First Test match

England v West Indies 1928

Toss: England. Test debuts: England - D.R.Jardine, H.Smith; West Indies - All

The first of the three Test matches, like those which followed, resulted in a single innings victory for England, the further margin on this occasion amounting to 58 runs. Nothing that the West Indies players had accomplished in their earlier games suggested they were likely to extend the full strength of England, but up to lunch time on the second day they gave a highly creditable account of themselves. Such a sorry batting collapse, however, followed this good work, that by the drawing of stumps on Monday a heavy defeat was a foregone conclusion, and an hour and a half's cricket on Tuesday sufficed to finish off the game. While the contest thus ended very tamely, the visitors' play, until so remarkable a change came over the contest, invested the struggle with appreciably more interest than had been anticipated.

Chapman winning the toss, England enjoyed the advantage of first innings, and when the opening day's play closed, they had, in scoring 382 for the loss of eight wickets, placed themselves in a very strong position. The start of the match held out little promise of so satisfactory an issue for the home side. In the absence of Hobbs - kept out of the game owing to a strain - Hallows went in with Sutcliffe, and these two stayed together for eighty minutes. Neither player, however, really settled down, each being frequently hit by the fast bowlers, and Sutcliffe also finding himself in sore trouble with Browne. Indeed, as the play went, the early dismissal of either batsman could have occasioned no surprise. The partnership ended with the departure of Hallows at 51, and Tyldesley, before he scored, had a narrow escape from being bowled by a slow ball from Constantine. Following upon this very anxious spell, England's batting asserted itself to such good purpose, that in the course of three hours and a quarter, with Tyldesley and Hammond the dominating figures, 276 runs were registered for the loss of four more wickets. Yet although temporarily mastered, the West Indies bowlers never became demoralised, and the high standard of the fielding which had marked the beginning of the game was remarkably well maintained.

Sutcliffe stayed until the score reached 97, but at no time batted in a manner worthy of his great reputation. After he left came some delightful cricket by Hammond and Tyldesley, who in less than fifty minutes put on 77. Hammond from the first settled down in splendid style, and seemed thoroughly master of the situation when he played inside a ball from Constantine, and was bowled off stump. Jardine - Tyldesley's next partner - also shaped quite well during a stand which yielded 57, and for the fifth wicket Tyldesley and Chapman put on 96 in sixty-five minutes. Tyldesley signalised his first appearance in a Test match at Lord's by playing an innings of 122. He did not begin well, but after his first 20 runs, he batted very finely indeed, and having completed his first 50 in an hour and three-quarters, he doubled his score in another fifty-five minutes. He should, when 73, have been caught at slip, and when 119 was nearly out to what would have been a superb catch, but altogether his performance was one of great merit. He hit a no-ball for 6, and had thirteen 4's as the other chief strokes of a fine display of which the outstanding feature was hard and admirably-timed driving. Chapman, although mistiming the ball a good deal and never at his best, had the satisfaction of making 50 in an hour and a quarter, but the tourists, when once they had disposed of Tyldesley, regained their hold on the game to such purpose, that in the last seventy minutes of the day three wickets went down for the addition of only 55 runs.

England's two remaining wickets were secured - both by Constantine - on Monday morning for 19 more runs, the innings which had extended over six hours and a half closing for 401. Opening the West Indies batting, Martin and Challenor naturally exercised much care, but their cautious methods answered so well that, even if no more than 70 runs came in ninety-five minutes, the tourists at the luncheon interval had not lost a wicket. The two batsmen remained together for a further quarter of an hour afterwards, and raised the total to 86. At that point a capital display on the part of Martin came to an end on an appeal for leg before, and once the first pair had been separated the batting broke down in such deplorable fashion that in the course of two hours and a quarter after the resumption the whole ten wickets fell for the addition of 107 runs. Martin, Challenor and Fernandes left in the course of three consecutive overs, and half the side were out for 96. Hopes that Constantine might knock up a score were doomed to disappointment, that player, after a few hits, skying to mid-on the first ball he received from Freeman. Nunes made some skilful strokes to leg at intervals, and kept up his end for an hour and a half, but Jupp, making the ball turn a lot, had most of his opponents in great difficulties, and the innings was all over for 177.

England being left with a lead of 224, there would in ordinary circumstances have been no hesitation in compelling the West Indies to follow-on. On this particular occasion, however, it happened that Larwood, having strained himself late in the tourists' innings, was forbidden to take any further part in the day's cricket. Thus Chapman found himself with only four bowlers, and there existed some possibility of the England attack being collared and the visitors regaining a good deal of their lost ground. That risk, however, Chapman decided to take, and such striking success attended his course of action that in little more than an hour and a half six batsmen were dismissed - half of them by Freeman - for 55 runs. The score, indeed, when the sixth wicket - that of Constantine who was bowled second ball - went down, had only reached 44. Altogether after the luncheon interval sixteen wickets fell for 162 runs, and the tourists left off 169 behind with only four batsmen to be disposed of.

Curiously enough after such a pitiful failure as that of Monday evening, the West Indies tail played up in such spirited fashion next morning that the total was raised to 166 before the innings closed, the last four wickets adding 122 runs in all. Small and Roach put on 56 for the seventh wicket, and the former, in company with Browne, afterwards shared in a partnership of 47. Small, batting in fine form for an hour and a half, enjoyed the distinction of making the only score of over 50 for his side. Browne - last man out - played refreshing cricket for his 44.

Cheerless weather prevailed on Tuesday, and there were scarcely any spectators to witness the finish, but pleasant conditions favoured the earlier stages of the contest, and there were not only 22,000 people present on Saturday, but nearly 20,000 on Monday.

© John Wisden & Co
 
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