Fourth Test match

England v Australia 1930

Interfered with by rain to a much greater extent than was the case in the game at Leeds, the fourth Test Match had also to be left drawn. Cricket went on without interruption on the first two days, but play lasted only forty-five minutes on the third afternoon - as at Leeds - and not a ball was bowled on the last day.

Under conditions which were expected to confer an advantage on the home team, England again had the worst of matters. For the fourth time the batting of the side proved inconsistent, a promising start being discounted by certain failures which were only partially retrieved while the bowling, apart from that of Peebles, did not really inspire confidence or achieve the success anticipated when Australia, on winning the toss, batted on a soft wicket. Australia were once more represented by their eleven of the first two engagements but England made further alterations, I. A. R. Peebles, Goddard and Nichols taking the places of Richard Tyldesley, Geary and Larwood. There was a strong feeling that, the weather being so uncertain just about this time, Parker of Gloucestershire should have been included. As it happened, the match, in any case, could scarcely have been played out, but it is very doubtful if Australia would have scored 345 runs on a slow pitch if the left-hander had been in the England team.

So soft was the turf that the start had to be delayed for half an hour and the foothold proved so uncertain that Chapman, fielding at silly-mid-off, had to put down a lot of sawdust to prevent himself slipping.

Woodfull and Ponsford gave their side another fine start, staying in until a quarter to three and putting on 106 runs for the first wicket. Ponsford batted admirably - in the circumstances better probably than on any other occasion during the tour. His footwork was in every sense first-class, his defence nearly perfect and his scoring strokes, especially in forcing the ball away on the on-side, brought off with a power and certainty entirely good. Woodfull, until Peebles went on, also played extremely well but for a long time before lunch he was definitely uncomfortable and uncertain in dealing with that bowler. The Middlesex amateur caused Ponsford little trouble; he constantly made Woodfull play false strokes. Indeed, Woodfull had made only 10 when a googly, at which he did not play, went only just over the middle and leg stumps. After lunch, Woodfull drove Peebles twice in splendid style, his batting for one brief spell reaching a very high standard.

Bradman had a most unhappy experience. He was nearly bowled first ball by Peebles and, when 10, gave a chance low down in the slips. He hit one 4 off a full-toss and then, trying to cut a leg-spinner, was nicely caught at second-slip at 138. Just about this time, Peebles was bowling extremely well, Kippax being appealed against for leg-before to the first three balls he received. On for an hour before lunch and an hour and a quarter afterwards, Peebles took only one wicket during this time but he bowled well enough to have obtained five or six. Ponsford and Kippax added 46 before Hammond, with an off-break - a very good ball - clean bowled Ponsford at 184. The Victorian had been in three hours and fifty minutes without making a bad stroke. Two more wickets fell before tea, five men being out at that point for 192 runs, and England were on top but, on resuming, Kippax suddenly found his best form and hit two 4's in each of three overs from Peebles, his driving being delightful. Caught low down in the gully at 239, off a ball which got up quickly, Kippax hit eight 4's during his stay of nearly two hours. Nichols, who had gone on at 236, next bowled Oldfield at 243 with a fine ball but that was the last success which fell to England that day, Fairfax and Grimmett adding 32 in the last fifty minutes. Grimmett, however, might have been caught in the slips had Duleepsinhji not been standing too far back to a fast bowler on a slow wicket.

The two not-out batsmen gave further trouble next morning and, before Grimmett was caught at short-leg, the partnership had realised 87 runs in two hours. Grimmett, driving particularly well, made his highest score in a Test Match by excellent batting. His experience in this match was curious for he did not take a wicket. Australia were all out just after half past twelve, 70 runs having been put on in ninety minutes that morning. Fairfax, ninth to leave at 338, was in for nearly three hours and ten minutes. Peebles whose three wickets cost 150 runs, was, by general consent, the best bowler on the England side. He deserved a much better record. If one fault could be urged against him it was that he relied far too much on the googly.

Hobbs and Sutcliffe scored 29 runs before lunch, Hobbs during this time receiving a nasty blow in the groin. It is more than likely that this affected his batting for he made only 31 out of the 108 put on in two hours for the opening partnership. Sutcliffe, on the other hand, gave a brilliant display of driving, pulling and hooking. He might have been caught directly after lunch if Hornibrook, fielding in the slips, had not baulked Richardson but that was the only mistake in a dashing exhibition of strong and certain forcing cricket. He was out to a remarkable catch at long-leg off a big hit, Bradman taking the ball high up and then falling among the spectators. Scoring 74 out of 115 in two hours and a quarter, Sutcliffe hit a 6 and ten 4's. Hammond playing on, England although the 100 had gone up with no wicket down, had three men out for 119. Duleepsinhji driving superbly, he and Leyland added 73 in rather more than an hour. Chapman left at 199, but Leyland and Tate - the former batting with marked restraint - put on 22 in the last twenty-five minutes. All the same, England, with half their wickets down for 221, found themselves at the drawing of stumps 124 runs behind.

The next day it rained. The downpour was not continuous but rather in the shape of heavy squalls and not until half past five could the game be resumed. Then, with McCabe bowling well, England lost three wickets in three-quarters of an hour for 30 runs, McCabe taking them all and having only 14 runs scored from him. Two appeals were made against the light, the second and successful one just after a quarter past six, and soon after the players had gone in rain fell in torrents. The downpour continued throughout the night and so saturated did the already wet turf become that on Tuesday morning, an hour before the game should, in the ordinary way, have been resumed, it was decided that cricket was out of the question.

© John Wisden & Co