No. 2 December 21, 2008

A Test is tied

Hall, Meckiff, Kline, Solomon. It all came down to one ball.

The freeze frame that captures the climax of one of the greatest Tests ever © Cricinfo Ltd

Brisbane, 14 December, 1960

A famous conversation embodying the much-vaunted spirit of Australian cricket took place at the Gabba during the tea adjournment on the final day of the first Australia-West Indies Test match on December 14, 1960.

Seeking 233 runs at a rate of about 45 an hour for victory Australia had been poleaxed by the monolithic Wes Hall, and were stumbling at 109 for 6, with about 120 minutes to go.

As was his habit, Sir Donald Bradman, the chairman of selectors, made his way to the rooms for a cup of tea. Looking straight at Richie Benaud, Australia's captain, he said: "What's it going to be?"

"Well, we're going for a win," replied Benaud.

"I'm very pleased to hear it," replied Sir Donald.

After assisting the great allrounder Alan Davidson in putting on 134 for the seventh wicket, Benaud, having counselled his partner against taking any unnecessary risks running between wickets, promptly committed himself to an impossible single and was run out.

The final over by the indomitable, charismatic Hall has claims to being the most fantastic ever bowled in Test cricket. Australia, now in pursuit of six runs, lost three wickets in seven deliveries. While there was a succession of defining moments, it was the seventh delivery that has become such a part of the rich lore of the game.

With the scores tied, Ian Meckiff tremulously waited for Hall. Meckiff received a ball pitched in line with middle and leg, and played it towards square leg and ran. Joe Solomon moved swiftly to make a clean interception, and with just one stump to aim at threw down the wicket. After 83 years, a tied Test.

Mike Coward is a cricket writer with the Australian