Evans fast off mark with praise (3 March 1999)

3 March 1999

Evans fast off mark with praise

By Brendan Gallagher

GODFREY EVANS, now 78, sent warm congratulations to Geoff Allott last night as the former Kent and England wicketkeeper was finally relieved of his slow scoring record.

"I'm absolutely delighted. The chap was obviously doing a very good job for his team," enthused Evans, who took 97 minutes to get off the mark in the fourth Test against Australia at Adelaide in Feb 1947.

"When I arrived at the Cricketers' Club in London this morning they said one of my records had been broken. I've only got one left so I knew exactly what had happened!"

Evans's effort started 45 minutes before the close on the fifth day when the temperature was still 107F. With a full day's play to come, England were 255 for eight in their second innings, 228 ahead of Australia.

"As I went in Wally Hammond said: 'If you get out we are going to lose this match. Stay there as long as you can and give Denis Compton the strike.' So we only ran twos or fours when he hit the ball."

England continued in similar vein the following morning, despite complaints from Donald Bradman, the Australia captain. "I finally scored a two myself. Of course I got a tremendous cheer, I'd been in so long."

Compton completed his second century of the game and Evans eventually made 10 not out before England reached safety and declared. Evans attributed his resistance to bloody-mindedness, but Wisden insisted it was evidence of a "splendid defence". After play on the final evening, Evans was handed a telegram: "Never did one man bat for so long for little." The message was signed by Winston Churchill.

Source :: Electronic Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk)