Sixth Test Match

England happy to defend series lead

Late on the third day England led by 235 and did not enforce a follow-on. Whether a different decision then would have given England a win is open to question. Illingworth's key pace bowlers were tiring, and he had to think about the final Test in terms of bowlers tackling an unprecedented string of Test matches in quick succession.

Luckhurst could not play, which allowed Boycott and Edrich to resume their long established partnership. They did so successfully with 107 before Boycott was run out, though both had given chances early in the innings. Edrich, who batted with customary solidity for nearly six hours, during which he hit fourteen 4's, and Fletcher cemented the fine start, and England finished the first day with 276 for two. Fletcher played his best Test innings, despite the handicap of a damaged right hand.

Early on the second day Knott and Fletcher fell at the same total, but d'Oliveira and Hampshire, who was missed twice off Lillee, added 96, and Snow drove weightily. Lillee fully deserved his five wickets on his first Test appearance. Though Stackpole played a vigorous stroke-making innings, Australian wickets fell steadily to English pace. Stackpole struck eleven of the twelve 4's hit before he was second out at 117 after just over three hours. The remainder of the innings was little more than a procession. Lever, who had now adapted his bowling to Australian conditions, did his best work of the tour.

In the second innings Boycott and Edrich again topped 100 for the first wicket, scoring at nearly five an over, and Boycott reached 100 out of 169 with eleven 4's off 39 overs in three and a quarter hours. Subsequently, Illingworth took up the running and raced to 48 with eight 4's off 88 balls before declaring.

Australia were left eight hours, twenty minutes to make 469. They were never in the hunt for victory, but also were never in danger of defeat. Stackpole and Ian Chappell made sure of that by staying together five and a quarter hours while adding 202. Stackpole, whose hooking was particularly impressive, hit sixteen 4's. Redpath brought the game to a dreary end by plodding nearly two hours for 21. A slow paced pitch becoming easier for batsmen as time passed did not cater for a definite result. In such conditions it was remarkable that England dismissed Australia for only 235 in the first innings.

© John Wisden & Co