' />

This article appeared in the Herald on June 18, 1994, during New Zealand's tour of England.

The rebirth of Martin Crowe, test batsman, started with a false fire alarm at 1am. It ended 17 hours later, with him 133 not out in the New Zealand second test first innings of 316 for four wickets - Crowe and Shane Thomson (68 not out) in a record-breaking 178-run stand.

Ninety minutes later a sweating Crowe limped into the team hotel, his face slightly etched with fatigue, but in those smiling eyes the sure sign of a sportsman who has regained his pride and faith in his own ability.

The new model Martin Crowe has been found. Not the sporty racing car that ripped through the teens and 20s, now a finely honed machine, with a governor on the engine, but with the 31-year-old driver now very much in control.


A quick trip through one of his most rewarding days of sport would include:

• 1am: A false fire alarm (these have bugged the team since the start of the tour). "I did not go back to sleep. I have not been sleeping too well, recently, so I thought what I would try and do on the first day of the test."

• 8am: First to breakfast as usual, team bus to Lord's, pre-game warm-ups - "We've gone back to team warm-ups, they are good for the team and we should use them always.

"Had my batting practice, then the exercise for my knee, 25 to 30 minutes, a weight on the ankle, pumping up and down to get the knee working."

• 10.30am: The toss, Ken Rutherford won, New Zealand to bat. "Somehow I knew we would win the toss, that we would be asked to test ourselves again batting first.

"I was anxious to get out and bat, but I did not watch the early play when we lost three wickets. When we bat there is usually a lot happening, but I did not want to get involved with that.

"Later Alec Stewart mentioned to me that the ball had dipped about early on. I said, 'did it, I had not seen it.'

"When I went out it looked a good batting wicket. I started wearing rubber soles, the first time I have used them on the first day of a match. I did not feel comfortable, put on my spikes."

• 3.20pm: Crowe worked a quick single with Thomson. "I really had to run, I might have been run out. When I was really fit I could get those singles. That one really hurt. I told myself I was being silly. I cursed myself and told myself 'don't do that'."


• 4.12pm: Crowe launched into Peter Such's off-spin - 4, 4, 6, 4 in two overs. "I could not understand why Such bowled at the end where the breeze drifted the ball on to my leg stump and gave me a free hit down the Lord's hill."

• 5.19pm: Crowe to his century, his 16th in tests, but in a bizarre way, with a four and a two from Graham Gooch's gentle out-swing. The 100 in 236 minutes, 167 balls, 16 fours, two sixes - the first 50 in 110 balls, the second in 47 balls.

"I thought I would be controlled, composed, but when the hundred came I felt very emotional. I told 'Thommo' that I needed 10 minutes to recover. I was breathing hard, I reckon the pulse must have been about 180. It seemed as if I was getting all the frustrations of the last 12 months out of my system. I just choked.

"After about seven minutes I came right."

• 5.29pm: Fraser back, and with a superb pirouette on his left toe Crowe swung a short-pitched flier over mid-wicket for six - one of the great shots of the innings.

"I have worked hard on my footwork, and tried to keep my feet moving all day. Now I am hitting well square of the wicket rather than driving straight.

"I find I cannot push forward and still keep my balance.

"I did not hit a straight drive all day."

• 6.10pm: Crowe and Thomson take their stand to 178, breaking the old fifth-wicket mark against England set by Bevan Congdon and Victor Pollard in 1973.

"I was very tired over that last half hour and just had to hang on until stumps.

"It was a great relief to get to stumps. It was nice to feel that I could still bat well at test level.

"So I am pleased - I now feel I still have a future in test cricket."

The New Zealand advance slowed a little when the two first-day heroes Crowe and Shane Thomson were out before lunch on the second day.

Thomson was the first to go, judged run out by the off-field umpire after adding only one run to his overnight 68, and Crowe's great innings finished after nine more runs, at 142, with New Zealand 360 for six wickets.

By lunch Adam Parore (39 not out) and Matthew Hart (20 not out) had taken New Zealand to 389 for six wickets.

Facing the second new ball Crowe looked composed and accurate on defence, but the first time he played a really aggressive stroke he miscued a pull-stoke at Philip DeFreitas and the catch lobbed gently to Robin Smith at mid-wicket.

As Crowe left the field, after a 371-minute 225-ball innings, the packed members stand offered Crowe the final tribute - a standing ovation.