The third Test match, while it afforded that remarkable young batsman, Bradman, the opportunity of leaving all individual batting records in representative matches far behind, was in many respects an unsatisfactory affair. England had the worst of it from start to finish but escaped with a draw, a heavy storm on Sunday night, followed by further rain on the Monday restricting the third day play's to forty-five minutes while, on the Tuesday, further delay occurred owing to defective light.
The game will go down to history on account of the wonderful batting performance accomplished by Bradman who, with an innings of 334, beat the previous highest - 287 by R. E. Foster for England at Sydney - which had stood since December, 1903. In the course of this, Bradman achieved fame in other directions. Like C. G. Macartney on the same ground four years previously, he reached three-figures before lunch-time on the first day. Not out 309 at the close he had then exceeded a total of a thousand runs in Test cricket and reached an aggregate of exactly 2,000 runs for the season. In playing two consecutive innings of over 200 in Test matches he equalled the performance of Hammond during the previous tour in Australia. He also equalled Macartney's performance of 1926 in scoring three separate hundreds in successive Test matches. Truly could it be called Bradman's Match. Bigger though it was and characterised by splendid stroke play, Bradman's innings did not quite approach his 254 at Lord's in freedom from fault but as to its extraordinary merit there could be no two opinions. As usual, he rarely lifted the ball and when making two or more consecutive scoring strokes seldom sent it in the same direction. His footwork was admirable as was the manner in which he played his defensive strokes to balls just short of a length.
Australia, who had played the same eleven in the previous two games, had to make two changes. Suffering from gastritis, Ponsford stood down and Fairfax had not completely recovered from an operation he had had to undergo at Nottingham. Jackson and à Beckett, therefore, played in their first Test match in England.
England also had alterations. Woolley, Hendren, Allen, Robins and White were all dropped, Sutcliffe, Larwood and Richard Tyldesley coming back and Leyland and Geary being included. As events proved, some of these changes might just as well have not been made. For one thing, the English fielding compared most unfavourably with that in the earlier matches. Tyldesley, avowedly brought in with the idea of keeping the Australian batsmen quiet, again failed in his mission, Geary's bowling had no terrors at all while Larwood still looking very drawn as the result of his illness, had not the stamina to bowl at his full pace and was terribly expensive. Tate, as usual, bore the brunt of the attack and bowled as pluckily as ever but, taken all round, the Englishmen lacked the attributes of a great side and Hammond alone made over fifty runs.
This time, Woodfull won the toss and Australia led off so brilliantly that, when the first day's play ended, they had 458 runs on the board with only three wickets down. The pitch, like those at Nottingham and Lord's, was, on the first day at any rate, lacking in life and pace and all in favour of batsmen. Opening the innings with Woodfull, Jackson off the fifth ball of the second over was caught at forward-short-leg but England had to wait until five minutes past three before they took another wicket, Woodfull and Bradman, in the meantime, putting on 192 runs in two hours and thirty-five minutes. This was very largely the work of Bradman who, quick to settle down, completed 102 out of the first 127 in ninety-five minutes. All the same, Woodfull, by another great display of defensive cricket, rendered his side invaluable assistance. After Woodfull left, bowled in trying to hook a shortish ball, Bradman found another admirable partner in Kippax who if overshadowed by his colleague, played uncommonly well in helping to add 229 in rather less than two and three-quarter hours. The next day McCabe, who had batted twenty minutes overnight, stayed until 63 runs had been put on but nothing of any consequence was accomplished by the rest, the last seven wickets falling in a hundred minutes for 108 runs. Bradman, sixth out at 508, obtained his 334 in six hours and a quarter, his score being made up of forty-six 4's, six 3's, twenty-six 2's, and eighty singles. When he had made 141 he put up a ball towards mid wicket and at 202 he skied a ball over Tate's head at mid-on. Indeed, a man a little quicker on his feet than Tate might have made a catch of it. Actually, Bradman gave only one chance, being missed at the wicket off Geary at 273 when the total was 385. He hit very hard in front of the wicket, scored splendidly on the leg side and very often cut in dazzling fashion. Nobody could have had a better reception than that accorded to Bradman on his return to the pavilion.
Before lunch Hobbs and Sutcliffe scored 17 runs for England but the total was only 53 when Hobbs was out in a manner which provoked considerable discussion. à Beckett, fielding very close in on the on-side to Grimmett's bowling, took the ball from a gentle stroke very low down, turning a complete somersault but retaining possession. Hobbs was about to walk away but stepped back into his crease on overhearing a remark by Oldfield and an appeal from other members of the side. An appeal having been made, Hobbs was perfectly justified in waiting for the decision. Oates, the umpire at the bowler's end, was unable to give one, à Beckett in falling over obscuring his view, so he referred to Bestwick standing at square-leg. Unhappily, Bestwick hesitated before holding up his finger, and the great majority of the crowd took the view that à Beckett had not properly made the catch.
Soon afterwards Sutcliffe was out but Hammond and Duleepsinhji added 59 and then Leyland helped to put on 83, Hammond, when 52, having just previously been missed by Oldfield standing back to Wall. Geary was run out at 206 and England at the close of play, with five wickets down for 212, found themselves 354 behind and requiring 205 to save the follow-on. On the Monday the weather following a storm in the night, which resulted in water lying in patches on the ground, was very bad. So long a delay occurred that not until half past five was play proceeded with. From the manner in which the pitch rolled out it was quite obvious that cricket would have been possible at least an hour earlier. Thirty runs were scored before an appeal against the light at a quarter past six was upheld.
On Tuesday morning Duckworth, who had gone in for ten minutes on Saturday evening, batted so well that the score was up to 289 before he was caught at the wicket, 83 runs having been added in rather more than two hours. Hammond stayed until the score was 319 after resisting the bowling for five hours and twenty minutes. He hit only fourteen 4's but gave a splendid display of skilful batting, neglecting very few opportunities of scoring off anything in the nature of a punishable ball. Chapman, hitting hard, put on 51 runs with Tate but England were all out at a quarter to three for 391, their innings lasting nearly eight hours. The last three wickets fell in half an hour for 36 runs.
England followed on 179 behind and, as over three hours remained for cricket, there was always a possibility of them losing. Hobbs and Sutcliffe opened the innings in a very poor light. After a quarter of an hour, they appealed against it and the players went in. For some extraordinary reason the crowd took this in very bad part, booing the batsmen and cheering the Australians, while on the game being resumed there was a continuance of this unseemly behaviour. With 24 scored, Hobbs was brilliantly thrown out by Bradman from deep-mid-off but Sutcliffe and Hammond stayed nearly an hour to add 50. After Duleepsinhji had been caught at point off a ball which he afterwards confessed he did not see, another appeal against the light was made at ten minutes to six and no further cricket took place. The total attendance reached 77,500, and the gate receipts £8,597.