ENGLAND v AUSTRALIA 1950-51

Fourth Test Match

ENGLAND v AUSTRALIA 1950-51

At Adelaide, February 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8. Australia won by 274 runs. More than any other factor, inconsistent, and occasionally injudicious, batting brought England to their seventh successive Test defeat. From this criticism Hutton earned complete, and Sheppard and Simpson, partial exemption.

When the gallant Bedser forced Archer into a leg-trap catch from the third ball of the game, he looked to have neutralised much of England's disadvantage in losing the toss. Nothing else occurred, however, on the opening day to disturb Australia's serenity on a slow, easy-paced pitch. Like the good, thoughtful captain he showed himself to be, Hassett protected Morris from his bĂȘte noir, Bedser, during the first hour, and gradually Morris settled down to a long innings which did not end until he was partnered by the last man, Iverson.

By ordinary standards Morris played well, but not until the later stages did he produce his most scintillating form. His innings, generally, was that of a man fighting to regain confidence. The measure of his care against Bedser was shown in his first 100. Then he had scored seven runs from 51 balls Bedser bowled to him. In breaking his sequence of low totals Morris made his seventh Test century against England and first double hundred in international cricket. Four years earlier he hit a century in each innings against England on the same ground. This time Morris batted with the utmost watchfulness for seven and three-quarter hours and with scarcely a false stroke. Most of his twenty-three 4's came in his second hundred.

When Miller began the second day by smiting Bedser for four from each of the first three balls and so carrying Australia to 266 for three, most of the 32,000 spectators must have forecast a mammoth total, but so well did England hit back that in the next two hours forty minutes the last seven Australia wickets went down for 105 runs. Bedser recovered from the early blows so rapidly that his figures for the day were 7-l-26-2; Wright (11-1-33-3) found his rhythm and a nagging length, and Tattersall (11.3-4-49-3) amply justified his selection.

The poverty of England's reply only served to illuminate Hutton. The speed of Lindwall and Miller, the spin of Iverson and Johnson, and the mixture of spin and swing provided by Johnston held no terrors for him, and for the second time within six months he carried his bat through an England innings, a feat not accomplished against Australia since R. Abel (Surrey) made 132 not out at Sydney in 1891-92. Hutton should have been stumped off Johnson when 34 and he gave a hard chance to mid-off when 135, but these were small blemishes in an innings that transcended all else in the match. His only worthwhile support came from Simpson, who stayed while 73 were added for the second wicket, and from Wright in a last-wicket stand of 53. Hutton batted ten minutes over six hours and hit eleven 4's.

Against Hutton the bowling looked almost mediocre, but most of the other batsmen made it appear lethal. Washbrook and Compton were again the two biggest disappointments in the English side. Both fell to Lindwall, Washbrook in his second over of the innings and Compton when leg-glancing the fourth ball of the fourth morning.

A century on Test debut by 20-year-old Burke, another sedate innings by Miller, who simultaneously hit his wicket and was bowled when trying to obtain a single for his century, and a flirtation with the fates which brought Harvey 68 runs, added concrete to Australia's already solid foundations, and when Hassett declared England wanted 503 to win. Burke, mainly a back player, revealed sound defence and an ideal temperament. He played Wright specially well and made no noticeable error in stroke-play. Most of his runs came from cuts and glances.

Washbrook and Hutton began with the biggest opening stand by either side in the Tests before Loxton, at mid-wicket, fielding substitute for Iverson (injured ankle at practice before the start of the third day), held a fierce hook from Hutton. Even when Johnston sent back Washbrook and Compton in three balls shortly before the close of the fifth day the pitch was playing so well that the issue was by no means certain. Simpson and Sheppard bore out this contention with a timely stand of two hours ten minutes, which continued until the last over before lunch on the final day. At that point Australia were showing unmistakable signs of flagging. Then Simpson's concentration lapsed.

Australia returned fresh for a final assault and England's batting broke down again, the last five wickets falling in half an hour. Miller took three for 3 in three overs of slow off-spinners, Evans and Bedser being out to his first two balls. Some of the strokes were not in keeping with the situation.

If he had considered any possibility existed of saving the game, England's captain, Brown, who was injured in a car accident after the fourth day's play, would have batted, but the cause was lost.

© John Wisden & Co