Fifith Test match

Australia v England 1928-29

Lasting eight days - the greatest duration of any Test match - the concluding representative engagement saw Australia successful by five wickets. Up to a point, England fared very well indeed. They batted until 20 minutes to one on the third day, occupying ten hours and a quarter in making 519, and subsequently obtained a lead of 28 on the first innings. They failed, however, at their second attempt, to reproduce their real form and Australia, when left with 286 to get, always seemed likely to win. By this time, the visitors were tired and probably a little stale. Be that as it may, their cricket after the first innings lacked that touch of class by which it had previously been characterised. The bowling neither looked nor was it actually so deadly and the fielding proved less accurate than previously. Unfortunately, the same XI as had done duty from the second Test Match in Sydney could not be put in the field. Sutcliffe's arm, which had been troubling him for some time, was too painful to warrant his inclusion and Ames, who would have been played for his batting, had broken a finger. Above all, Chapman himself stood down. He had scarcely recovered from an attack of influenza, but might possibly have turned out; the loss of his brilliant fielding was undoubtedly reflected in the general work of the side in that respect. Although not generally known at the time, White was also handicapped by the effects of electrical treatment for muscular trouble. While this did not prevent him bowling, it undoubtedly affected his delivery with the left hand. Australia included Fairfax, Wall and Hornibrook for the first time, Hendry, a'Beckett and Blackie standing down and by common consent the XI was the strongest of any of their representative teams.

Judged from the English standpoint, the cricket all through proved dreadfully slow, but such keenness characterised the spectators - every ball being closely followed - that the rate of scoring was not noticed. The first wicket produced 64 runs, the second 82 and the third 89, the score being up to 235 before Hobbs, who batted four hours and 40 minutes, was out. In a careful, but very sound and skilful display, Hobbs hit 11 fours. At the close of the day, England had 240 on the board with four men out, and the next afternoon, after Duckworth had left at 260, saw a fine stand between Hendren and Leyland who added 141 runs in two hours and 50 minutes. Hendren hit ten fours, chiefly drives and hooks. Leyland, making his first appearance in a Test match against Australia, went on, with White the last man in, to complete his hundred. Missed when 13 by Fairfax in the gully, he did not make another mistake until he got out. He played with rare judgment for five hours and, driving beautifully through the covers, hit 17 fours. When he had reached 99 he remained there for a quarter of an hour, the Australian bowlers sending down not a single ball which could safely be hit.

Australia did well to reply with a total of 491. Their batting was very sound throughout, the honours being carried off by Woodfull and Bradman. Kippax helped to add 89 for the second wicket, but on the third day when three wickets went down only 186 runs were scored altogether in over four hours and a half. Fourth out at 203, Woodfull, with three fours as his chief strokes, batted nearly five hours and a half. Then followed the stand which put Australia almost on terms, Bradman and Fairfax scoring 183 together for the fifth wicket in three hours and a half. Bradman put together a delightful innings of three hours and a half's duration, his stroke play being remarkable, and his driving very powerful, well kept down and nicely placed. He hit eight fours. The ninth wicket fell at 432, but again the Australians got on top of the bowling, Hornibrook and Grimmett adding 59 in 95 minutes for the last partnership. Geary, bowling 81 overs - a record for a Test match - had a fine record, and on the fifth day actually obtained his five wickets for 51 runs. When the Australian innings ceased, play had lasted 18 hours and 27 minutes for 1,010 runs. England had to go in a second time in a poor light with nearly 40 minutes left for cricket, and with one scored Jardine was out. His experience was peculiar; in his first innings on the Melbourne ground he made a century, and he ended with a duck. Hobbs next day batted splendidly to make 65 out of 119 before being fourth out, but of the rest only Leyland and Tate accomplished anything. Tate, hitting eight fours, helped Leyland to add 81 in 55 minutes, and in the end Leyland took out his bat, following his 137 with 53. He was missed when eight at second slip by Ryder, but otherwise batted beautifully and again drove with great power on the off side. Wall, who bowled with plenty of life, not only making the ball swerve but get up sharply from the pitch, accomplished a fine performance in his first Test match.

Left with 286 to get to win, Australia batted for ten minutes before defective light, as on the previous afternoon, stopped cricket at quarter to six. Seven runs were scored without loss, the day's play having produced 246 - the largest number obtained on any afternoon during the match.

Next morning Oldfield was missed in the slips when eight. That proved a bad blunder for he and Hornibrook who had been sent in to play out time, shared in a stand which produced 51. Oldfield left at 80, Woodfull at 129 and Jackson at 158, every run having to be struggled for. Hammond, who took three of the four wickets, had one inspired spell when he made the ball break and come off the pitch at a rare pace. Next day Kippax, at 204, going for a fourth run, lost his wicket thanks to Leyland's pick-up and return from the long field, and then, 219 and 220, two incidents occurred which probably affected the result. In the first case, Bradman, when 5, gave a chance of stumping while Ryder, at 27, had his wicket thrown down by Leyland who had run behind the bowler from mid-off. It was the general opinion that Ryder was at least a yard out, but to the obvious surprise and chagrin of the Englishmen, Jones, the umpire, gave the batsman in. The score at lunch was 248 and, in about 20 minutes afterwards, the remaining runs were hit off without further loss. Both Bradman and Ryder batted very well.

© John Wisden & Co