S. J. Southerton
While in some of the early tours to Australia strong differences of opinion on various points arose to cause trouble it is very doubtful if ever a team from England travelled through the Commonwealth and met with such openly expressed hostility as that visiting Australia in the winter of 1932-33. The members of it were successful in their mission, and, winning four of the five Test matches, recovered the Ashes which had been lost at the Oval to the men who came to England under the command of W. M. Woodfull in 1930. In the results of the representative engagements D. R. Jardine's team faired similarly to that of A. P. F. Chapman four years previously, but while the combination captained by Chapman won the first four Tests off the reel and suffered defeat in the fifth, that of 1932-33 had to wait until the fourth Test match before securing the rubber.
One must always be a little chary of instituting comparisons, but it would be idle to pretend that anything like the same cordial feelings between our players and those of Australia existed during the more recent tour as they did on the occasion of the preceding visit. It is all past history now and earlier in the Almanack comment is made upon the chief cause of the disagreement which came very near to causing a termination of the tour before its allotted time and, indeed, almost brought about a complete breach in the friendly relations which had marked the cricket for so many years between England and Australia. Suffice it to say here that a method of bowling was evolved - mainly with the idea of curbing the scoring propensities of Bradman - which met with almost general condemnation among Australian cricketers and spectators and which, when something of the real truth was ultimately known in this country, caused people at home - many of them famous in the game - to wonder if the winning of the rubber was, after all, worth this strife.
In making up their team for the visit the M. C. C. suffered two great disappointments. R. W. V. Robins, for private reasons, was unable to accept the invitation and K. S. Duleepsinhji, experiencing a recurrence of his illness, found himself compelled to cry off. There can be no doubt that the presence of these two splendid cricketers would have made the party stronger than any previous one to visit Australia. As it was the M. C. C., with a great all-rounder and a brilliant batsman withdrawing, decided to send the same number of men as in the previous tour and the team consisted of seventeen.
There were two joint managers, P. F. Warner and R. C. N. Palairet. As on many previous occasions, W. Ferguson acted as scorer and proved a most efficient baggage man.
The tour was rather lavishly arranged. To begin with seventeen playing members was, to our mind, rather too heavy a load to carry, for admitting the strain imposed by long and tiring railway journeys, the fact that five players, in addition to the one acting as twelfth man, had to kick their heels about and look on, could not possibly be regarded as a good thing for the general well-being of the side. Into the question as to the desirability of taking two managers, there is no need to enter very deeply, but it made the whole party rather unwieldy, with the ever-present danger of a body of young fellows having too many masters. Still, the lamented death of Sir Frederick Toone left the M. C. C. without the most capable manager who has ever represented that body on a foreign tour. I am not for a moment suggesting that any trouble did occur on this head, but what with the inclusion of New Zealand as part of the tour - a valuable missionary move and one too long neglected - and the return home via the Pacific and North America, the whole affair, leaving out of account the strenuousness of the cricket in the Test matches, was, to say the least, something in the nature of a luxury trip.
Taking part in 25 matches, including three in New Zealand, the team won ten, drew thirteen, and lost only one - the second Test, at Melbourne - while one, that against Victoria at Melbourne towards the end, resulted in a tie. Most of the drawn games were those of lesser importance. Against the States elevens the team was highly successful for, prior to the first Test match they defeated South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales each in an innings and later on overcame New South Wales by four wickets, and Queensland in an innings. The second match with Victoria was the tie game and the second with South Australia had to be left drawn, while the two Test matches and the fixture with Wellington, which comprised the programme in New Zealand, were also drawn. To come to the Tests, the first, at Sydney, resulted in a victory for the M. C. C. by ten wickets, the second was lost by 111 runs, the third won by 338 runs, the fourth by six wickets and the fifth and last by eight wickets. It will be seen, therefore, that in the main object of the tour the team established a superiority over their opponents which could not fail of being generally remarked.
As a touring side they were not too strong in all-rounders, for both Wyatt and Hammond, if proving successful in batting, did nothing of consequence in bowling. Still, that is a small point, which, having regard to the successful issue of the tour, need not be stressed. Jardine had under his command a fine array of batsmen, twelve of whom in first-class matches in Australia, earned averages of over 21, while of the regular bowlers nine finished with averages of under 29. In the Test match averages the batting figures were very impressive, ranging from 61 by Paynter to 22 by Jardine, with eight players coming in between these two. Larwood, taking 49 wickets in all first-class matches, stood only a little below Verity who obtained 44 wickets for less than sixteen runs apiece. In the Test matches Larwood actually took 33 for less than 20 runs apiece, falling only three short of Tate's record. The next most successful bowler in Tests was G. O. Allen with 21 wickets, while in all first-class matches, he obtained 39.
Duckworth and Ames, in their two tours to Australia, had strangely diverse experiences, for while in 1928-29 Duckworth kept wicket in all five Test matches, Ames, during the last visit, supplanted him and enjoyed a similar successful time. Generally speaking the fielding of the side was good, but it did not attain to the same pitch of excellence as before, and in the last Test match at Sydney was definitely bad.
Jardine, while nothing like the batsman in Australia of four years earlier, captained the side superbly. Fortunate in having four fast bowlers at command in Larwood, Allen, Voce and Bowes, he rang the changes on them in most astute fashion; placed his field very judiciously and generally, despite the rancour he aroused by the manner in which he exploited fast leg-theory bowling, earned unstinted praise from all the critics for his able management of the team in the field. He had one great difficulty which he never successfully overcame. That was to find a suitable partner for Sutcliffe as opening batsman. In the course of the tour he tried several experiments and while on occasions some of these seemed sound no real successor to Hobbs was discovered. It may be taken for granted that, so much depending upon a satisfactory start to the innings, this caused him a good deal of anxiety. He sought in match after match for a solution to the problem, but not even by the time the team sailed from Auckland on their journey home, did he discover one.
The tour having to be described largely from the cabled reports and from hearsay evidence, it may appear presumptuous, seeing that the team won the Ashes, to criticise the batting methods. In the end they turned out successfully, but one cannot resist a feeling that, having regard to the limitations of the Australian attack, the batting of the Englishmen was rather too often of a negative quality. In effect, too great attention seemed to be paid to what is known as digging in rather than to going for the bowling. One instance of this occurred in the opening Test match when Pataudi, although making a hundred when the bowling had been worn down by Sutcliffe and Hammond, played such a singularly restrained game that few who saw him could have realised how brilliant he usually is in this country. And there were several other occasions when instead of pushing along at even a normal rate, batsmen created the impression that the bowling was desperately difficult to play. They did not take the initiative but allowed it to pass to the fielding side. Despite this however, and the fact that Jardine lost the toss four times, England won the rubber. The performance of Hammond when he scored 203 early in the tour against Victoria at Melbourne, however, stood out in bold relief. I came to the conclusion long before the trip was over that Hammond, by this display of brilliant hitting, did more for the team than most people imagined. The Englishmen were meeting Fleetwood-Smith, the left-hand googly bowler, on whom the hopes of many Australians rested, for the first time. Hammond probably realised that if the Victorian proved successful against the tourists on this occasion, he might easily play for Australia and cause havoc later on. Hammond, by his fierce punishment, settled for the time being, at any rate, the pretentions of Fleetwood-Smith. Hammond made three other scores of three figures, two in Test matches and in New Zealand hit up 336 not out and 227 in the Test matches there. It is hardly necessary to point out that his 336 is the highest individual score ever obtained in an international match, beating by two the record set up at Leeds in 1930 by Bradman. Altogether Hammond, as his record shows, had a very good tour, but if often brilliant was not quite the dominating personality of four years previously.
Sutcliffe, who headed the averages in first-class matches in Australia, again acquitted himself with distinction and put together five scores of over a hundred, his highest, 194, being made in the first Test match at Sydney. Pataudi also made four hundreds, starting the tour with one each in the first two matches at Perth. Then at Sydney, just like his famous countrymen Ranjitsinhji and Duleepsinhji, he signalised his first appearance in a Test match by playing a three-figure innings. Both Sutcliffe and Pataudi began in wonderful style, the former making four hundreds in his first six innings, and the latter four hundreds in his first nine attempts. Pataudi took part in the second Test match, but after that was left out of representative engagements. Leyland, scoring 880 in 21 innings with an average of 44, fared on the whole extremely well and in his last match in Australia made 152 not out against South Australia, but previous to that he had batted finely in the Test matches at Adelaide and Brisbane. Prone to get out leg-before wicket in the early part of the tour, Wyatt took a little time to run into form, but he made many useful scores and was a most valuable member of the combination.
To Paynter the trip must on the whole have been enjoyable, for, coming into the team in the third Test match, he played a great part in enabling England, after a truly deplorable start, to put together a good total, while the fourth Test match will always be associated with his name. Suffering with trouble to his throat, he got up from a bed of sickness to score a noble innings of 83 and then enjoyed the felicity of making the winning hit to give England the Ashes. One of the successes of the tour was Headley Verity, who had a batting average of over 21 in addition to his fine bowling record to which reference has already been made. At Adelaide he helped Paynter in a most valuable stand, batting extremely well in both innings, and at Brisbane he was again associated in another splendid partnership. Flighting the ball with skill in his bowling to be always a dangerous man, he also revealed batting form which, if not coming altogether as a surprise, showed how useful he can be in times of emergency.
Successfully as at times Allen, Voce and Verity acquitted themselves, it was the opinion on all hands that to Larwood belonged chief credit for England winning the rubber. Sharply divergent views will probably always be held as to the desirability of the method of attack he employed. This, however, is not the place to discuss that somewhat thorny subject. Suffice it to say that his fast leg-theory bowling, with three or four fieldsmen close in and others deeper on the leg-side, enabled him to establish an ascendancy over practically all the leading Australian batsmen that continued until the end of the tour. Whatever may be thought of this type of bowling, no possible doubt existed that Larwood proved himself the ideal exponent of it. Stronger probably than on the occasion of his previous visit to Australia, and very judiciously nursed during the matches by Jardine, he not only maintained an extraordinarily accurate length necessary for this form of attack but kept up a tremendous pace. In his own way Larwood obviously must have bowled magnificently. His record of wickets and the standing of his victims proves this, and in match after match Australian batsmen clearly gave the impression of being overawed.
G. O. Allen, about whose selection many hard things were at the time said, fully justified his choice. He did not have recourse to leg-theory bowling, but he accomplished great work, often getting rid of batsmen likely to be dangerous; his fielding close in on the leg side was uniformly good and he played several excellent innings. Altogether a most useful man in the team. With the four best English fast bowlers under his direction Jardine was better off in this respect than any previous England captain. Mention has been made of Larwood and Allen and there remain Voce and Bowes. Apart from getting rid of Bradman first ball in the second Test match, Bowes, who took 30 wickets in all first-class matches, was not the success many people expected him to be when he received his dramatic last hour invitation at the Oval. Voce, out of cricket for some time during the tour owing to illness, obtained fifteen useful wickets in Test matches and 32 in all, and while he bowled very well on many occasions he was at times a little expensive.
Of the rest space does not permit much to be said. Ames though keeping wicket admirably on the whole was, because of his inconsistency, disappointing as a batsman. Brown, after a promising start and much useful work, did not, like Duckworth and Tate, play in a single Test match, and suffered the penalty of a good fielder by being too often picked as 12th man, the duties of which position seemed to consist mainly in taking out refreshments to his colleagues. Mitchell, if having a moderate tour, certainly earned fame by twice getting rid of Woodfull in the Test match at Brisbane. The man who, on the face of things, had great cause for disappointment, was Tate. Going out later than the rest, he bowled uncommonly well in the first match in which he took part - that against New South Wales towards the end of November - but despite his great record in Australia during the previous two visits, he did not appear in a Test match and could almost have been called the Cinderella of the team.
It was the general opinion of all the tourists that the wickets in Australia were vastly different from those of which players on the side who had previously visited that country had experience. The pitches did not seem to last so well, and they were not quite of the same pace. The fact that the Test matches did not extend over so long a period as usual tended to confirm this view. Still, perhaps this was a blessing, for the long drawn-out struggles, especially during the 1928 visit, even if holding the interest of the Australian public, were certainly inclined to become a little tedious. Financially the tour was a success, but not quite in such a marked degree as that of four years earlier.
Match reports for
Match reports for
Tour Match: Western Australia v Marylebone Cricket Club at Perth, Oct 21-24, 1932
Tour Match: Australian XI v Marylebone Cricket Club at Perth, Oct 27-29, 1932
Tour Match: South Australia v Marylebone Cricket Club at Adelaide, Nov 4-8, 1932
Tour Match: Victoria v Marylebone Cricket Club at Melbourne, Nov 11-14, 1932
Tour Match: Australian XI v Marylebone Cricket Club at Melbourne, Nov 18-22, 1932
Tour Match: New South Wales v Marylebone Cricket Club at Sydney, Nov 25-29, 1932
Tour Match: Tasmania v Marylebone Cricket Club at Launceston, Dec 16-19, 1932
Tour Match: Tasmania v Marylebone Cricket Club at Hobart, Dec 23-26, 1932
Tour Match: New South Wales v Marylebone Cricket Club at Sydney, Jan 26-28, 1933
Tour Match: Queensland Country v Marylebone Cricket Club at Toowoomba, Feb 1-2, 1933
Tour Match: Queensland v Marylebone Cricket Club at Brisbane, Feb 4-7, 1933
Tour Match: Northern New South Wales v Marylebone Cricket Club at Newcastle, Feb 18-21, 1933
Tour Match: Victoria v Marylebone Cricket Club at Melbourne, Mar 3-7, 1933
Tour Match: South Australia v Marylebone Cricket Club at Adelaide, Mar 10-14, 1933