England v Australia 1886 - Second Test Match

The meeting of England and Australia at Lord's is by almost common consent reckoned to be the most important match of a Colonial tour in this country, and the immense superiority of the best Eleven in England over Australia, as represented by the Melbourne Club team of 1886, was clearly and unmistakably proved. As usual, the choice of the home team excited a good deal of controversy, but, on the whole, the side that went into the field gave very little dissatisfaction. Mr. Tylecote was chosen as wicketkeeper in preference to Pilling or Sherwin, in order to strengthen the batting of the eleven. The Australians made one change from the team that had run England to four wickets at Manchester, playing Evans in place of Bruce. In this match, however, Evans proved practically useless, for he did not score a run in either innings and did not take a wicket. The first day's play was greatly interfered with by rain, and altogether cricket lasted for four hours and a half. In that time, however, some remarkable batting was shown by the Englishmen, who had the good fortune to win the toss. At first the wicket was in splendid condition, but the rain which fell between twenty-five minutes past twelve and a quarter to two altered its character, and for the greater part of the time that Shrewsbury and Scotton were together the bowlers had a distinct advantage. Despite the unfavourable circumstances, between 12,000 and 13,000 persons visited the ground, the actual number that paid for admission being 11,128. Mr. Grace was caught at the wicket when the score was 27, and after that Scotton and Shrewsbury, by some wonderful defence wore down the Australian bowling, and took the total up to 77 before the left-hander was clean bowled by Garrett. Throughout the remainder of the day Shrewsbury played one of his very finest innings, meeting all the bowling with ease and confidence, and scarcely ever seeming in difficulties. He received some valuable support from Mr. Read and Barnes and when stumps were drawn for the day the English score stood at 202 for four wickets, Shrewsbury not out 91, Barnes not out 28.

On the second day the weather was much more favourable, and the cricket proceeded without interruption from half-past eleven until half-past six. There was an immense crowd of spectators, the number paying for admission being 15,663. Shrewsbury and Barnes continued batting, and the latter was not dismissed until the score had reached 280, the famous Nottingham pair having added during their partnership no fewer than 161 runs. Later on Ulyett hit freely for 19, and ultimately the innings closed for 353. Shrewsbury, who had gone in first wicket down with the score at 27, was the last man out, and too much praise cannot be afforded him for his most extraordinary performance. He was at the wickets for six hours and fifty minutes, and though he gave a couple of difficult chances, there was scarcely any fault to be found with his batting. It should be stated that the wicket on this morning was rapidly improving, but Shrewsbury had thoroughly mastered all the varying conditions of the ground. His figures were sixteen 4's, eight 3's, sixteen 2's, and 44 singles, and up to this time his 164 was the largest score, ever made against Australian bowling in England. The Australians had always had such a reputation for playing an uphill game, that many people naturally expected great things from them, more especially as when they went in the wicket afforded bowlers little assistance. As it turned out, however, the batting was of a most disappointing character, and though Scott and Jones put on 45 runs for the first wicket, the whole side were out for the poor total of 121. The chief cause of this remarkable breakdown was the superb bowling of the Lancashire professional, Briggs, who was put on as first change, and took five wickets at a cost of only 29 runs. The English fielding could scarcely have been improved upon. Going in a second time against the formidable majority of 232, the Australians lost one wicket, that of Garrett, for 12 runs, before the call of time.

As the weather retained fine on the third day, and the wicket became, if anything, rather easier, there were still many people who believed in the ability of the Australians to make the game a draw, and at one time it seemed quite likely that this result would be arrived at, for Palmer, Trumble, and Jones all batted with extreme caution. When the score was 76 for two wickets, however, Briggs was put on at the pavilion end in place of Steel, a change which proved to be the turning-point of the innings. From this pavilion end Briggs bowled with even greater success than he had met with on the previous day when he was bowling from the nursery wicket, and one after another the Australians went down before him. At a quarter past three the whole side were out for 126, and the Australians thus suffered a most crushing and decisive defeat by an innings and 106 runs. Briggs, who was immensely cheered all round the ground, took six wickets at a cost of only 45 runs, so that in the whole match he obtained eleven wickets for 74 runs. The honours of the victory undoubtedly rested with Shrewsbury, Briggs, and Barnes. On this last day 6,224 persons paid for admission, making a total for the three days of 33,015. Eighty per cent. of the gate money went to the Australians, and the remaining 20 per cent, amounting roughly to £165, was presented by the M.C.C. to the Cricketers' Fund.

© John Wisden & Co