First Test Match

Lawry grinds out the draw

England fought back remarkably to finish on top. At one time on the second day Australia were 372 for two and apparently impregnably placed. Yet on the final day they had to fight to save the game. Stackpole by his aggression gave Australia their early advantage. He was fortunate to receive a favourable run-out decision when 18, after which he dominated the play and the two sharp chances he gave off Underwood did not detract from his performance. He spent 49 overs reaching 100 and 42 more getting to 200. His square-cutting and hooking contributed largely to his abundance of boundaries, one 6 and twenty-five 4s.

Chappell was his sound partner in a stand of 151, and he put on 209 with Walters, whose innings of five and a half hours again contained sparkling strokes and yet overall was streaky. After Snow, who at last reached top gear on the second day of his fifth first-class match, had dismissed Stackpole, the vulnerable middle batting of Australia crumbled. Underwood dismissed Redpath, Sheahan and Walters in seven balls without conceding a run, and Snow raged through the tail. Seven wickets fell in forty-seven minutes while 15 runs were scored.

England also slipped after reaching 245 before the third wicket fell. Luckhurst, Knott, who further improved his magnificent batting record in overseas Tests, and Edrich all entered the seventies, Luckhurst, who seemed set for a century until run out by Knott's lapse of judgment, batted three hours, twenty-four minutes. His was the best innings, and he prepared the way for something faster than the succeeding batsmen managed. After Edrich's three-hour innings ended England slowly accumulated their lead of 31, d'Oliveira taking three and a quarter hours to score 57.

Australia also struggled. Lawry's obstinate batting, five and a half hours for 84, prevented an English win. Yet the servile nature of his play, it could be argued, upset the other batsmen and contributed to their failures. Early on the last day three were out for 64, and there followed a tedious stand of 73 between Lawry and Redpath, who played so well and forcefully for Victoria, but now batted more than two hours for 28. Shuttleworth, who had bowled as well as some of the more successful bowlers in the first innings, used the second new ball to take four wickets in his last five overs and finished deservedly with five for 47. Only an hour remained for England's second innings. They might consider that, if their bowlers had averaged 110 balls an hour, which is not much to expect, instead of 101, they would have saved seventy-five minutes and have had time to attempt a win.

© John Wisden & Co