Cricket: Vintage Vettori - six of his test-batting best

Daniel Vettori. Photo / Getty Images
Daniel Vettori. Photo / Getty Images

90 runs vs Zimbabwe, September 1997

Still aged 18 and entering his first full season with the team, Vettori saved New Zealand from potential embarrassment in Bulawayo. Zimbabwe made 461 courtesy of Guy Whittall's 203. At 259 for seven, New Zealand was looking grim with just Vettori, Shayne O'Connor and David Sewell to bat. Vettori combined with Chris Harris (71) to put on 112 for the eighth wicket. He made his runs patiently over almost three hours and 162 balls. This innings was his top score for more than six years.

51 runs vs England, August 1999

Vettori made these vital runs off 48 balls batting at No 10 to help New Zealand reach 236 at The Oval. He put on 78 with skipper Stephen Fleming (66 not out) for the ninth wicket. The significance of the runs is they helped secure New Zealand an 83-run victory and a 2-1 test series win. It was New Zealand's first win at The Oval, just as they had won for the first time at Lord's almost four weeks earlier. Vettori might argue his 54 in that test at the home of cricket holds more weight.

Both knocks were crucial.

137runs no vs Pakistan, December 2003

This was Vettori's maiden test century in his 49th test. It was made remarkable by the fact he was still batting at No9. At the time, Vettori was considered a tailender - there were few indications he'd become such a reliable test all-rounder. His average before the ton was 18.06. In the eight years since, Vettori has averaged 39.32. In his innings, he pushed Fleming (192) into the shadows with his range of strokes. Interestingly, of Vettori's six test centuries, five have been scored in New Zealand's first innings.

88 runs vs England, March 2008

In Vettori's third series as test skipper, he produced a record partnership of 148 with Ross Taylor (120) for the seventh wicket against England. He came to the wicket at 277 for six and blunted the visitors. Vettori's second innings of 35 also gave New Zealand momentum by helping set a target of 300. New Zealand went on to secure their best test victory in recent memory by 189 runs. The skipper was man of the match. "This is probably my most satisfying test win," Vettori said post-match.

134 runs vs Pakistan, December 2009

Significant because it came in the period when Vettori had unprecedented responsibility leading the team. In this test at Napier, he also assumed the No6 batting mantle. Coming to the wicket at 136 for four and losing Daniel Flynn not long afterwards left New Zealand teetering. Danish Kaneria's leg spin took four of those first five wickets early on the second day. Vettori was in rescue mode. New Zealand moved from 145 for five to 321 for six when he and Brendon McCullum took them to safety and beyond.

96 runs vs Australia, December 2011

Another sketchy New Zealand top order display, another Vettori revival. New Zealand slumped to 96 for five in Brisbane before Vettori and Dean Brownlie righted the innings. Vettori fended off a young but spirited Australian attack predominantly on the leg side, where he made 59 of his 96 runs through swats, slaps and tickles. It was his highest score against Australia in 34 innings. He was eventually run out dashing for a single against the accurate arm of Michael Hussey at mid-off.

- Herald on Sunday

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