ENGLAND v WEST INDIES 1950

Fourth Test Match

ENGLAND v WEST INDIES 1950

L.S.

Toss: West Indies. Test debuts: M.J.Hilton, A.J.W.McIntyre, D.S.Sheppard.

Even a wonderful display by Hutton could not save England, and West Indies won the rubber by three matches to one, confirming their all-round superiority in emphatic style. For the first time in the series Denis Compton was available, but chances of England fielding a full-strength team were upset when Evans broke a thumb, Washbrook was injured in a county match, and Parkhouse developed a bad cold. Once again the selectors had to call on late substitutes. Sheppard was brought in after the team had been announced, and the day before the match Coxon, the Yorkshire bowler, was asked to attend. Some confusion arose, for Lowson, the Yorkshire batsman, was first chosen, but when the selectors heard that there was doubt about Bailey they changed their minds and selected a bowler. In fact England fielded almost a completely new team. Brown took over the captaincy from Yardley, and Hutton, Sheppard, Compton, Bailey, McIntyre, Hilton and Wright replaced Washbrook, Parkhouse, Insole, Shackleton, Evans, Jenkins and Hollies. That left only Simpson, Dewes and Bedser of the beaten Nottingham eleven. Coxon was twelfth man.

Goddard won the toss, making matters even in that respect, and, as events turned out, this became vitally important. It was soon obvious that the new England attack would fare no better than its predecessors, despite the fact that Wright bowled superbly. Rae and Stollmeyer scored slowly, and their opening stand produced 72 in one and three-quarter hours. Worrell was nearly dismissed before scoring, but Simpson's throw from mid wicket to McIntyre went too high and the chance was lost. This proved very costly, for the second wicket put on 172. Rae remained as solid as ever and took five hours to score 109.

Worrell did not show anything like the same skill as at Nottingham in the previous Test, and, indeed, batted like a man out of form. The batsmen were handicapped because the ball came slowly off the pitch and for most of the time played it far higher up the bat than usual. When Rae left at half-past five, England faced the prospect of the last hour bowling to Worrell and Weekes, but Weekes, too, did not show his best form, and he hit a long-hop into the hands of mid-off, giving Wright his only success off one of the extremely rare bad balls he sent down that day.

On Monday, Worrell took three-quarters of an hour over six runs, but his slowness was explained when he retired through an attack of giddiness due to stomach trouble. Walcott and Christiani did not last long, but England were checked by Gomez and Goddard, who put on 109, and their partnership, lasting two hours, gave Worrell time to recover. The sight of Worrell resuming his innings at 446 for six must have been a heart-breaking moment for the England team, but he added only 22 runs. Worrell batted five hours five minutes for 138 and hit seventeen fours.

Hutton and Simpson, making little effort to score during the last seventy minutes, obtained 29 runs, but Simpson, when four, might have been caught off Jones at first slip. Next day the grim fight for runs continued, and when Simpson left after two hours twenty minutes only 73 runs were on the board. Sheppard did not inspire confidence during a short stay, and at 120 for two Compton joined Hutton.

Compton took some time to fathom the wiles of Ramadhin and Valentine, but Hutton never looked in trouble and he completed his first 100 of the Tests in four and a quarter hours. Then he opened out and brought off many scorching cover drives. Compton showed increasing confidence and all looked to be going well when tragedy occurred. Their stand of 109 ended when Compton was run out. Hutton turned a ball to leg and Compton ran. Hutton started, but checked himself and refused the call. Compton, instead of turning back, ran on and was out by half the length of the pitch.

Rain held up play for an hour and Dewes left soon afterwards, but Hutton remained all day and was 160 not out at the close. Heavy overnight and morning rain followed by warm sunshine made the pitch treacherours on Wednesday and the early play was packed with drama. Everything hinged on whether England's last six wickets could score 72 more runs to make West Indies bat on the difficult surface. England failed by ten.

Hutton again rose magnificently to the occasion, but he lost partners rapidly against balls which lifted and turned nastily after the first few overs. Wright, the last man, joined Hutton with 28 still wanted to save the follow-on. Hutton took most of the bowling and excitement became intense as the runs slowly came, but at length Wright was lbw and England were made to bat again 159 behind. Hutton carried his bat for 202 and did not give a single chance during his stay of seven hours fifty minutes. He hit twenty-two fours in the highest innings ever played against West Indies in England. It beat his own 196 made at Lord's in 1939. Nobody who saw his effort of concentration and perfect stroke play will forget the great attempt he made to save his country.

Hutton immediately went in again and, not unnaturally, this time he failed. The England innings was almost a procession. At tea-time the score stood at 70 for four, and the match was over three-quarters of an hour later. Sheppard made a brave show lasting two hours, but nobody else reached 20. The sixth, seventh and eighth wickets all fell at 83, the left-arm spinners of Valentine being almost unplayable. Because of a strained groin Worrell did not bowl or field on the last day, but he was not really wanted because Goddard filled the breach admirably with his sharp off-breaks delivered at medium pace. The West Indies fielded splendidly, notably Weekes at slip and short-leg. In the match Weekes held five catches and Trestrail, who acted as deputy for Worrell, made two catches.

© John Wisden & Co