WEST INDIES v ENGLAND 1953-54

Third Test Match

WEST INDIES v ENGLAND 1953-54

At Georgetown, British Guiana, February 24, 25, 26, 27, March 1, 2. England won by nine wickets. For the first time in the series the West Indies were at full strength, but England, working together well as a team, won on their merits. A fine cricket match was marred by disgraceful crowd scenes on the fourth day.

By winning the toss for the first time in eight Tests, Hutton gave England a distinct moral advantage and, after the early loss of Watson and May, he and Compton put the side on the way to a big total. Hutton (one 6 and twenty-four 4's) played faultlessly for seven hours and three-quarters. He concentrated mainly on safety, but occasionally he produced a cover-drive, cut or leg glance which revealed his superb technique. The promotion of Wardle to provide aggression from the other end to his tiring captain brought successful results, and Bailey batted with his customary Test vigilance. Throughout a long innings the West Indies bowled and fielded excellently and, when dismissing Laker, Valentine became the youngest cricketer to take 100 Test wickets.

The vital period of the game came in the three-quarters of an hour in which West Indies batted before lunch on the third morning. In that time Statham, bowling with rare devil, dismissed Worrell, Stollmeyer and Walcott for ten runs. Stollmeyer was beaten by an inswinger which pitched on his middle and leg stumps and struck the off. Rain washed out further play for the day, but on the Saturday the West Indies collapse continued until seven men were out for 139 Of these the punishing Weekes made 94. He hit with shattering power.

Recovery came through McWatt, given lives at 141 and 158, and Holt, who went in late because of a pulled leg muscle which restricted his movement and necessitated the use of a runner. Trying for a second run which would have taken the stand to 100, McWatt was run out through a fast return by May.

Apparently disagreeing with the decision of Menzies, the umpire and groundsman, sections of the crowd hurled bottles and wooden packing-cases on to the field and some of the players were fortunate to escape injury. The President of the British Guiana Cricket Association went out and suggested to Hutton that the players should leave but Hutton preferred to remain. He wanted more wickets. His was a courageous action for which he deserved much praise. In the last over England took another wicket and early on the fifth day they enforced the follow-on.

This time Holt, although still limping, went in first. He and Stollmeyer gave the innings a sound start before Compton, at short fine-leg, dived to his right and clutched a one-hand catch from Stollmeyer. Once more Statham quickly disposed of Worrell and, although Weekes and Gomez batted resolutely, England never lost grip. Towards the end of the day the ball began to turn and keep low, but generally conditions favoured batsmen. Consistently accurate bowling, two first-rate slip catches by Graveney and a surprisingly high standard of fielding all round featured England's work in the second innings.

To give practice to his younger players, Hutton changed the batting order when England wanted 73 to win. The runs came in an hour, Watson finishing the match with a 6.

© John Wisden & Co