Second Test Match

WEST INDIES v ENGLAND 1953-54

Again below full strength, Weekes being unfit, they overplayed England, whose cricket mixed mediocrity with belated brilliance. Despite Hutton's seventh successive defeat in Test tosses and the missing, by him and Evans, of two chances from Holt in Statham's opening over, England won an early initiative through the capture of three wickets for 25.

Walcott and Pairaudeau led a powerful counter-attack, adding 165 in less than three hours before the stylish Pairaudeau lifted a catch in playing his favourite cover-drive. Walcott, who received further aggressive support from the versatile Atkinson, remained the big man of the innings. Whether driving, cutting or forcing the short ball away, he put such force into his strokes that many a fieldsman's hands were bruised. Ninth out, Walcott hit one 6 and twenty-eight 4's in an innings lasting six and a half hours. He took advantage of poor bowling and Hutton's puzzling reluctance to police the off-side boundary for the slow bowlers. This was Walcott's first double century in Test cricket and the sixth made for West Indies.

In contrast to the aggression of the West Indies, England were almost strokeless on a pitch ideal for batting. Ramadhin and Valentine bowled extremely well, but they were allowed to do so by batsmen so intent on waiting for the very bad ball that when it came along they could not untie themselves to deal with it. Graveney, for instance, spent two hours five minutes over fifteen runs before patting back a full toss to the bowler. On the third day England scored 128 runs from 114 overs. Mostly they presented an unhappy sight. Hutton, seemingly weighed down by responsibility, defended for four and a half hours before, launching into almost reckless attack, he skied a catch to the deep. He might have been affected by barracking from the understandably restless crowd.

The second running-out of Stollmeyer brought England little relief. Holt (one 6 and twenty-six 4's) hit cleanly all round the wicket, and he and Worrell put West Indies in a commanding position with a stand of 222, only seven short of the second-wicket record for West Indies against England.

By the time England went in needing 495 to win, or to hold out for nine and a half hours to save the game, several pot-holes had appeared on the turf, but the pitch played far better than was expected from its appearance. Watson went to a good ball in King's opening over, but Hutton, May, Compton and Graveney tackled the situation with a sensible boldness which emphasised the poverty of the first innings display.

Everything went so well that when the score stood at 259 for three ten minutes after lunch on the last day England held a fine chance of saving the game. Then Compton was given out leg-before to a Stollmeyer googly to which he stretched well forward. That ball turned the game.

An hour and a half later the match was over. Graveney batted fluently at one end but did not find another sound partner. Between them seven England batsmen scored nine runs, but at least Compton had found himself again, and he, May and Graveney showed that Ramadhin and Valentine could be hit.

In the first West Indies innings Bailey dislocated a finger, but he continued to bowl and bat.

© John Wisden & Co