Seventh Test Match

Illingworth steers England to historic win

Toss: Australia. Test debuts: Australia - A.R.Dell, K.H.Eastwood

A very different pitch from that on which bowlers toiled in Adelaide made sure that the final match would reach a definite result. It did so early on the fifth day, the extra day allowed on this occasion not being necessary. On the first day twelve wickets fell. Ian Chappell, Australia's new captain, sent England in first and the batsmen fell to spin, despite another fine, resolute innings by Illingworth. There was time for Lever and Snow to shoot out Eastwood and Stackpole for 13.

Australia slumped to 66 for four, but England let their strong position slip, largely because Walters was missed three times. He and the stubborn Redpath, who batted over three and a quarter hours, put on 81, and Greg Chappell's three-hour innings carried Australia to a lead of 80. During the closing stages of the innings Jenner ducked into a ball from Snow and was hit on the face. Snow was warned by Umpire Rowan against the use of persistent bumpers, which led to a protest by Illingworth. The crowd demonstrated against Snow and Illingworth led his side off the field, but returned after being warned by the umpires that the match would otherwise be awarded to Australia.

Edrich and Luckhurst more than countered Australia's lead with an opening stand of 94, and a series of useful scores finally set Australia to make 223 with the pitch helpful to spinners and not unfriendly to pace bowlers. Snow bowled Eastwood with his sixth ball, but in the fifth over, going for a high hit to long leg off Lever, he broke his right hand on the boundary fencing and was put out of action. Nevertheless, the other bowlers, with Illingworth himself playing a notable part, had half the side out for 96. Only Stackpole, hitting two sixes and six fours, prospered, and he seemed fortunate not to be given out caught by Knott off Lever when he was 13.

On the final day Greg Chappell was Australia's last hope, and he was winkled out by Illingworth, who pulled out his best to compensate for Underwood being disappointing in conditions expected to make him the match winner. For England to win without Boycott, their top batsman, and then without Snow at the climax of the game was a great achievement. Australia had recast their side, dropping Lawry and, as stated, giving the captaincy to Ian Chappell. Lawry's batting was sorely missed. The 35-year-old Eastwood, who was not even in the Victoria side at the start of the season, was no adequate replacement.

© John Wisden & Co