New Zealand toured England for the four-match Test series in 1983. The team stayed back after the World Cup that took place in the same country. England won the first match of the series at The Oval by 189 runs, and the action shifted to Headingley, Leeds. The visitors needed to put their best foot forward to level the series.
The Kiwi skipper Geoff Howarth won the toss and elected to field. The decision proved to be a successful one for them as England were bundled out for just 225 runs in their first innings. Lance Cairns bowled superbly to return with the figures of 7/74 while Allan Lamb and Chris Tavare scored half-centuries for the home team.
In response, New Zealand openers John Wright and Bruce Edgar batted well scoring 93 and 84 respectively. England struck back to reduce them from being 168/1 to 218/5. However, Sir Richard Hadlee played a knock of 75 ably supported by John Bracewell and Lance Cairns which propelled the tourists to 377 in the first innings.
England struggle despite Gower’s ton
Trailing by 152 runs, the hosts needed to bat out of their skins to set a formidable target for the opponents. But that wasn’t the case. Despite David Gower’s holding up one end, they collapsed after a decent start. From being 116/2 at one stage, England were left reeling at 142/6 with Jeremy Coney and Ewen Chatfield running through their middle-order.
Gower then took control of the innings and scored a brilliant ton with the tail-enders supporting well at the other end. It was Cairns who ran through the tail picking three wickets as England were bowled out for 252 runs. Gower was left stranded on 112 at the other end. Chatfield picked up a five-wicket haul, and he was the one who triggered the collapse.
New Zealand needed 101 runs to win the match and level the series and they did so in 27.1 overs losing five wickets. It wasn’t a smooth sail at all for them as Bob Willis scalped all the five wickets to fall. The game could’ve gone down the wire if England had batted a bit better earlier.
This win was also New Zealand’s first-ever in England, and unfortunately, it remained the only win for them in the series. England won the last two Tests and also sealed the series by 2-1.