Was It All Cricket?
The first post-war team to visit New Zealand was the 1946 Australian XI, but they overwhelmed our sides even more than Trott's 1896 team had done. Most of our players seemed overawed by the occasion and found the cleverness of O'Reilly and the pace of Lindwall too much for them. Our sole crumbs of comfort were two outstanding performances, when W. A. Hadlee, playing for Otago, made 198, and Cowie, in the Test Match, reproduced his best bowling form of pre-war years.
The following season, Hammond's M.C.C. Team found our players more sure of themselves; Hadlee again batted splendidly with a dashing 126 in the Test Match, and a new star shone when B. Sutcliffe, the brilliant young Aucklander, temporarily transferred to Dunedin, made scores of 197 and 126 in the Otago match, and 58 in the Test. This 23 year old lad returned from the War almost unknown, but soon demonstrated that experiences in the Cricket of the Middle East, which developed M. P. Donnelly into such a fine player, had also given New Zealand another champion left-hander. Cowie was our only outstanding bowler, but the fielding was the best I have seen here for many years.
It will thus be seen that New Zealand Cricket is already approaching pre-war standard.