Second Test match

Australia v England 1928-29

Played at Sydney, Friday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, December 14, 15, 17, 18 19, 20. England won by eight wickets. England won the second Test match by eight wickets and, even if three good scores were hit against them in the second innings, they were, to all intents and purposes, definitely on top the whole way through. Happy as the result of the first Test match had been, it was obvious that the risk of such a limited attack could not again be taken, so Geary was brought in instead of Mead, a move which, as events proved, had every justification even though it was obviously the thing to do. Australia were now in rather a desperate position and found themselves handicapped by having to go into the field without a fast bowler. Victor Richardson, of South Australia, Dr. Nothling, of Queensland, and Don Blackie, of Victoria, were substituted for Bradman, Gregory and Kelleway, but these changes made little difference to the effectiveness of the eleven. Richardson, however, fielded brilliantly and by his example raised the standard in that phase of the game considerably higher than it had been at Brisbane, though Ironmonger still remained something of a handicap. Blackie, if expensive, showed himself to be the best bowler of his type.

The match proved a great triumph for English batting, every man on the side reaching double figures while Hammond carried off chief honours by playing the second highest individual innings ever hit in Test matches between England and Australia. When within reasonable distance of equalling or beating R. E. Foster's 287 on the same ground almost to a day twenty-three years before, Hammond got his feet mixed up and was bowled in playing back. His greatest innings was, over and above the skill shown, a wonderful test of his physical condition. He went in at twenty minutes past two on the second afternoon and was not dismissed until after one o'clock on the fourth, being at the wickets for seven hours and a half, or exactly half an hour longer than the time occupied by Foster. When 19, he was nearly run out; at 148, he gave a tremendously hard right-handed return chance to Ryder, and at 185, walked right in to Blackie but had the good fortune to deflect the ball with his leg - too wide for Oldfield to get at it. These were the only errors of judgment or execution during the whole of a very remarkable display characterised by watchful defence and extraordinarily fine hitting on the off-side.

Ryder, winning the toss, sent Richardson instead of Ponsford in with Woodfull, but before lunch two wickets fell for 69 runs. Richardson was bowled off-stump at 51 and Kippax off his pad at 65. The dismissal of the latter, now known as the Kippax incident, caused endless discussion, and at the time no small amount of feeling between the English team and Kippax himself. Happily, however, the good relations which existed throughout the tour were quickly restored. Soon after lunch Australia were again the victims of ill-fortune in the matter of injuries, Ponsford holding out his bat somewhat tentatively to a fast ball from Larwood which rose a little but not unduly and receiving a blow on his left hand which broke a bone below the little finger. Ponsford retired and, as it happened, played no more cricket during the season. Woodfull and Hendry then engaged in a partnership which realised 77 at the rate of a run a minute, but both were out before tea and at the close eight wickets had fallen for 251 runs. Geary had taken five of them for 35 runs; he bowled very well, especially the ball which came with his arm a little, but did not, from the ring, appear to be anything like so difficult to play as his figures would suggest. The next morning Australia were all out for 252, Oldfield having batted pluckily for over a hundred minutes.

England's start was none too promising, Sutcliffe being out soon after lunch at 37 and Hobbs at 65. Grimmett all this time was bowling a length which made him difficult to score from, only 52 runs having come from twenty-nine overs, but he was mastered by Hammond and Jardine who raised the score to 113 and the next morning to 148. There followed a fine partnership by Hammond and Hendren, 145 runs coming in just over two hours. The batting during this time was of an exceptionally high quality. Hendren cut, hooked and drove with fine power and certainty. Chapman and Larwood gave valuable help, Larwood again batting nicely in a stand which produced 91 runs, while Geary saw 64 put on before Hammond's innings ended. Hammond's chief hits were thirty 4's. Following Tate's dismissal at 523, Geary and Duckworth added 69 and White and Duckworth 44. England's total of 636 which occupied eleven hours was the highest ever made in any Test match.

Australia went in a second time 383 runs behind and after Richardson had been dismissed without a run on the board, Woodfull and Hendry made a great stand, carrying the score, in less than four hours, to 215. They had come together at five o'clock on the Tuesday and were not separated until nearly four o'clock the next afternoon. Hendry, after a somewhat uncertain start, played fine cricket and Woodfull batted in his usual sound style, but early in his innings he was nearly bowled by Geary, while with his score at 10 he played a ball from Tate, hard on to the ground, whence it rebounded on to the top of the bails without removing them. Otherwise his batting was masterly. In the second over after lunch, however, bad judgment in running cost him his wicket, and although Ryder played a great captain's innings, the back of the batting was broken. Ryder, driving with splendid power - he hit a 6 and seven 4's - obtained his runs in eighty-five minutes and, with Nothling, added 101 in rather more than all hour. Ryder was out early on the last morning, caught on the on-side from a mistimed stroke, and before twenty minutes past one the innings closed for 397. Tate in this innings, bowled magnificently, having only 99 runs hit off forty-six overs. England had to get only 15 runs to win, but Tate and Geary lost their wickets before these were obtained.

© John Wisden & Co