Fifth Test

Australia v England

The final Test, on which the series depended, was anti-climax and doomed to be indecisive before rain washed out all play on the fourth day.

England increased their seam bowling by including Knight at the expense of Allen. Australia recalled Cowper in place of Burge.

Up to a point England played with the necessary enterprise after a bad start. Boycott, though out of touch, took 60 of the first 80 balls bowled, then ridiculously ran out Barber and himself fell twenty minutes later.

However, Barrington played his most aggressive Test innings; indeed he hit the fastest century of the series, for he needed only 122 balls for his first 102 inside two and a half hours. He hit two 6's and eight 4's. By contrast Edrich needed 160 balls for his first 50. Though Cowdrey and Parks batted well, putting on 138 together, the pace slackened, and finally Titmus needed over two hours for 42.

Thoughts of victory gave way to the urge to ensure against defeat, and in the field England averaged only 96 balls an hour. Such timewasting allowed Australia little chance of striking for a win, and they were content to play quietly.

Lawry's 108, his fifth century against the English bowlers, lasted over six hours. During the season he batted over forty-one hours against the touring team and averaged under 24 runs an hour. He was an avid, but tedious, accumulator of runs, 979 in eleven innings. When he and Cowper had added 212 for the third wicket and batted together almost five and a half hours, the match was already half dead.

Cowper matched Lawry's patience. His first 100 occupied five hours, ten minutes, his second three and three-quarter hours, and altogether he batted seven minutes over twelve hours for 307, a monumental innings in which were twenty 4's. Fear of losing frustrated the good intentions with which both sides doubtless entered this disappointing and quickly-to-be-forgotten match. It was a sour ending to a generally appetising tour in Australia.

© John Wisden & Co