K.W.R. Fletcher

178

vs New ZealandBack to boards

England could have been facing defeat to the New Zealanders at Lord’s in 1973 had it not been for an obdurate 178 from Keith Fletcher.

Fletcher batted for a six and a quarter hours, hitting 21 fours and two sixes in an innings that helped defy New Zealand, as he batted out for almost all of the final day, falling only five minutes before the close of play.

England had begun the final day on 224 for 2, still 74 runs behind the Kiwis who had made a mammoth 551 for 9 declared. Bevan Congdon, Mark Burgess and Vic Pollard had all hit centuries to take a hefty first innings lead of 298.

Fletcher was the fulcrum of the England second innings, forming patient partnerships with his colleagues but hit the accelerator when required, realising that runs were as important as batting time and he guided his side to 463 for 9 as the match was drawn.

England went on to win the three-match series 2-0.