First Test match

England v Australia 1930.

England won the first of the series of Test Matches shortly after half-past, five on the fourth day by 93 runs. This was a satisfactory start but in gaining this initial success the England team were helped to no inconsiderable extent by the weather, Australia, on the second afternoon, having to bat on a pitch made difficult by hot sunshine following heavy rain during the night and early morning. As an offset to this, however, the Englishmen were greatly handicapped in Australia's last innings by being without Larwood for the whole of the concluding day. The Notts fast bowler, owing to an attack of gastritis, had to keep to his bed. Australia, who were set to get 429 runs to win, had scored 60 runs for the loss of Woodfull's wicket overnight, and, with the England attack thus weakened made, thanks to Bradman, a very fine fight of it. Indeed, when shortly before three o'clock they had 229 runs on the board and only three men out, they possessed, with the wicket probably in better condition than at any previous time during the game, a reasonable chance of winning.

Bradman was well set and McCabe playing a bold and successful innings but at that point McCabe fell to a splendid catch very low down at mid-on by Copley, a member of the ground staff at Trent Bridge fielding as substitute for Larwood. Copley made a lot of ground, took the ball at full-length and, although rolling over, retained possession.

This catch, as it happened, turned the game in England's favour, for although Fairfax stayed some time and Richardson made a few hits nobody, after Bradman's dismissal at 267, offered any real resistance.

Thus England won all right but it cannot be said that their form and particularly the batting inspired real confidence. The failure of Hammond and Woolley in both innings and of Hendren on the opening day was very disturbing and in no subsequent match did England's batting prove really sound down to the seventh or eighth man.

Chapman on winning the toss, of course, took first innings, but at no time on the first day did the pitch play quite as well as it had been expected to do. Even to begin with, there seemed to be just a little moisture in it. Still, Hobbs and Sutcliffe gave their side a fairly good start by scoring 53 together before Sutcliffe was caught at slip off a rising ball. In the meantime, Grimmett had been put on to bowl and although three 4's were hit from him he kept both batsmen very quiet. Hammond opened with a glorious off-drive but then came three dreadful disasters. At 63 Hammond was leg-before and Woolley stumped first ball while Hendren, before playing-on at 71, gave a most inglorious display of feeble and hesitant batting. So at ten minutes past one, four wickets being down, all the advantage of winning the toss had been discounted. At that point Grimmett had sent down seventeen overs, taking three wickets for 33 runs.

Happily for England Chapman rose to the occasion with a very fine display. Another 20 runs were scored before lunch and afterwards the England captain hit Grimmett for three 4's in one over. Defective light and rain caused a delay of half an hour and when cricket was resumed in gloomy weather, Chapman devoted himself to the task of knocking Grimmett off. He hit him for five 4's - nearly all drives - and when at length he was caught wide at long-off he had made 52 out of 82 runs added in sixty-five minutes, with ten 4's as his chief strokes. Hobbs all this time had been batting with great skill and was 55 when another and longer break occurred through rain. Play was stopped for over an hour and three-quarters. Hobbs's fine innings ended at a quarter past six when he was caught low down at second slip. Seventh out at 218 he occupied over three hours and a half in making his runs. The position had been such that he could take no risks but he batted throughout with marked skill, his fine footwork and the defence being an outstanding feature of a display in which he rarely failed properly to punish anything in the nature of a loose ball.

Play ceased with the score at 241 for eight wickets and the turf was so wet next day that not a ball could be bowled until a quarter past two. There were many who held that Chapman should have declared but, thanks to some fine hitting by Robins, 29 useful runs were added in twenty-five minutes. Robins had played well for half an hour overnight and he batted even better the next day when the ball was kicking a good deal. The Australians and especially Grimmett bowled wonderfully well but England's score of 270 in four hours and a quarter was not a particularly satisfactory performance.

By the time the Australians went in, the sun had come out and in less than an hour they lost Ponsford, Woodfull and Bradman for only 16 runs. Woodfull was out to a brilliant catch in the gully and Bradman completely beaten by a break-back. Kippax went in next and played very nearly his best innings of the tour. Certainly he was favoured by some bad length bowling but he brought off many fine hits to leg and Fairfax helped him to add 41 in forty-five minutes. Then Richardson, very uncomfortable to begin with, hooked and drove so brilliantly that he sent the ball seven times to the boundary while scoring 37 out of the next 44 in thirty-five minutes. There was not much resistance afterwards. At the close of play Australia had eight men out for 140 and on the Monday only four more runs were added. Taking out his bat for 64, Kippax gave a great display of masterly cricket under very difficult conditions.

So England led by 126 runs and very finely did Hobbs and Sutcliffe proceed to consolidate this advantage. In less than two hours they put on 125 together, Hobbs, who hit ten 4's, batting superbly. He had to play a lot of good bowling but was always master, scoring by a wide variety of delightful strokes. He rather threw away his wicket for, having jumped in and hit Grimmett straight, he attempted the same stroke immediately afterwards to a shorter pitched ball and was easily stumped. Although batting extremely well, Sutcliffe had been overshadowed by his partner. Nine runs after Hobbs left, Sutcliffe was hit on the thumb of the right hand and had to retire. England were in a good position but Hammond and Woolley again failing, three wickets were down for 147. Chapman and Hendren then added 64 and Tate helped to put on 39 but shortly after tea, Hendren who had played in his best style for nearly two hours was caught at second slip. His 72 was a most valuable innings. England were all out at twenty minutes past five, Grimmett again taking the bowling honours for Australia.

Fifty minutes remained for play when Australia entered upon their task of getting 429 runs to win. Duleepsinhji fielded as substitute for Sutcliffe who had split his thumb. With only 12 scored, Woodfull was again caught in the gully but Ponsford and Bradman played out time, carrying the score to 60. The next morning Ponsford, playing back to a half-volley, was bowled at 93 but England without Larwood had to work tremendously hard for the rest of the day. Bradman who had been quite brilliant overnight played such an entirely different game that not until quarter to three did he hit another four. Meanwhile Kippax had made 23 out of 59, and McCabe drove with tremendous power. Bradman and McCabe soon played themselves in after lunch and it was quickly obvious that they might rob England of victory but then at 229 came the catch by the substitute Copley to which reference has been made.

The partnership realised 77 runs in seventy minutes. Bradman's fine innings ended at 267, Robins bowling him with a googly which the batsman made no attempt to play. At the wickets four hours and twenty minutes, Bradman hit ten 4's in scoring his hundred in his First Test Match in England. Off the first ball he received he made a lucky snick over slip's head and when 60 he again snicked a ball which went off Duckworth's glove to Hammond's left hand and then on to the ground,while at 75 he was nearly bowled by a leg-break. Thus his display, if in the circumstances very remarkable, was not free from fault. Richardson hit six 4's in making 29 but latterly nobody else did anything and the match was over with less than an hour to spare.

Tate bowled splendidly throughout and Hammond, while Bradman was in, kept a fine length but Robins, although doing good work, sent down far too many bad balls and Tyldesley never really looked good enough to be in the team. Chapman, with his resources limited, managed his bowling well and himself fielded in dazzling fashion. Robins, too, did great work in the field, nothing being better than his catch at long-leg when he dismissed Fairfax. He had to run hard and take the ball low down. In the course of the four days 78,091 people visited the ground.

© John Wisden & Co