The greatness of Hobbs
The match report of the last day of the fifth Test at The Oval, August 1926, from the 1926 edition of The Cricketer
Finer cricket on a difficult wicket than Hobbs and Sutcliffe played I have never seen. Much, almost everything, indeed, depended on them. If one or both had failed, England might easily have lost five or six men before lunch, for the ball took the spin quickly, and when the sun--which at first hid its face--came out after the first hour, the ball, particularly from Richardson's bowling, kicked up frequently in a disconcerting manner.
But once again the two famous batsmen proved equal to the greatest emergency, and no praise can be too high for what they did. They have made their names immortal in the history of cricket.
Grimmett and Macartney were the bowlers when they began, at eleven o'clock, and from the first ball it was a duel of the sternest kind. For nearly forty minutes Sutcliffe did not score a run, and Macartney bowled nine overs for two runs. Only three runs were made off nine overs from Richardson, and the manner in which both bats- men--and particularly Hobbs, who took charge for the most part at the end to which Richardson was bowling--gave the rising ball the "dead bat " was masterly.
I have never seen Hobbs show himself a greater batsman than he did on Tuesday, and Sutcliffe was equally great. Tremendous was the applause when the two men came back to the pavilion at the luncheon interval, with the score at 161--Hobbs g, Sutcliffe 5.
Almost immediately after lunch Hobbs completed his hundred, and pandemonium broke loose, the game being interrupted for several minutes while cheer after cheer rent the air. A minute or two later he was walking back to the pavilion, a fine ball of Gregory's knocking off the off bail. Hobbs gave no chance whatsoever, and in all his long and splendid career he has never played a finer or more valuable innings. 172-1-100.
Woolley made a 4 between mid-on and short-leg off the first ball he received from Gregory, and he was playing well when he was given out l.b.w. to Richardson. The second wicket added 48 runs, and the third 57, but Hendren was not in form.
Chapman was clean bowled at 316, but Stevens looked like playing out time with Sutcliffe when at twenty minutes past six he made a careless stroke, and was caught at cover- point.
In the last over of the day Mailey going on for the first time at the Vauxhall end, clean bowled Sutcliffe with a very fine leg-break. In his great innings Sutcliffe gave no chance. His defence and judgment were perfect, and his best strokes were off-drives and square-cuts. He punished anything loose on the leg side, his hitting to long-leg off Mailey and Grimmett being very good. What he and Hobbs accomplished on Tuesday will be talk of as long as cricket is played. A big match player, if ever there was one, is Sutcliffe.