Second Test match

England v Australia 1902

The second Test match was utterly ruined by rain, play being restricted to an hour and three-quarters on the opening day. Cricket on Friday was out of the question, and on Saturday morning, the ground being almost under water, the match was abandoned about a quarter past eleven, it being seen at once that there was no possibility of going on. The Australians entered upon the match under grave disadvantages, the wretched weather experienced at this period of the season having for the time quite upset the health of the team. Trumble, who had just started playing, was laid up with influenza, Howell was in the same plight, and Darling, Noble and Saunders, though they took part in the game, were all more or less weak as the result of recent indisposition. TL Taylor had been chosen as 12th man for England, but he was not called upon to play, it being decided to depend on the same eleven that appeared at Birmingham.

The game, so far as it went, was eventful enough to satisfy the strongest appetite for sensational cricket, England, starting their innings at a quarter to three, losing Fry and Ranjitsinhji without a run, and then being saved from collapse by MacLaren and Jackson. Fry was caught at short leg in the second over from a deplorable stroke, and Ranjitsinhji bowled off his pad in the fourth over, Hopkins having the distinction of taking both wickets. MacLaren, who had gone in first, was then joined by Jackson, and before a run had been scored rain drove the players from the field. However, the game was soon in progress again, and apart from the fact that Jackson narrowly escaped being caught at slip from a very bad stroke, the batting was admirable. Rain set in again when the score had reached 19, Jackson having made 15 of the runs, and for some time it seemed likely that further cricket during the day would be impracticable. Just after five o'clock, however, the umpires decided that the game could proceed, and in a bad light MacLaren and Jackson in the course of an hour and a quarter took the total to 102 without being separated. MacLaren, apart from a one-handed chance to Darling in the slips off Trumper's bowling, when he had made 34, showed perfect cricket. His back play was wonderfully strong, and twice he scored most cleverly on the on side from fast-rising balls. Jackson was lucky in making two or three strokes that fell out of harm's way, and with his score at 45 he would have been caught at mid-off if Saunders instead of standing in his place and throwing himself forward had moved a yard to get to the ball. Still, there was much that was excellent in his innings, every fair opportunity of getting runs being seized. The two batsmen were enthusiastically cheered at the drawing of stumps, and people went home contented, a total of 102 for two wickets promising great things for England on a pitch that was never likely to be easy. However, the rain on Friday and Saturday dashed all hopes, and the second Test match like the first had to be abandoned.

© John Wisden & Co