Toss: England. Test debuts: England - C.J.Barnett, C.S.Marriott; West Indies - B.J.Sealey.
After their capital work at Manchester, the cricket of the West Indies in the concluding Test match proved disappointing, and early on the third morning England were successful in an innings with 17 runs to spare. Once again no great fault could be found with the bowling and fielding of the tourists, but the batting proved unworthy of a Test match and they did not display any marked ability in dealing with some really splendid bowling by C. S. Marriott. Taking part in his first Test match, the Kent amateur made the most of his opportunity and by clever fighting of the ball, perfect length and spin, he obtained in the two innings eleven wickets for 96 runs - one of the best performance accomplished by a bowler when playing for England for the first time. England won the toss and, staying in for practically the whole of the first day, put together in the course of five hours and three-quarters' actual cricket, a total of 312. On Monday the West Indies were dismissed in two hours for 100 runs and following on 212 behind, lost eight wickets for 190 before stumps were drawn, so that, with only two men to be dismissed, they still wanted 22 runs to save the innings defeat when they went in on Tuesday. As it happened, ten minutes' cricket on the last morning proved sufficient to bring the match to an end, but it was a very near thing, for rain, which for some time had threatened, began to fall heavily five minutes after the players had left the field.
It is only fair to the West Indies to observe that the conditions when they went in on Monday were not favourable to them. There had been a little rain in the early morning, but although this did not affect the pitch to any alarming extent, the atmosphere remained gloomy, so that against bowlers of the pace of Clark and Nichols, the visiting batsmen laboured under a considerable handicap. All the same, they never recovered from a bad start, nobody being able to stay long enough and show that the bowling could be dealt with.
The cricket on the opening day, when England had a hard wicket on which to bat with a very fast outfield, left a rather unsatisfied feeling in the minds of most who saw it. Still, it brought distinction to Bakewell, who, in making a hundred constantly stood in the way of a threatened collapse, and after tea it was left to Barnett and Nichols to participate in the most productive stand of the innings. During the first three-quarters of an hour England indeed fared badly. Walters was out with only two runs on the board and Hammond, after being missed at slip before scoring, left at 27. For a time Wyatt played uncommonly well, but at 62 he hit a ball straight into the hands of cover-point and at 68 Turnbull played on. The position was one of considerable anxiety, but Bakewell, who had started in rather uncertain fashion, then found his best form and made a great and successful effort to pull the game round. If never thoroughly at home, Langridge helped to add 79 runs in seventy-five minutes, and Bakewell and Ames next put on 47 at about one a minute. This stand came to an end when Bakewell was caught high up at slip. Scoring 107 out of 194 in three hours and fifty minutes, Bakewell revealed a temperament eminently fitted for the big occasion. He did not allow his early lapses from strict orthodoxy to upset him and once he had established his confidence he played extremely well. Adopting a very pronounced two-eyed stance with his right shoulder brought round until he almost faced the bowler, he did not seem to be particularly quick on his feet, but whenever he jumped in to hit he got right to the pitch of the ball. He displayed no great variety of strokes, but his driving and cutting were admirable. Ames left at 208 and then Nichols and Barnett added 95 runs in eighty-five minutes. Nichols drove and hit to leg, while Barnett, with his strokes in front of the wicket, batted in more taking style than any other member of the side. He was in for an hour and fifty minutes. The West Indies bowled and fielded well, and if the attack did not look particularly deadly, an accurate length kept batsmen quiet.
In the first innings of the West Indies Sealy stayed for about half an hour but nobody dealt with the bowling of Marriott, Clark and Nichols either confidently or successfully. Marriott disguised his spin very well and never made the ball break too much while taking his five wickets for just over seven runs apiece. There might have been a different story if Headley had escaped damage, but two painful blows - one of he thigh from Clark and one on the body from Nichols - affected his play. Ames kept wicket admirably, giving away only one bye and having a hand in the dismissal of four men. When the West Indies followed on Roach batted in most bright and attractive style. He hooked the ball with great power and certainty and the first wicket produced 77 runs in forty minutes. Two later Roach was out, having obtained his runs in forty-five minutes with a six and five 4's as his chief hits. The rest of the cricket was rather dull, nearly everyone playing a sedate game. At tea the score was 137, but Headley and Da Costa were both out at 138, Da Costa having been in for about eighty minutes. Later on Grant received a blow on the arm and had to retire, but on resuming his innings he and Achong stayed together until nearly twenty-five minutes past six, Grant being eighth out at 183. Martindale was missed first ball, but, as already observed, the match soon ended on the third morning. It is interesting to note that for the first time in the history of Test matches at the Oval, Surrey had no representative in the England team.