First Test match

Australia v England 1928-29

Played at Brisbane, Friday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, only November 30, December 1, 3, 4, 5. England won by 675 runs. Having by now run into first-rate all-round form, England entered upon the opening Test Match with feelings of confidence, but not even the most sanguine member of the team could have anticipated that they would gain a victory by such an astounding margin as that of 675 runs--easily the most pronounced success by runs in the history of Test Matches. In picking the side, the Selection Committee of the team-- Chapman, White, Jardine, Hobbs, and Tyldesley--spent many hours overnight before arriving at their decision and when the names were announced next morning, England in Australia, and no doubt in England as well, were rather perturbed to find that, in order to strengthen the batting, the attack was limited to four bowlers, Larwood, Tate, White and Hammond. It had been generally expected that a place would be found for Geary, who in previous games had shown that he was bowling very well. Freeman, too, had claims to be included. However, the risk was taken and, aided by the weather, the breakdown of Gregory and the illness of Kelleway, England triumphed in such a startling manner as to cause real consternation in Australian cricket circles. All the same, England, after a none too promising start, played magnificent cricket in which brilliant and accurate fielding bore a very prominent part. Australia relied largely upon tried men, Bradman being the one youngster to secure inclusion. On paper, their eleven appeared quits formidable, with Gregory, Grimmett, Ironmonger and Kelleway, backed up by Hendry and Ryder, as bowlers, while ten of the side could, in ordinary way, be relied upon to make runs. All ideas on this point were upset by the damage to Gregory and Kelleway's indisposition.

Chapman did his side a good turn winning the toss, Hobbs and Sutcliffe beginning so well as to score 85 runs between twelve o'clock and lunch-time.

Then, in the last over before the interval, Sutcliffe was tempted to hit a short-pitched ball from Gregory round to leg and fell to a very fine running catch by Ponsford. For this error of judgment, Sutcliffe received probably more than his fair share of blame, for he hit the ball well and the catch was, after all, brilliantly made almost in front of the sight-screen. Soon after lunch, Hobbs was run out, this being largely his own fault for not running a second run quickly enough. A fine return by Bradman to the opposite end, supplemented by brilliant work from Oldfield, did the rest. Mead being leg-before at 108, England were doing badly. Hammond should have gone at 155, Oldfield, with the ball dropping into the top of his pad, missing a chance of stumping. Hammond and Jardine made 58 together, and although Jardine and Hendren subsequently added 56, England, with five wickets down for 217, had not made such a good start as expected. Ryder frequently changed his bowling to give the batsmen less chance of settling down and soon after Chapman went in there had been no fewer than fourteen alterations in the attack. Hendren and Chapman raised the score to 272 before an appeal against the light was upheld. Next morning the score was carried to 291, 74 runs having been added in fifty-eight minutes, and then Tate went in and hit up 26 out of the next 28. Even then, England, with seven men out, did not seem to have made enough runs but Larwood gave Hendren such magnificent assistance that the eighth partnership realised 124 runs in less than two hours, Larwood hitting a 6, a 5 and seven 4's in an invaluable innings. All this time, Hendren had been batting superbly, neglecting few opportunities of scoring, running no risk, and driving, cutting and hooking with the utmost certainty. When Larwood got out, Hendren hit away in great style; White stayed while 52 were added and in the end Hendren was the last to leave. Hendren batted nearly five hours, made no mistake and hit sixteen 4's. England, with a total of 521 had effected a great, recovery. Before this day ended, great things were to happen, for between five minutes to five and ten minutes to six when bad light again stopped play, Australia lost fourwickets for 44 runs. Before a run had been scored Woodfull, off the fourth ball of Larwood's first over, fell to a magnificent left-handed catch by Chapman standing rather fine in the gully. It is safe to say that few other men could have made the ground and held the ball. With the second ball of his third over Larwood bowled Ponsford with a yorker and, Tate changing ends, Kippax was caught and bowled, while Larwood, coming on again at 29, bowled down Kelleway's off-stump, at 40. Larwood's three wickets to this point cost nine runs. Next morning, Hendry and Ryder carried the score to 71, but nobody else did anything and on the fall of the ninth wicket the innings ended, Gregory being unable to go in. Australia batted less than two hours and a half, Larwood earning great fame by taking six wickets for just over five runs apiece.

England found themselves 399 ahead and, very wisely, Chapman took no risk but went in again. Oxenham and Thompson fielded as substitutes for Gregory and Kelleway. By tea-time both Hobbs and Sutcliffe were out and there were only 74 runs on the board. Afterwards there came defective light and a slight shower of rain, so that at twenty minutes to six stumps were pulled up with the score at 103 for two wickets. Next morning Hammond, after being missed, was out to a brilliant catch by Thompson at 117 while Mead left at 165. Mead took three hours and a half over his runs and, valuable though his score was, he seldom seemed really at home. For the second time in the match he was leg before. Just afterwards, Hendren, when six, was missed by Bradman at long-on, but then proceeded to hook and drive so well as to make 45 out of 63 in less than an hour, hitting two 6's, one of them a huge drive on to the top of the stand. Jardine, batting splendidly, received further valuable help from Chapman, Tate and Larwood the Australian attack, so considerably weakened by the absence of Gregory and Kelleway, being, by this time, thoroughly mastered. On the fall of Larwood's wicket at 342, Chapman declared at twenty minutes to five in order to get Australia in at a very anxious time. Jardine was at the wickets over three hours and made only one false hit.

Australia were thus set the tremendous task of getting 742 runs to win. With only six scored, Ponsford, off the third ball of the second over from Larwood, was caught by Duckworth standing back and at ten minutes past five bad light ended play for the day with the score at 17 for one wicket. Australia's wretched position was made hopeless by heavy rain during the night followed in the morning by bright sunshine. Kippax left at 33 and then, White going on at 43 and Tate changing ends, the issue was quickly settled. The last six wickets--the two invalids being still unable to bat--went down in fifty minutes, Australia being all out for 66. Woodfull, batting splendidly, received no support at all, nearly everyone who joined him hitting out wildly immediately on going in. The English fielding was again magnificent, and White had the astounding record of four wickets for seven runs.

© John Wisden & Co