Third Test Match

England v Australia

This was another disappointing match left undecided, mainly due to the weather. No cricket was possible on the first day and play was reduced to ninety minutes on the last day when, as in the previous Test, England were doing their utmost to force a victory against the clock.

The match was notable for the personal performance of Colin Cowdrey. He became the first cricketer to complete one hundred Test appearances and he celebrated the occasion by making a century, his twenty-first in Test cricket. When he reached 60 he joined W.R. Hammond as the only batsman previously to make 7,000 runs in Test cricket. Sir Donald Bradman in fifty-two Tests and in 48 fewer innings than Cowdrey fell only four short of that total.

The match also provided disappointments for both captains. Cowdrey went lame with a badly pulled muscle in the back of the left leg and had Boycott as a runner for the last part of his superb innings; Lawry retired hurt on Saturday evening when the little finger of his right hand was broken by a ball from Snow. This meant that both Australian opening batsmen were back in the pavilion with only 10 runs on the board.

The mishaps left Graveney in charge of England on the field and McKenzie acting in a similar capacity for Australia.

The Edgbaston outfield was so saturated by the storms of Wednesday night that as early as 10 a.m. on Thursday the announcement came that play that day had been abandoned. The covered middle area was all right and, due to the praiseworthy efforts of Bernard Flack, the groundsman, and his staff, the match proceeded without interruption on the next three days.

Milburn could not appear for England; the attack was strengthened by bringing in Illingworth and omitting Fletcher, who was twelfth man; Australia preferred Freeman to Hawke.

England began splendidly after Cowdrey won the toss. Edrich and Boycott managed only 65 runs in the two hours before lunch, but risks had to be avoided with only five specialist batsmen on duty and moreover McKenzie, Freeman and Connolly achieved plenty of movement. Gleeson later needed careful watching, for his deliveries were inclined to keep low.

Boycott went, trying to sweep a half volley from Gleeson, and then Cowdrey entered, cheered all the way to the crease by the 18,000 spectators as well as the Australian team.

Now the runs began to flow more freely. Cowdrey played beautifully, stroking the ball through the covers and continually beating the field on the leg side no matter where Lawry placed his men, and it must be emphasised that the agile Australians, notably Redpath, Sheahan and Walters, saved many runs. Taber, too, kept wicket admirably.

When Freeman had the second new ball, he brought off a fine low leg-side catch to get rid of Edrich who had unhurriedly made 88 in four hours, twenty minutes. In his next over, Freeman produced a deadly break-back, giving Barrington no chance to settle down.

Meanwhile Cowdrey had gone lame about the time he completed his 50, but with Graveney at his best England put on 67 runs in the last seventy minutes, finishing with a total of 258 for three, Cowdrey 95 not out (fifteen 4's).

Next day the England innings continued for another three and a half hours. Against McKenzie and Freeman, Cowdrey spent half an hour getting the five singles to complete his century. Graveney maintained his masterly form until he tried to force Connolly, who had just changed to round the wicket, over mid-on, and was bowled leg-stump for 96, made in nearly five hours. Apart from Snow and Underwood, who put on 33, the later England batsmen failed miserably.

Brown bowled with plenty of fire in the first assault by England and when Australia were deprived of Lawry and Redpath so early in their innings the Saturday afternoon crowd of 25,000 grew really excited.

By sound cricket the experienced left-handed Cowper, together with Chappell, made sure that there were no more Australian disasters before nightfall. In just over two hours they raised the score to 109 for one wicket and only two days remained. A draw seemed inevitable.

On Monday, England surprised most people by their positive cricket. At the end of the day they possessed a very good chance of victory and of levelling the series thereby. Australia were set to make 330 in six hours, ten minutes, and at the close Redpath and Cowper had scored nine from three overs. Early in the day Snow removed Cowper's middle stump, but Chappell went on to make 71, including nine 4's in three and a quarter hours. Knight made the break-through for England when he hit Chappell's leg-stump.

Australia were 193 for four at lunch. Afterwards, Graveney relied on his spin bowlers, Underwood and Illingworth, and between they caused five wickets to go down while only nine runs were added, Australia only just saving the follow on.

England, 187 ahead with nine hours left, needed to push the score along. Boycott, Edrich and Graveney all displayed enterprise against keen bowling and grand fielding in which Redpath, Sheahan and Walters again excelled.

So to the last morning, when Redpath, Cowper and Chappell faced up nobly to the England bowling. Snow trapped Redpath leg before, and that turned out to be England"s final success. The left-handed Cowper took as much of Underwood as he could while Chappell dealt with Illingworth.

A light drizzle developed into steady rain, but the batsman put up with the inconvenience for fifteen minutes. When they appealed, the umpires stopped play at 12.30, although the decision that no more cricket was possible did not come until three hours later.

Receipts for the five days were £35,393, and the official attendance 56,069.

© John Wisden & Co