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Played at MANCHESTER, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, July 24, 25, 26. England won by an innings and 80 runs. The fourth Test Match decided the rubber, England winning by an innings and 80 runs. Brilliant all-round cricket brought about the result, but luck was clearly all on England"s side, the Australians having for the most part to bat under very trying conditions. As at Nottingham the result was arrived at only just in time, rain setting in immediately after the last wicket had fallen. The England team could scarcely have been improved upon, MacLaren and Rhodes who had been kept out of the match at Leeds, returning to their places. R. H. Spooner and Walter Brearley were seen for the first time in a Test Match and both did themselves full justice, Spooner playing a delightful innings and Brearley bowling with tremendous energy on a wicket that one would have thought too slow to suit him. The Australians did not have quite the side they could have wished, injuries keeping Gregory and Hopkins away. Without proving quite such an attraction as had been expected, the match drew big crowds to Old Trafford, nearly 20,000 people being present on the first day, and over 22,000 on the second.
Again fortunate in winning the toss, the Englishmen did so well on the Monday as to make their position almost secure, scoring 352 runs and having still four wickets to go down at the call of time. On a pitch that had not completely recovered from recent rain, this was an extremely fine performance, but it was generally agreed that under the same conditions such a score could not have been obtained against the best Australian bowlers of former days. The bowling was accurate enough, but Darling"s team sadly felt the want of a Spofforth, a Turner, or a Hugh Trumble. There was no one who could make the most of the wicket. Still the Englishmen had to work very hard for their runs, not finding their task at all easy till after five o"clock. Up to a certain point the only remarkable batting was that of Hayward. MacLaren threw away his wicket through sheer impatience, and though Tyldesley and Fry stayed in for an hour neither of them was seen to much advantage. Excuse must be made for Tyldesley, however, as early in his innings he was painfully hurt by a ball from Cotter. At lunch time the score stood at 97 for two wickets, Hayward being not out 51, and when Fry was bowled it had reached 136. It was at this point - just before three o"clock - that Jackson went in, and once more the English captain rose to the occasion, playing his fifth three-figure innings in England v. Australia matches. As usual he was at great pains to get set, never attempting to hit till he had really got the pace of the ground. Hayward, who had so far played superb cricket, suddenly fell off in his form. He gave a chance at slip, he might have been stumped, and a breaking ball that beat him just missed the wicket. However, he did not profit by his luck, an easy catch at third man bringing his innings to a close at 176. He was batting for fully three hours, and the value to the England side of his splendid defence could scarcely be over-estimated. Any failure after Hayward left would largely have discounted the advantage of batting first, but, as it happened, Jackson found a brilliant partner in Spooner, and in the course of an hour and three-quarters the score was carried from 176 to 301. After the tea interval runs for the first time came easily, 50 being put on in little more than half-an-hour. Spooner was nervous at starting, but, when once he had settled down, he hit all round in beautiful style. Hirst played a useful innings, and just before time Jackson completed his hundred. At the close he was not out 103.
Rain fell heavily during the early hours of Tuesday morning, but the sun was shining when the game was continued, and during part of the day the wicket proved very treacherous. At first, however, the pitch was rather too slow to be difficult, and in the course of an hour and a half England increased their score to 446, this being so far the highest total hit against the Australian team. Jackson only added ten runs to his 103 not out and then sent a ball straight into mid-off"s hands. Out seventh wicket down at 382 he was batting altogether for three hours and a quarter. His innings was perhaps not so fine as his 144 not out at Leeds three weeks before, but, though he took longer than usual to obtain a real mastery over the bowling, he was rarely or never at fault. As is always the case when he makes runs he scored well all round the wicket, his cutting being especially good. In one respect his innings was quite an object lesson, his judgment in running between the wickets being perfect. When the call was with him he would not look at runs that involved any serious risk. In all the Englishmen were batting for seven hours. Rhodes and Lilley, scoring from nearly every over, put on 59 together in three-quarters of an hour.
In facing a total of 446, the Australians looked to be in almost a hopeless position as when they went in the sun had been shining long enough to make the turf treacherous. The wicket seemed made for Rhodes, but Jackson decided to start the bowling with Hirst and Brearley. In a little over half-an-hour before lunch the Australians lost three of their best wickets for 27 runs. Brearley took two of the wickets, getting Trumper easily caught in the slips and clean bowling Noble. Within ten minutes or so of the game being resumed Duff was caught in the slips, from a ball that kicked up very awkwardly, and with four wickets down for 51 the position seemed desperate indeed. However, Darling - nearly always at his best when something big is asked of him - played a wonderful innings, and put quite a respectable appearance on the score. Fortune favoured him, but his driving was magnificent. He ought to have been out for six, but Hayward at long off was very slow to run in for the catch. Six wickets were down for 93 but McLeod, who followed in, patiently kept up his end while Darling hit. The English bowling became a little demoralized, and the fielding for a time went all to pieces. Fry missed Darling at long-on, but those who were near the fieldsman said the ball was travelling very fast. Another chance that Darling gave was a very difficult return to Arnold, low down to the bowler"s left hand. Both batsmen left at 146, McLeod being bowled and Darling caught in the long-field from a big drive. In bringing off the catch Tyldesley did more than most people supposed, as he had damaged his hand a little while before. Darling scored 73 out of 105 in less than an hour and a half and hit thirteen 4"s, all but one of them being drives. Laver and Kelly hit freely for a few overs, but at half-past four the innings ended for 197. Splendidly as Darling hit and well as he was backed up, the Australians ought not, with the ground as it was, to have made so many runs. Bad fielding had much to answer for and Jackson was clearly at fault in the management of his bowling, leaning too heavily on Brearley and showing a curious want of faith in Rhodes. The latter bowler only sent down thirty-five balls in the innings, but each time he went on he took a wicket in his first over.
The Australians had to follow on against 249 runs, but, luckily for them, the pitch rolled out much better than anyone had expected. Duff and Trumper scored 50 together in forty minutes, and at the drawing of stumps the score had reached 118 with only Trumper out. The Australians had pulled the game round in a remarkable way, being only 131 runs behind with nine wickets in hand. There seemed every likelihood that they would make a hard fight on the third day, but rain ruined all their hopes. There was a steady downpour between eight o"clock and ten on Wednesday morning, and the start of play had to be delayed till ten minutes past twelve. In view of the rubber a draw was no use to the Australians, and they made up their minds to play a forcing game on the off-chance of hitting off something more than the balance of runs and putting England in at the end on a bad wicket. The chance was of course a very remote one, and as it happened the attempt resulted in overwhelming disaster, fine bowling, and still finer fielding, giving England the match, and with it the rubber. In an hour and twenty minutes the innings was finished off, the game coming to an end just before lunch time. If the last two batsmen could have stayed till after the interval the game would have ended in a draw, as rain fell for the rest of the day. In the course of the eighty minutes" play Brearley took four wickets for 27 runs, Arnold two for 16, and Rhodes two for seven, all being at the top of their form. Rhodes had an eventful day, as, including one from his own bowling, he made four catches, two of them brilliant in the extreme. He caught Darling scarcely a foot from the ground in the slips, and Kelly from a very hard hit at short square leg when people were looking for the ball at the boundary. Never has he had a more curious experience as a bowler. While the Australians were scoring 366 runs in their two innings he only sent down sixteen overs and some odd balls, but for all that he took five wickets. Brearley suffered in his average from being kept on too long, but he had an enormous share in winning the match. We must not forget to mention the beautifully-judged catch at cover-point with which Spooner brought Duff"s fine innings to a close.