Fifth Test Match

AUSTRALIA v ENGLAND

Brearley added to his triumphs by taking the series, and he became the first England captain since Jardine in 1932-33 to win four Tests in a series in Australia. For Yallop it was a profoundly disappointing experience. England, put in to bat on a green and lively pitch, were twice in serious trouble, but Australia, set to make 366 in nine and a quarter hours, experienced the worst batting collapse and this cost them the match.

Yallop had called in a local football coach to motivate his side, and with England at 27 for five he had cause for great expectations. A crowd of 25,004 celebrated Hogg's record in passing Arthur Mailey's 36 wickets against England in 1920-21, and with Hurst also displaying controlled aggression, it was left to Botham to halt the slide to total disaster. He did so with a brilliant 74, including two 6s and six 4s in two hours forty minutes, and went on to demonstrate once again his considerable all-round flair with four wickets for 42. Australia, looking for a substantial lead to justify the gamble of conceding first innings, could do not better than England and finished five runs behind.

Hurst again bowled well and effectively in England's second innings, and when, despite a careful effort of over three hours by Boycott, they were down to 132 for six, Australia's revived hopes were justifiably high. Miller, who made a big advance on the tour, and Taylor represented England's last chance, and they could not have better served the needs of their side.

Batting with rare skill and application - certainly it was Taylor's innings of his life - they more than doubled the total. When Miller was out thirteen minutes from the close they had put on 135, broken and England seventh-wicket partnership record for the ground, and put England in a position of strength, Another stand of 69 with Emburey meant Taylor had stayed while 204 runs were scored, and there were many regrets when he was caught at the wicket well down the leg side off the last ball before lunch on the fourth day. With 97 he equalled his best score, and, as in the first innings with Willis, the Australians were frustrated by the resolution of batsmen in the lower half of the order. Taylor hit six boundaries and batted for six hours, but he lost the Player of the Match award to Botham on a split 3-2 vote.

With the pitch eased and well behaved, Australia, for whom Hogg bowled only nine overs on the crucial third day because of muscle soreness, were still in with a chance. However, Wood made it that much harder by running himself out again - Boycott made a direct hit at one stump from mid on- and Darling left his leg stump exposed as he tried to whip Botham to leg.

On the final day the target was slimmed down to 284 with eight wickets left. England's hopes were largely pinned on the spin of Miller and Emburey, but Hughes and Yallop batted with such fluency that Brearley was obliged to call on Willis and Hendrick to control the scoring-rate. At once the situation changed dramatically. Hendrick dismissed Yallop with an exceptional delivery, and Gower, at square cover, made a brilliant diving catch to dismiss Hughes off the same bowler. Willis, who had not bowled with his customary fire since the second Test at Perth, suddenly regained his fire and rhythm. The rot set in with a vengeance and six wickets crashed for 15. Miller also took wickets, and in 100 astonishing minutes Australia's last eight wickets had gone.

One again experience, strength in depth, and a sharply developed team spirit had prevailed. Nevertheless, England were honest enough to admit they had never expected such a headlong rush to victory, and Brearley was apt to describe it as freakish after paying a high compliment to his side.

© John Wisden & Co