Second Test

England v West Indies

Norman Preston

At Lord's, June 16, 17, 18, 20, 21. Drawn.

Despite losing the toss again, England who had a different captain in Cowdrey, gave a much better account of themselves than in the first Test. In fact, this match was splendidly contested throughout, interest being sustained right to the end.

Again Sobers was a key figure for West Indies, and he thwarted England on the fourth day when victory seemed just round the corner for the old country. Having gained a lead of 86, England took the first five West Indies second-innings wickets for 95, and looked to be romping home. Then Sobers was joined by his young cousin, David Holford, and they remained together for five hours and 20 minutes until Sobers declared at ten minutes to one on Tuesday.

This unbroken stand of 274 was a record for the fifth wicket for West Indies against England. Sobers, who batted ten minutes longer, hit thirteen fours in his excellent 163, and Holford six boundaries in his 105.

Holford gained the distinciton of hitting his maiden Test century on only his second appearance and later in the day Milburn - three sixes and 17 fours - wound up this grand struggle by emulating Holford's feat and taking out his bat for 126, made in three hours.

Over the five days, four hours and 50 minutes' play was lost through rain, there being only two and three-quarter hours' cricket on the first day when West Indies reached 155 for four wickets. Personal honours went to Higgs, who prised through the early West Indies batsmen, taking three wickets for 14 runs in his first nine overs. He kept a splendid length and moved the ball slightly each way.

The next morning Nurse and Sobers lasted an hour together while they carried their stand to 86 and the total to 205 before D'Oliveira, playing in his first Test, deceived Nurse with a fine ball from the Nursery end which turned up the slope and took his leg stump. Nurse did not offer a stroke, nor did Sobers when he covered up and was lbw to Knight, so that at lunchtime on Friday West Indies were 247 for six.

Higgs and Jones took the new ball directly after the interval and the remaining four wickets were captured for 22 more runs. Higgs, with three for 11 in five overs, finished with six for 91, a grand effort, and Parks claimed Gibbs as his 100th Test victim.

The return of Graveney to Test cricket after an interval of three years, during which England played 38 Tests, proved a wise move by the selectors. Milburn went cheaply on Friday but Boycott and Graveney progressed steadily in a stand of 115, and at nightfall England were 145 for two; Graveney 65, Barrington 8.

Next day, only D'Oliveira and Parks rose to the occasion against some much-improved bowling. There was no excuse for the poor displays of Barrington, Cowdrey, Knight and Titmus.

Sobers attacked persistently, and Hall and Griffith kept more in line with the stumps, yet Graveney batted almost without blemish for four hours and 20 minutes. He wanted only four for his hundred when he cut at a rising ball from Hall and was taken by the wicket-keeper. He hit eleven fours.

Even the new ball did not disturb Parks and D'Oliveira, and their partnership of 48 was in full sail when Parks drove back so fast that the ball went off D'Oliveira's heel and bounced back from the broken wicket. Hall, with commendable presence of mind, swept up the ball and pulled up the stump with both hands without the South African making any attempt to recover his ground.

It was left to the left-handed Higgs to keep up his end while Parks hit freely so that the ninth stand yielded 59, but altogether England occupied eight and a quarter hours for their total of 355.

A fine leg slip catch by Knight disposed of Carew on Saturday evening when West Indies finished the third day 18 for one. The pitch sweated under the covers during the weekend when more rain soaked the outfield, and by ten minutes to one on Monday, following a prompt start, four more wickets had gone and West Indies faced a hopeless position.

At least, so it seemed, but there followed that wonderful partnership between Sobers and Holford which meant that England were set to get 284 to win in four hours.

Rain reduced the time by an hour, but at first West Indies made a brave attempt to achieve success. Griffith disposed of Boycott and Barrington for 43, and at 67 Sobers switched Hall to the Nursery end where he removed Cowdrey and Parks with his first two deliveries.

It had not been intended that Graveney should bat, owing to a badly bruised right thumb, but he came to the rescue, averted a hat-trick, and stayed with Milburn for the last hour and 50 minutes while they added 130 in England's highest fifth-wicket stand against West Indies.

Graveney batted almost one-handed, continually drawing away the other, but while he defended, Milburn followed up his 94 at Manchester with another amazing display of powerful hitting. This was a much better effort. He hoisted Holford, Gibbs and Hall in turn for six, and made very few false strokes.

England, who did not claim the extra half-hour, fell 87 short of their target. The receipts of £58,000 were a record for a cricket match in any part of the world. The full attendance was estimated to be 125,500, of whom 104,000 paid the six shillings outer gate admission fee.

© John Wisden & Co.Ltd.