Second Test match

England v Australia 1938

Toss: England

A match of many fluctuations and fine personal achievements ended with Australia needing 111 runs to win and with four wickets to fall. In the Nottingham game, the scoring of a double hundred on each side had been unprecedented and yet in the very next Test match the same thing was done again. Hammond, who with able assistance from Paynter and Ames rescued England from a deplorable start, played an innings of 240 - the highest in England against Australia. Brown batted through the whole of Australia's first innings, scoring 206 not out and equalling the performances of Dr. J. E. Barrett, Warren Bardsley and W. M. Woodfull by carrying his bat through a Test innings against England.

The danger of losing faced the Englishmen at one time on Tuesday when, after taking their second innings on a rain-affected pitch, they led by no more than 148 with half the side out. Then Compton once again met Australia's bowling with admirable nerve and coolness for so young a player and from the inspiration of his effort and that of Paynter. England recovered their grip on the match and, declaring, set Australia a task of 315 runs in two and three quarter hours. On the last day Bradman, as in each of his four previous Test against England, hit a three-figure score and in doing so exceeded the highest individual aggregate in the series - the 3,636 runs made by Hobbs.

Only in one respect did England's eleven differ from that which appeared at Trent Bridge, Wellard, the Somerset fast bowler, replacing Sinfield. Austraila brought in Chipperfield for Ward. After England's wonderful start in the previous Test, the events that followed success in the toss came as a rude shock. McCormick made the ball swing in to the batsmen and caused it to lift awkwardly; in half an hour he had Hutton and Barnett caught at short leg and Edrich, in between these successes, played on in trying to hook. Actually, excluding no-balls, McCormick in twenty-five deliveries took all three wickets for 15 runs; he bowled more accurately than at any previous time during the tour. With England in this sorry position Hammond joined Paynter, the resolute cricket of the left-hander gave Hammond confidence to play his natural game, and this fourth wickets pair set up a new record by adding 222. The previous best stand for England's fourth wickets against Australia was 151 by C. B. Fry and F. S. Jackson (now Sir Stanley) at the Oval in 1905.

The partnership lasted over three hours. McCormick lost his pace and lapsed into inaccuracy; O'Reilly, although not difficult, alone kept a steady length; Fleetwood-Smith worried neither batsman. Hammond went to his hundred after two hours and twenty-five minutes' masterly batting and gradually Paynter, bringing into play the off-drive, cut and hit to leg, scored more freely. It was Paynter's misfortune to miss a three-figure innings by one run, but his competent display was made at a very opportune time for England. Besides a 6 off Fleetwood-Smith, he hit thirteen 4's. Compton was soon out but that was Australia's last success before stumps were drawn with a total of 409 for five wickets to show a very fine recovery. O'Reilly, towards the close of play, bowled grandly, but Ames batted with sound judgment and it was altogether a day of triumph for the experienced batsmen on England's side. So large was the crowd that the gates were closed before noon. Part of the record partnership between Hammond and Paynter was watched by His Majesty the king.

On Saturday, the cricket was seen by the largest crowd ever to assemble at headquarters - the attendance was officially returned as 33,800. The gates were closed before the start and, after hurried consultations between officials, spectators were permitted to retain positions they had taken up in the grass, the boundary ropes being moved forward a few yards, thus reducing the playing area. England definitely gained the upper hand before the close. First of all, Hammond and Ames established a new sixth wicket record by putting on 186 and surpassing the 170 made in the Oval Test of 1930 by Sutcliffe and R. E. S. Wyatt. They had been together two hours and a half when Hammond, playing late for a good length in-swinger, was bowled let stump. Making the highest score for England in any home Test match, and hitting thirty-two 4's, Hammond batted over six hours. His straight, off and cover-driving was magnificent; he moved to meet the ball with the ease of a master. The only semblance of a mistake occurred when a sizzling drive sped towards Chipperfield who, in trying to stop it, split a finger and did not afterwards field.

Just before his dismissal, Hammond received a nasty blow on the left elbow and the injury and also a pulled leg muscle prevented him bowling in this match and for some time afterwards. Either by instruction or on their own inclination, the other batsmen attempted to force the game but not with much success. Ames, ninth to leave, played a splendid innings at a pinch, batting three and a quarter hours without a chance to hand and hitting ten 4's. It must be added that through an innings lasting seven hours and producing England's highest total at Lord's, the Australia fielding was maintained at a high standard.

By the call of time, Australia had lost half their wickets, but a fine, fighting innings by Brown checked England's progress. Bradman played on and when McCabe's audacious hooks and hard cuts threatened another punishing effort from his bat Verity dismissed him with a brilliant catch in the gully, holding on to a hard-hit ball as he lost his balance. A longer partnership followed, Hassett batting with style and confidence but Wellard, resuming, disposed of Hassett and Badcock in one over. Barnett stayed through the last half hour with Brown, who left off with his score 140 not out, and that of Australia 299 for five.

On Monday, the Englishmen lost little time in strengthening their grip on the game. Verity, put on first thing, disposed of Barnett and Chipperfield in eight deliveries and when O'Reilly went in seventh wickets down Australia needed 37 more runs to avoid a follow-on. O'Reilly promptly hit out at the slow bowling and a serious mistake occurred in the field. It is not too much to say that had Paynter held the ball when O'Reilly skied it to long-on after scoring eleven, England would have been in a position to make Australia follow their innings and thereby secure a better chance to force a win. The fieldsman, however, misjudged the flight of the ball and came too far forward so that although he leaped up for it he could not complete a catch. Australia at this point required seventeen more runs to save the follow-on and O'Reilly, pulling two successive deliveries form Verity for 6 and taking 16 off the over, soon settled that question.

Meanwhile Brown, keeping up his strong back play and scoring with stylish drives and well timed cuts and hits to leg, had reached 150 in ten minutes under five hours and before England got down the eighth wickets, 85 runs were added in 42 minutes. Soon after Farnes was brought back into the attack he not only bowled O'Reilly and had McCormick caught at short leg off successive balls but was deprived of a hat trick owing to Compton missing a slip catch offered by Fleetwood-Smith. In his highest score against England, O'Reilly, besides his two 6.'s, hit five 4's.

After three hours had been lost owing to rain Brown, at 184, was also missed by Paynter, this time at mid-on, and with Fleetwood-Smith showing surprisingly good defence, Brown was able t complete a double hundred before the innings ended with a difference of 72 runs in England's favour. As already stressed, Australia's fine fight was almost entirely the work of Brown, who from start to finish of an innings lasting six and a quarter hours, played with a beautifully straight bat, kept an almost impregnable defence and, without ever appearing to make real effort to punish the bowling, hit a five and twenty-two 4's. some of his glides and pushes towards the on-side were made with remarkable accuracy.

The rain transformed an easy wickets into one soft on top and hard underneath, and England's opening pair fell for 28 so that when the last day was entered upon the match was in a fairly even position. Not even O'Reilly proved such a nuisance to batsmen as did McCormick at this juncture. After taking the wickets of Edrich in his first over, McCormick bowled Verity, who had been sent in overnight, and half the England side were out for 76 when Hammond, who owing to his injury had a runner, tried a one-hand stroke at a ball outside his leg stump and skied it. Paynter and Compton added 52 but Ames did not stay long after a blow form he ball fractured a finger. In the hour of great need, however, com batted superbly for England, playing fast rising balls from McCormick very coolly, driving grandly on either side of the wickets and relishing short-pitched balls form McCormick. Some hard hitting by Wellard helped to carry England clear of anxiety. The eighth partnership realizing 74, including a mighty pull by Wellard which sent a ball form McCabe on to the Grand Stand balcony.

Hammond declared, with Compton not out after making 56 of his runs form boundaries, and left Australia an impossible task in the time available, any thought of a failure was soon dispelled by Bradman. After the tea interval the Australia captain batted in brisk style and he and Hassett added 64, short bowling by Farnes receiving instant punishment. It had long since become evident that the Test would be another case of stalemate and Bradman kept life in the cricket by hitting his fourteenth hundred against England as the outcome of less than two hours twenty minutes' batting; his 102 included fifteen 4's. During this innings, Paynter kept wicket in place of Ames and did the job well. An interesting point of the match was that Brown was on the field from the start of play until five o'clock in the fourth day; another was that Badcock failed to score in either innings. The total number of spectators admitted to the ground on payment was 100,933 - a record for Lord's - and the receipts were £ 28,64 11s. 9d.

© John Wisden & Co