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In the second Test Match, at Melbourne, Jardine again lost the toss, but England started even better than they had done at Sydney and, at the end of the first day, Australia had seven men out for 194. This splendid work was not followed up at all well when it came England's turn to bat and the match - over in four days - resulted in a victory for Australia by 111 runs.
Larwood did not take a wicket on the first afternoon and, so far from repeating his success of the earlier Test match, he dismissed only four men in the two innings at a cost of 102 runs. Having recovered from his indisposition, Bradman was able to play for Australia, whose bowling was strengthened by the inclusion of Ironmonger. Bradman, dismissed for nought on the opening day, afterwards scored a brilliant 103 not out, but O'Reilly had most to do with the success of Australia by getting rid of ten of the Englishmen for less than 13 runs apiece. Wall, too, helped materially when England batted a first time and Ironmonger later on completed the discomfiture of the visitors.
For a Test Match in Australia, this was a game of small scores, the highest innings being 228 by Australia, and it can be said at once that the pitch proved quite different from any experienced in former tours by English cricketers. For some reason or other it lacked the usual firmness associated with wickets at the Victorian capital and Jardine, playing all his pace bowlers by including Bowes for Verity, was completely misled in his assumption that fast bowling would be likely to win the match. Apart from Wall, spin bowlers carried off the honours and of these England had only Hammond in their team.
To begin with Fingleton, going in first, made 83 out of 156 before being fifth to leave. His defense throughout was wonderfully sound and his patience unlimited to withstand for nearly four hours an attack composed of Larwood, Voce, Allen, Bowes and Hammond. At times he made poor strokes, but generally he timed those on the leg side well and his cutting was excellent. McCabe occupied an hour and a quarter over 32 and Richardson hit up 34 in about the same time. Australia had their worst shock when Bradman was out first ball to Bowes. He tried to hook it, but edged it down on to the stumps. Previously Woodfull had also been cheaply dismissed. At times the ball bounced a good deal, Woodfull on one occasion being struck over the heart.
On the second day the last three wickets went down for another 34 runs but then against O'Reilly and Wall the Englishmen gave such a poor display that at the drawing of stumps nine wickets were down for 161 and with only Bowes to go in they were still 67 runs behind. Sutcliffe scored 52 but enjoyed unusual luck in getting them, All things considered the Australians were to be congratulated on fighting back so well. Wyatt and Hammond were quickly dismissed near lunch time and, although the score at tea was 91 for three wickets, six men were got rid of during the hour and a half afterwards for 70 runs, only some plucky hitting by Allen retrieving the situation to some extent. Actually five wickets fell after tea for 47 before Allen and Voce added 23 in the last half hour.
On the third day there was a record crowd of nearly 70,000 people present. The England innings was finished off for 169 which gave Australia a lead of 59 runs. At their second attempt Australia, thanks almost entirely to Bradman, made 191 and towards the end of the day England, left to get 251 in the last innings had forty-five minutes' batting. Jardine changed the batting order, sending in Leyland with Sutcliffe and so well did this move turn out that the two men scored 43 together without being separated. In the whole match that was the most momentous period for England and, after what had gone before, it said worlds for the skill of the two Yorkshiremen that they should have kept their wickets intact through a most anxious time. The day's cricket really was dominated by Bradman who, after a succession of failures, simply took his courage in both hands and played a wonderful innings. In a way his batting was masterly. He went in when two wickets had fallen for 27 runs; resisted a lot of good bowling for over three hours and a half to complete his hundred when Ironmonger, the last man, was in with him. While Wall and O'Reilly were his partners he sacrificed many runs to keep the bowling. To few other Australian batsmen could such an innings as Bradman played have been possible. The England bowling was very good all the time, Hammond doing excellent work.
So, on the last day, England, with all their wickets in hand, required 208 runs, but O'Reilly and Ironmonger proved too much for them on a pitch which by this time took the spin of the ball to a pronounced degree and England were all out for 139. Sutcliffe and Leyland were soon separated and of the rest only Wyatt, Hammond and Allen stayed any time. For Australia the victory was a triumph of teamwork and they were to be congratulated on pulling the match out of the fire after their poor show on the first day. O'Reilly, bowling into the wind, made the ball float while Ironmonger found a spot on the wicket and caused the ball to lift and at times turn abruptly. The fact that in fine weather 40 wickets went down in four days for an aggregate of 727 runs clearly suggested that at no time was the pitch all that it should have been.