Third Test match

England v Australia 1902

Played at SHEFFIELD, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, July 3, 4, 5. Australia won by 143 runs. The third of the Test Matches was brought to a definite conclusion and resulted in a severe disaster for England, the Australians winning at a quarter past one on the Saturday, by 143 runs. They played the finer all-round cricket, and fully deserved their victory, but it is no more than the truth to say that all the luck of the game went their way. Bad light towards the close of the first day and a pitch damaged by rain the following morning told against the Englishmen, and in the closing stage of the match the wicket showed unmistakable signs of wear. An appeal against the light might well have been made earlier than it was on Thursday, and the saving of two wickets thereby involved would possibly have put the elevens on equal terms on the first innings. The match - the first of its kind ever decided at Bramall Lane - naturally proved a strong attraction, but a mistake was made in fixing it for the latter part of the week, Monday being always the best day for public cricket at Sheffield. The Australians played the same eleven that afterwards represented them in the Test games at Manchester and the Oval, the three men left out being Jones, Howell and Carter. The presence of Hugh Trumble in itself made them stronger than they had been either at Birmingham or at Lord"s. As regards the England team, Lockwood and Haigh were among the twelve players selected but they were both left out, the final place being given at almost the last moment to Barnes. As the Lancashire bowler took six wickets on the first day at a cost of only 49 runs criticism was disarmed, but in the light of subsequent events there can be no question that a grave mistake was committed in not playing Lockwood. It was not originally intended to play C. B. Fry, who on the day before the match had to take the place of Ranjitsinhji - disabled by a strained leg.

At one point on the first day the Englishmen had much the best of the match as, after getting rid of the Australians for 194, they had 60 on the board when their first wicket went down. When, however, a quarter of an hour before the time for drawing stumps the bad light was successfully appealed against, five wickets had fallen for 102. The cause of this startling change in the game was the bowling of Noble and Saunders, Noble, who had previously shown the best batting for his side, being in wonderful form. Sufficient rain fell in the night to affect the wicket for a time, and the Englishmen on resuming their innings cut such an inglorious figure that by a quarter to twelve the innings was all over for 145, the last seven wickets having actually gone down for 44 runs. The batsmen on the second morning were quite at fault in dealing with Saunders" breakbacks. Holding a useful lead of 49 the Australians went in for the second time, and in the course of the three hours and fifty minutes they ran up a total of 289. This was quite enough to make them pretty sure of the match, but at one time they seemed likely to do a great deal better, their score when the fourth wicket fell standing at 187. Rhodes finished off the innings with a wonderful piece of bowling, taking four wickets in nineteen balls. At the start of the innings MacLaren made a mistake in not putting him on at the end from which Saunders had been so successful. Trumper in the course of the season made many bigger scores than his 62 but on no occasion did he play a more marvellous innings. He obtained his runs out of a total of 80 in fifty minutes, doing just what he liked with the English bowling. Hill, who went in first wicket down at 20 and was out at 225 to a wonderful catch - high up at cover slip with one hand - played a great innings on a wicket that was never easy. His cricket was not entirely free from fault as when his score stood between 70 and 80 he might have been caught at slip, and gave a very difficult chance in the long-field, but these were small blemishes in a most brilliant display. He was batting for rather less than two hours and a half. Darling, it should be mentioned, had a very unhappy experience in the match, being in each innings caught at slip off Barnes, without getting a run.

England wanted 339 to win, and it was felt that the task would prove too heavy. However, a good start was made, the experiment of sending Jessop in first with Abel proving a great success. Without being in any way reckless the famous hitter played a brilliant game and, when just before six o"clock, bad light stopped cricket for the day, he was not out 53, the total being 73 for one wicket. Any hopes that the Englishmen might have had were soon destroyed on Saturday morning, Jessop, Tyldesley and Fry being all dismissed in the first half hour for an addition of 25 runs. MacLaren made a great effort to save a lost game, and for nearly an hour found a valuable partner in Jackson, but it was all to no purpose. After Jackson"s dismissal at 162 the end soon came, the last five wickets falling for 33 runs. In this closing part of the match Noble bowled magnificently, breaking back again and again in an unplayable way. His average from the time he went on for Saunders on Saturday morning came out at five wickets in twelve overs for 22 runs, and in the whole match he took eleven wickets for 103 runs. Trumble who, owing to a blow on his thumb, did not bowl on Friday afternoon, did admirable work at the finish.

© John Wisden & Co