bowlers did well in the Australian 1st innings with all contributing to those who snatched the wickets. This was probably one of Jackie Lord’s best outings – she was a natural leg spinner with serious potential.” – Trish McKelvey
The New Zealanders took that bowling pressure and then applied it with the bat as they piled on 277 runs, putting the game well beyond the reach of Australia and an opportunity to beat the hosts and square the series.
Behind 148 runs, Australia responded with a dogged first wicket partnership of 73, before Deb Martin was out for 16. Wendy Hills fell for just 10 when the score was 90 and a solid 68 from Peta Cook ended when the score was 96. Tredrea fell for 12 at 117 and was quickly followed to the pavilion by Jill Kennare for a duck when the score was 118. When Julie Stockton fell for 28 Australia was on the canvas at 6/136. With only four wickets in hand they were still short of making New Zealand bat again.
The three lower order saviors from the second Test, Judy Laing, Sharyn Fitzsimmons and Marie Lutschini then pulled Australia from the brink of defeat and set a course for an improbable win. Laing made a heroic 84, with Fitzsimmons and Lutschini both batting for 2 hours to make 32 and 46 not out respectively. It gave Australia a total of 311 and at least something to bowl at, leaving New Zealand 164 for victory.
“We had a blimp in our first innings, then slowly got ourselves back into the game. The 311 in the second innings was just what we were looking for. Started well with Cook, then some ordinary batting, but our younger batters/allrounders in Laing, Fitzsimmons and Lutschini were given the go ahead to take on the attack. And attack they did which put New Zealand on the back foot again. We were happy with 164 for them to chase, meant they would play shots and not shut down and gave us the opportunity for wickets.”
New Zealand went for the target initially, but soon found themselves on the back foot and in danger of losing the match themselves, ending with a nailbiting 8/88 and the Test a draw.
“We did – as a team – commit to going for the win which is why in the end we had to hang on for a draw. Again it was the Aussie pace bowlers who bowled the better line and prevented us from attacking.” – McKelvey
Australia 129 (Tredrea 36, Lord 4-18, Badham 4-46, Marett 2-16) and 311 (Laing 84, Cook 68, Lutschini 46*, Lord 6/119, Badham 3/91) drew with New Zealand 277 (Shankland 72, Badham 42, Bevege 40, Tredrea 3/90) and 8/88 (Shankland 29, Fitzsimmons 2/17, Tredrea 2/20)