Second Test Match

ENGLAND v PAKISTAN 1954

R.J.H.

Pakistan, still striving to acclimatise themselves to cold, wet weather and to adjust their cricket to soft pitches, offered moderate opposition to a side which, although lacking Hutton, who was unfit, showed superiority in all phases. England achieved their first victory at Trent Bridge since 1930, with over ten hours to spare.

When Pakistan began batting on a true pitch, Hanif and Alim-ud-Din faced the England opening attack confidently enough and, despite the dismissal of Alim-ud-Din, neither team could claim appreciable advantage in the first hour. Then Sheppard, deputy to Hutton as captain and opening batsman, called upon Appleyard for his first bowl in Test cricket. No one could have wished for a better start than made by the 30-year-old Yorkshireman, who resumed big cricket that season after two years' illness.

Hanif was leg-before to Appleyard's second ball; Maqsood snicked a catch to the wicket-keeper in his third over; the first ball of the next hit Waqar's middle stump and the second of his fifth sent the offstump of Imtiaz flying. In this dramatic spell of 26 balls, during which the Pakistan total changed from 37 for one to 55 for five, Appleyard took four wickets for six runs. His mixture of in-swingers, off-spinners and leg-cutters, his variation of pace and flight, bore the stamp of a high-skilled craftsman. That exciting period broke the back of the innings and, although Kardar led a commendable rally, Pakistan were all out before tea. On turf so favourable to batsmen, the need for improvement in forward play was clearly revealed.

By contrast, Simpson at once settled into his most pleasing game, driving and hooking with full power and timing his glances admirably. By the close England stood 36 behind with eight wickets left. The one batting failure was May, who, attempting to force a ball well outside his off-stump, pulled it into his wicket.

The sureness of Simpson and Compton's batting next morning carried ominous signs for Pakistan, whose best bowler, Fazal Mahmood, was handicapped by a pulled leg muscle which forced him to shorten his run. Soon after England went in front, however, Compton (20) gave a sharp chance off Fazal. That turned out to be a most expensive miss. Immediately after reaching a handsome century, Simpson picked the wrong ball to hit, but Pakistan's troubles there only in their infancy. First came a fourth-wicket stand of 154 in eighty-five minutes. Well as Compton batted, Graveney played even better. Some of his punishing drives left the bat with the sound of a pistol shot. So did the stroke from which Maqsood courageously, or in self-preservation, caught him at mid-off. England held a formidable position when Bailey joined Compton. This became further strengthened by a partnership of 192 in an hour and three-quarters. Compton scored all but 27 of the runs, yet he owed much to Bailey, who, recognising his partner's form and mood, did all he could to give him the bowling. Making full use of further escapes when 120 and 171, Compton sent the bowling to all parts of the field with a torrent of strokes, orthodox and improvised, crashing and delicate, against which Kardar could not set a field and the bowlers knew not where to pitch. By methods reminiscent of his former glories, Compton raced through his second hundred in eight minutes and he made his highest score in his 100 innings for England in four hours fifty minutes before missing a leg-break from Khalid Hassan who, at 16, was the youngest cricketer to be chosen for a Test match. In the record Test innings played at Nottingham, Compton hit a 6 and thirty-three 4's. Until Sheppard declared, the rest of the England innings came as anti-climax.

Pakistan faced an hour's batting before the close, as well as arrears of 401, but so spiritedly did Hanif and Alim-ud-Din tackle the situation that they made 43 in the first half hour and stayed together to the end. A day on which 496 runs were scored for four wickets remained a triumph for Compton, but the memory of Hanif's fierce hooks and cuts lingered nearly as much.

Next day Hanif resumed his aggressiveness until, having crisply made all but eleven of his runs in boundaries, he fell to the alertness of Evans behind the wicket. Rain limited play to three-quarters of an hour before lunch and cricket was then held up until after tea. For a short time afterwards the ball lifted nastily. One delivery which kicked from a length brought Statham the wicket of Waqar, but soon the turf eased, so that Pakistan's closing score of 189 for six was again disappointing. The best and most adventurous batting was that of Maqsood, who hit two 6's and eight 4's. Unfortunately for Pakistan he did not show discretion in trying for another six off Appleyard, Statham confidently atoning for a previous fielding mistake. Off the previous hall May had held a mighty hit just over the square-leg boundary. Much rain fell during the week-end, but the game began promptly on Monday, when, notwithstanding solid work by Fazal, Sheppard brought it to a close by catching Aslam a quarter of an hour before lunch.

© John Wisden & Co