26 all out: the nightmare that still haunts New Zealand cricket


Wellington: It has been described as New Zealand cricket’s darkest day, the 1955 Test against England when the Black Caps were skittled for just 26, a record low that still stands today.

Even 65 years later, the embarrassing score still rankles with New Zealand fans, who are always on alert during a major Test collapse and death-ride the batting team hoping the record falls.

“Frankly, as a New Zealand fan we’d be grateful for anyone to take this record away from us,” Paul Ford, co-founder of Kiwi cricket supporters’ group The Beige Brigade, told AFP.

“It’s ignominious, it’s shameful. It would be great if someone came along and scored 25 or fewer.” The Test cricket landscape in 1955 was vastly different to today.

India had recorded their first Test victory only three years before, Pakistan debuted in the five-day game barely two years previously and Sri Lanka were still 27 years away from gaining Test status.

Australia and England were the undisputed heavyweights of the era with South Africa, the West Indies and New Zealand, who had not yet won a Test, in supporting roles.

England arrived in New Zealand for two Tests full of confidence after their first Ashes series win in Australia for 22 years.

The New Zealand Test team had been out of action for more than a year and had been unsettled by inconsistent selection.

Even so, they made England toil for an eight-wicket victory in the opening Test in Dunedin and were reasonably placed midway through the second match in Auckland, having conceded a first-innings deficit of 46 runs.