New Zealand's innings and 41-run first test win against Australia at the 'Gabba in November 1985 turned me into a cricket addict.
Pre-Sky, coverage was banished to half-hour highlights packages on TV2 at 10pm. Dr Who, The Incredible Hulk and Magnum PI ruled prime time.
Fortunately, my Dad taped it on our 'state-of-the-art' VHS recorder which we snaffled in one of Mum's garage sale bargain hunts in Auckland's eastern suburbs. New Zealand's most complete test performance was a visual banquet to digest over fruitcake and Raro before heading out to help with the silage.
A generation of children unleashed themselves on backyards, school playgrounds and club fields as osmosis took hold.
A plague of fast bowlers started hitching their trousers or, in the case of most eight-year-olds, stubbies, from a shortened run a la Richard Hadlee, on his way to New Zealand's best match figures of 15 for 123, including nine for 52 in the first innings.
Our neighbours even bought a Toyota because Hadlee claimed it'd "bowl them over" in a telly ad. Batting chic saw Lance Cairns' Excalibur replaced by Martin Crowe's Magnum. My mate Donaldson, in white floppy, had mastered Crowe's follow-through and swagger caressing drives down the ground. I was more of a John Wright acolyte and, if modesty permits, took pride in perfecting his Channel Nine duck slouch after my regular gormless dismissals.
Circa 1993, heaven arrived via video for $39.95 + postage & handling, courtesy of Television New Zealand. The test was packaged on From Cloth Cap To Helmet, an archive of New Zealand's cricket history, hosted by Young Gun Ian Smith.
If seeking the director's cut, my mate Hill had the full Channel Nine edited highlights. A select group of cricket tragics would gather in his lounge to be intoxicated by leather-and-willow manna while our university peers boozed and clubbed. Some might consider these lost evenings of youth. I've never regretted reminiscing over the crunching gravel soundtrack of the stump microphone as Hadlee's deliveries clattered through Australian defences. It was the cricketing equivalent of Beethoven's ninth symphony.
Our secret fraternity indelibly inked the key moments in our memories: Hadlee's plan to get Andrew Hilditch hooking to Ewen Chatfield at fine leg in the first over; Bruce Edgar pouching Allan Border at cover point after lunch; debutant Vaughan Brown denying Sir Richard the immortality of a 10th wicket; Hadlee lining up the catch at mid-wicket to rule him out of the clean sweep; Crowe's on drive to bring up his century; John Reid easing a ball off his pads to complete the same feat from the next scoring shot; the jubilation as the New Zealanders recalibrated their place in the world game with a first win away against Australia, a team who had seldom agreed to play them.
With the 30th anniversary of the test next Sunday, and this year's series opening on Thursday at the 'Gabba, it's a chance to read, hear and watch those who played or observed the match live.
RICHARD HADLEE (AKA PADDLES)
The positioning of a rubbish bin in place of an umpire, six feet behind the stumps at practice was one of the most significant changes in my career.
[Coach] Glenn Turner noticed I was bowling mid-crease in practice matches and angling the ball into the batsmen too much. He tried to get me closer, to bowl wicket-to-wicket, so batsmen were guessing more. If my line and length was right they'd play at me with the ball moving away or the stumps could go if it nipped back and they left it.
The umpire's positioning was forcing me wider, so we scratched a line, and Glenn stood in that spot. It allowed me to get in close, with my bowling arm almost touching him. Once he was positioned right, it didn't interfere with my technique. Glenn had to go, so he placed a rubbish bin in that place. I asked all umpires to stand at that line for the last five years of my career. I was far more effective.
Australia had several left-handers and, as long as they know where their stumps are, can tend to let a lot of balls go [from right-armers]. Even if they pitch on the stumps, the angle means the ball's missing. A bouncy pitch like the 'Gabba meant they could let them go on length because they'd go over the top.
Richard was frustrated at going past bats and batsmen letting him go too often. We anticipated this by getting him to bowl closer to the stumps, wicket-to-wicket, meaning the ball was closer to them and they had to play.
If the umpire is a big person it physically forces a bowler to go wider. But rather than stand there the whole practice, I put a rubbish bin in my place. It seemed to make a difference.
Listen to Glenn Turner talk about the 1985 'Gabba test
Australia had visited England during the winter [northern summer]. Glenn rang his mate Norman Gifford at Worcestershire, who was working with England, and got pointers so we could draw up a dossier on how to get them out. For instance, there were two plans to [opener] Andrew Hilditch: a) bowl normal and b) bowl short because he was known as 'the happy hooker'.
JEREMY CONEY - TAKEN FROM HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY THE PLAYING MANTIS
Glenn Maitland Turner produced photocopied letters from [England professionals] David Gower and Norman Gifford assessing the Australian strengths and weaknesses when they toured England... Even though the knowledge that the wickets were different and they were now playing in their own country diluted the comments, they were of particular interest to the bowlers and myself...
The Benson and Hedges luncheon capped it off. Fred Bennett, the chairman of the Australian Cricket Board, rose ostensibly to welcome us but proceeded to deliver the blueprint for success as devised by his board. It was a scheme which involved money, bonuses and security for their players and their future. It was an attempt to remove the threat of the golden claws of wealthy South African agents [after the 1985 Australian rebel tour]. The whole luncheon was geared to the Australians and it was hardly acknowledged that we were present. Not a good move.
DON 'DJ' CAMERON - NEW ZEALAND HERALD CORRESPONDENT
Not much notice was taken of New Zealand at the pre-test function. They were treated more as the country cousins.
By the time they reached the ground the following day, I'd never seen a New Zealand team so well organised.
Roughly the same bunch of guys had beaten England at Headingley [in 1983], the first win in England after 52 years of trying. We've beaten Australia since, but this was like climbing Everest. It was a mental breakthrough given Australia's dominant history.
At that stage it rankled that Australia had not played us for so many years and only rekindled the relationship in the 1970s.
In the early 1980s we felt the Australian greats, including a number of television commentators, looked down their noses. We took exception. There was satisfaction, particularly on that tour when a fairly arrogant Channel Nine had to change their tune by the end of the series. The overriding memory was the brilliance of Hadlee at the peak of his career, in utter control.
In the early part of the 1980s we were changing. It sounds a bit trite, given how professional the game is now, but we saw the emergence of those who played in the English county environment. The Wrights, the Howarths and the Hadlees brought a sense of professionalism which was different to the past. We had tended to be weekend cricketers who happened to play tests and, to a certain extent, that's how I regarded myself. We played a handful of first-class games a season. Suddenly we had more confidence and self-belief on the world stage.
My main recollection of the build-up came from our internal meeting. It was pre-video analysis but we shared the knowledge players had of others. Glenn Turner went around every player to talk about their strengths and what he expected from them. There was no discussion about weaknesses; it was just "do this because you're good at it". I went to bed thinking about how I could reinforce that.
I wasn't expecting to debut, but then the media started saying a few things which indicated they might have had feedback from the coaches and selectors suggesting otherwise. On the day I was hellishly nervous with sweaty palms in the humidity.
CONEY - IN THE PLAYING MANTIS
We pick our way carefully over a slatted wooden ramp, pitted with an era of sprigs. It reminds me of gangplanks. I am Noah leading the survivors, the chosen ones. Let's hope we don't need floods to save us.
HADLEE ACT I
The idea was for Paddles to draw him into the hook with a bouncer in the first over. Ewen Chatfield was at fine leg and that morning we'd fed him about 50 skyer catches in preparation.
Paddles only got it short of a length, it wasn't even a bouncer, but it tempted Hilditch. He topped edged, Charlie Chats put up his hands and it stuck.
I didn't always expect catches at fine leg, particularly that early.
I made both of them look harder than they were [Chatfield caught Hilditch in the same position in the second innings]. I misjudged them a bit.
But when we played the earlier tour matches, Glenn would hit me about 200 catches every day.
Listen to Ewen Chatfield talk about the 1985 tour of Australia:
You strive for excellence and performance; sometimes you never get there but that was the closest I came. I had bowled just as well in other games without anywhere near the statistical rewards, but it was a day when everything worked. The rhythm, timing and technique were there to control the ball and commit the batsmen into errors.
The catching behind the wicket was important. We were catching what felt like 90 per cent, whereas in the 1970s we were probably catching 70-80 percent.
The fielding of the slip cordon was outstanding through the likes of Jerry [took four catches in the test].
Pitch conditions were good [for bowling] and the ball moved around. Coming off the field three or four times on the first day allowed me to freshen up.
It wasn't terror, but more the lack of confidence they had playing him, including Allan Border. At that point Border wasn't quite the world-class batsman he became. They were fidgety as hell. You could read the uncertainty in their eyes.
He [Hadlee] would bowl a length they weren't used to. It wasn't express pace but would hurt if he hit. It was surreal in the first over when the Hilditch plan came off. Chats wasn't necessarily renowned as a brilliant fielder but he gobbled that one.
It makes a difference when you know you're physically fit and have done your preparation. The wicket of Hilditch was significant... it had me searching for more, and psychologically I was on song.
Border was straight after lunch, it wasn't a great delivery, wide of off stump. He flashed and Edgar took an easy catch behind point... a key wicket, being the skipper.
Listen to Sir Richard Hadlee talk to Andrew Alderson about the 1985 'Gabba test:
Paddles made the ball talk. You sensed the Aussies wondered what the hell was coming next. He was challenging them with barely a word spoken which gave it an eerie feeling. I remember standing in the covers watching this clinical display thinking 'what is happening here?'
When I walked out after lunch I had a premonition I was going to get a catch and Border kindly obliged.
[Wayne] Phillips didn't move his feet, trying to drive through cover. [Greg] Matthews got hit in the nuts first ball and the second one got his middle stump. It was a classic dismissal through the gate.
GREG MATTHEWS (courtesy of Macquarie Radio's summer of cricket)
The wicket had plenty in it. On day one it was wet and green.
Listen to Greg Matthews talk to Andrew Alderson about the 1985 'Gabba test
I had four at the end of the first day. At the other end [Kepler] Wessels was playing and missing. Early the next day the ball swung in and he was given out [lbw] not playing a shot. Then it was a case of mopping up after the damage was done.
There were no distractions, it was all about getting the next one. Vaughan Brown came on. Geoff Lawson swept into the air and I ran around and took a simple catch. Brown got his first test wicket and my sequence [of eight] was broken. I got the nine-for, but was still on the scorecard 10 times.
Paddles could've opened his mouth and caught it.
No one seems to remember, but John Wright also dropped a catch [off Brown] at deep square leg, three overs beforehand.
I reminded him [Hadlee] the other week at a NZC board meeting that I was going through a rough patch, bowling a heap of crap really, and Wessels got a thick edge to him at what I think was fourth slip. It was a sharp chance and probably unexpected, because Wessels had taken to me a bit, but he shelled it. He should have only got 14 wickets in the match!
Rich is the third bowler I would pick in my world XI alongside Malcolm Marshall and Wasim Akram, I have enormous respect for him, he bowled brilliantly, and he carried a nation on his back. He was greatness.
BILL LAWRY - CHANNEL NINE COMMENTATOR & FORMER AUSTRALIAN CAPTAIN
In Hadlee and Crowe, New Zealand had two of the all-time great modern cricketers. Those names stamped their place as a team to be reckoned with in the modern era.
At the 'Gabba, Hadlee was sensational, at his absolute best. He carried the New Zealand attack at that time; a beautiful seam bowler - accurate, confident and talented.
Listen to Bill Lawry talk to Andrew Alderson about the 1985 'Gabba test:
THE RECORD TOTAL
To some extent one wouldn't be surprised Crowe got a big score, so I tend to remember John Reid's involvement more, because he was a grafter. He didn't have Crowe's natural talent, and batted a long period for his runs. At the time he wasn't renowned for playing the short ball well, so for him to get a century in those conditions stood out.
The openers got us away solidly [an opening stand of 36], then the partnership [of 224] between Martin and I gave a sense we were stamping our authority and denting the Australians.
Listen to John Reid talk to Andrew Alderson about the 1985 'Gabba test:
CROWE - IN FROM CLOTH CAP TO HELMET (1993)
I probably rate it as my best knock in test cricket. I was able to play my shots and felt I was dictating terms.
Watching Martin bat so superbly, and me pushing ones and twos at the other end made for a fantastic platform.
On faster, harder pitches there were benefits to playing down the ground. You were less vulnerable to getting caught than playing cross-bat shots. It altered my game plan and I consciously told myself to hit straight past mid-off and mid-on. Martin was driving past the bowler superbly and, when they dropped short, he cut and pulled impressively, too.
Martin took it to them, hooking off his nose, and John provided exceptional support.
To bat through, when the wicket was still doing a bit, was special. It wasn't an easy, flat pitch to start and I proved I could score a hundred outside sub-continent or spin-dominated attacks.
I cramped up a bit, probably as much for a lack of fitness as anything. I was never known as a huge trainer. I also overcame a vocal and intense situation with the Australians which, back in the 1980s, was relatively new to me.
They had a few good chirpers who let you know your weaknesses fairly readily and I came to enjoy that as a challenge to overcome and prevail. If you pose a threat you tend to get a bit, don't you?
You'd always heard skeptical backroom chat about John's ability to play fast bowling at that level, but look at his test record; it is unbelievably good [average of 46.28 from 19 tests] against good pace and spin attacks. That partnership was critical because, having bowled so well, it's not unusual for New Zealand teams to stuff it up batting. Those two just repelled the Aussies.
Martin had scored his first ton the year before against England, but this innings was so important for him to further stamp his mark. He wasn't going to be satisfied with just a hundred, he wanted something that really mattered.
I was padded up late on the third day but the light at the 'Gabba goes quickly. We had nothing to lose and were miles ahead, but wanted more quick runs to get at them first thing in morning. Even though it was a bit dark, we were going at it like a Twenty20 match. We must have put on something like 80-90 in final 45 minutes.
Listen to Martin Snedden talk to Andrew Alderson about the 1985 'Gabba test:
We rubbed it in. It was bad light but we were still batting happily and Australia were at a point when their body language said 'we need a break'.
HADLEE ACT II
We came out fresh with a decent lead . It was just a matter of attrition.
We had five down early [for 67] when Border and Matthews settled in. We knew to stay calm because we felt if we broke that partnership we'd get through the tail quickly. Next morning we cleaned them up.
'Mer [Chatfield, three wickets for 75] kept things tight. I was one of the first guys to crouch in a helmet at bat-pad and I remember grabbing a couple of catches there including Wessels in the second innings. It looped up nicely.
In plenty of other games opening together he [Hadlee, six wickets for 71] got wickets and I didn't, but it's a team game and it was a real pleasure bowling with him.
No disrespect to 'Mer Chatfield [in relation to Hadlee]. If ever a bloke 'owned the tea-towel' it was him. He hit one [good length] spot on the wicket all the time. He was a good foil for Rich. I remember getting a couple of bumpers off 'Mer. I understood he never bowled them, so I knew I was irritating someone out there, which was the general idea.
They [the New Zealand team] nicknamed me 'space man'. I took it as a compliment they thought that highly of me to feel the need.
Matthews was unusual in that he was chatting to himself all the time. He got up a lot of people's noses, but we ended up getting on alright with him.
I got knocked over in the third-to-last over [of the fourth day]. AB [Border] and I were seeing it well, we hadn't created any chances and it was a beautiful batting surface.
Richie Benaud interviewed me at stumps. He said 'well batted young lad' and I said 'actually Richie, I blew it'. I was disappointed because when you're 115 there are no excuses for getting knocked over, second new ball or not, because you're seeing it good. It still doesn't sit well.
If I'd lasted the extra few balls I would have had fresh legs the next day on a wicket that wasn't deteriorating. It was just a question of being good enough to hang in there with AB, because he was capable of batting all day. I let myself and the team down. I hated it.
Border is one of the all-time great batsmen, a fighter. He didn't have the best side in the world at the start of his captaincy, but they went from strength to strength. As a player he has few peers in the modern era; his courage and ability were second to none.
It got quieter and quieter in the press box. Normally there was a bit more noise; yabber, yabber, yabber.
Quarter of an hour afterwards there wasn't much yabber. We [New Zealanders] behaved ourselves, didn't get too cocky, but you could see it coming halfway through the fourth day and some of the older hands among the Australian press said 'you've outplayed us'.
It was the first time I'd seen a New Zealand side so utterly in charge from the first over to the last.
I'm pretty quiet in those situations. I'd be lucky to even have one beer in a dressing room at the end of the day. It upsets my stomach. I'd have been more likely to have a bottle of fanta, coke or lemonade.
It was an incredible celebration. I remember lunch on the fifth day, tucking into some barramundi and thinking, we've just won a test in Australia. It was a euphoric feeling.
That barramundi is a nice fish. A couple of beers went down well with it, too.
It was a lot of fun. Mike Moore, who I think was the minister in charge of sport [Minister of Tourism, Sport and Recreation] organised a dozen bottles of champagne, Sir Ron Brierley did the same and somebody else sorted a dozen too. We ended up at the Park Royal by the pool.
I loved the 'Gabba as a ground, it had a fantastic atmosphere, including the greyhound track raised about five to six feet around the outside.
In the semi-to-non-professional era you could also wander 15m to your left out of the dressing room to the Queensland Cricket Club bar at the end of the day and have a few drinks and a barbecue; a lovely place.
There was generally a good rapport between the teams, the  underarm incident hadn't affected that, but the connection during that test wasn't as strong because they were under pressure.
Border was a great guy but a bit uptight as captain. He had earned the nickname Captain Grumpy. He had had criticism in the Ashes because of his friendship with Ian Botham. As a result, he might have been a bit standoffish during that series, but it was the exception for him and his team, rather than the rule.
It was awkward, not because we didn't want to chat to them, but Jerry [Coney] made it difficult to have any form of communication.
I respect and like the bloke but he went out of his way, as did a lot of the old school guys, to make it difficult. New Zealand was an extremely conservative society in the 1980s. My mother and father brought me up to believe I was as good as any man. I didn't like being treating as a second-class citizen and I certainly wasn't going to tolerate that from the opposition. If no cat wanted to talk to me in the Kiwi team, there were plenty of others. I'm not anti or angry about it. It lasted about 15 or so years [with Coney], then we had a beer about it and it was all groovy. He needed to present himself in a certain fashion, like Border in 1989 during the Ashes.
CONEY - IN THE PLAYING MANTIS
We are no heroes or a breed of super people. We are human, a next door neighbour who runs out of milk. At times our job makes us frail, sick and we bend under the pressures. It's an environment in which we learn a lot about ourselves and others all co-existing on the edge. The real danger coping with this pressure is that one erects emotional barricades and screens so that despite our performances we're still safe, inaccessible and impervious to pain and damage. We can become vacant, insipid, depressed and stale. The challenge is to remain human.
Whatever Australian side you play it's always tough. We'd never won there. Even today we've only done it three times.
Border was early in his captaincy but they still had top players. It was a bloody good effort to be honest. Everyone who was part of it can be proud.
It was significant because we had won the odd game overseas in our history, but nowhere near enough. We were winning games in New Zealand, capturing the public imagination and getting good support, but the real challenge was doing it off shore.
CROWE - IN HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY OUT ON A LIMB
I've never seen a bowler sustain such amazing rhythm over a series [as Hadlee did]. He must have felt in the greatest form of his life... I really liked Paddles, finding him to be a genuine, warm, highly motivated New Zealander. He never had a nasty word to say about anyone, demanding only high standards and total professionalism.
In this regard he was a great role model for someone like me. I often would ask him about ways to find extra motivation and he was always approachable...
Australia was pretty daunting on my first tour in 1980 up against the likes of [Dennis] Lillee, [Greg] Chappell, [Rod] Marsh and [Doug] Walters, but those guys had gone by the mid-80s and Australia was in a state of transition after the rebel tour to South Africa which ripped the guts out of the next layer of cricketers. We'd become reasonably battle-hardened and they were all over the show, which was a reversal of roles.
At the time they were in turmoil and they had had a clean out. There was a feeling they were rebuilding and we caught them at the optimum time, but the 'Gabba had more bounce than most wickets in Australia and we had to adapt.
There was a slight inferiority complex, but that's been put to bed several times since and the current side are indicating they could do the same.
They're probably in the same situation as we were in 1985. The keys are Trent Boult and Tim Southee bowling well and whether our batters can handle Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson.
New Zealand had a wonderful opportunity to create history. Jerry marshalled his troops well. I don't want to be disrespectful to the present day side, but they remind me of their 1980s forebears. They're well led by Brendon McCullum, everyone knows their job and they play a great brand of cricket but, at this stage, they probably don't have that brilliance of Hadlee.
Kane Williamson is dynamic though and he will play a huge role this summer. There's pressure on him, but he's done it everywhere around the world. He looks the bomb, but Marty [Crowe] did it over an extended period, and in the greatest decade of global cricket.
New Zealand are as strong as they've been in the time I've watched. They're a chance of giving Australia a shake in these three tests. They have a settled side; no superstars but an evenly-balanced XI.
They're against a new-look Australian team which is not as established. Australia will start as favourites because they're at home, but I don't think they're odds-on by any means.
CROWE - IN HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY OUT ON A LIMB
We had a great side in 1985. Led by Jerry Coney and spearheaded by Richard Hadlee, it was full of experience and skill. The Brisbane test... was the perfect example of how well we could play. Of course it will, and should, go down in history as Hadlee's match, for he took 15 superb wickets... But many others chipped in as well, John Reid and I scored excellent centuries, backed up Jeff Crowe, Coney and Hadlee in the batting, and great support from Chatfield with the ball. Allied to that was our slick fielding and overall professionalism. We had given Australia their worst nightmare...
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