Four changes were made from the England team that had gone into the field against the Australians at Lord's, W. G. Grace, W. W. Read, Albert Ward, and Briggs taking the places of Maurice Read, Peel, Wainwright, and Flowers. These alterations undoubtedly strengthened the side, which, although short of a medium pace right-handed bowling, was exceptionally powerful in batting, no fewer than seven of the eleven having averages of 33 and over. The game, which was the only one of the three Test matches brought to a definite issue, proved a great triumph for English cricket, the Australians being beaten by an innings and 43 runs.
The proceeds of the match were set apart for the benefit of the well-known and popular Surrey batsman, Maurice Read, and although the end was reached early on the third day, a sum of twelve hundred pounds was, we understand, realised from the receipts at the gates and the subscription lists.
Again the Englishmen won the toss, but whereas at Lord's they derived no benefit therefrom, it was a distinct advantage at Kennington Oval. They made splendid use of their opportunity, batting so well on the capital wicket that at the close of the first day they had obtained 378 runs for the loss of only half their wickets. Another admirable commencement was made by Grace and Stoddart, who, beginning the England innings shortly after midday, were still together at the luncheon interval, when the score had been carried to 134 - Stoddart not out 71, and Grace not out 63. Afterwards the total was raised to 151, and then the partnership, which had lasted two hours and a quarter, came to an end.
Stoddart was first dismissed, his innings of 83, although marred by a considerable number of more or less easy chances, including some very fine hits. I may be mentioned that during the first hour the ball now and then got up in an awkward style. Before another run had been added Grace was out for a really admirable innings of 68, in making which the famous batsman had displayed some of his highest skill. Shrewsbury and Gunn put on 49 runs at a fair pace before Gunn was bowled, middle stump, and though Albert Ward, who followed, did not commence too well, he and Shrewsbury gradually wore down the Australian bowling. In all 103 runs were added in about an hour and a half before Shrewsbury's fine innings was brought to a close. Ward left soon afterwards, the latter portion of the Lancashire professional's 55 being characterised by real excellence. Three-quarters of an hour then remained for cricket, and Jackson and Walter Read knocked the bowling about so freely that 67 more runs were put on before the call of time, when the Cambridge captain had made 49, and Read 21.
There was another tremendous gathering of people on the second day, and the success which attended the efforts of the Englishmen was naturally keenly appreciated, although, no doubt, many of the spectators would have liked to have seen the Colonials make a better fight. Jackson and Read, while together, headed the best total previously made by England against Australia - 434 in 1886at the Oval - and in all put on 131 runs for the sixth wicket, the total being up to 442 when the Surrey batsman was out for a creditable 52. Jackson soon afterwards headed Stoddart's score, but the last few batsmen did little with Giffen, and when Mold came in Jackson still wanted a single to complete his hundred. There was a most exciting over bowled by Giffen to Jackson, the batsman being in sad difficulties with one or two balls, but at length he lifted one right on to the covered seats, and so achieved the great distinction of making a hundred for England against Australia. He was directly afterwards run out for a grandly-hit innings of 103, which lasted two hours, and included thirteen 4s, four 3s, and eleven 2s.
The English innings extended over seven hours, and amounted to the huge score of 483. There was an extraordinary breakdown in the batting of the Australians, for after Bannerman and Lyons had put on 30 for the first wicket, seven batsmen were actually dismissed for an addition of 29 runs. In all the innings occupied only an hour and forty minutes, the last wicket falling for 91 - a wretchedly poor score, considering that the wicket was fast and true, even allowing for the particularly skilful bowling of Lockwood and Briggs. The Australians followed on, 392 runs in arrear, and a very different display of batting was given. Bruce went in first with Bannerman, and the play was so free that 54 runs were made in little more than half an hour for the first wicket. Afterwards Giffen and Bannerman, by fine cricket, not only sent up the hundred but raised the score to 126 before Bannerman was out, whilst at the drawing of stumps 158 runs had been made for the loss of two wickets.
For some time on Wednesday, although the Australians were in a desperate position, there seemed no slight possibility that they would give the Englishmen a lot of trouble. Indeed, the total reached 340 with only six men out, but then the batting broke down so completely that the innings closed for the addition of nine more runs, and England was left with a single innings victory. Giffen was soon out, but Trott and Graham played a great game, and added 106 runs for the fifth wicket. Trott, indeed, showed really superb cricket, and probably his 92 was the finest exhibition he has ever given in England. His innings lasted just over two hours, and included seventeen 4s. A little before the breakdown in the second innings Lyons, after being missed before he had got a run, did some tremendous hitting for about twenty minutes.