Second Test Match

ENGLAND v WEST INDIES 1957

L.S.

At Lord's, June 20, 21, 22. England won by an innings and 36 runs with over two days to spare. They were vastly superior in the field and possessed a much better balanced side for the occasion. The Lord's pitches throughout the season had shown themselves to be eminently suited to fast and fast-medium bowling, but whereas the England selectors realised this, West Indies did not, or at least chose to ignore the facts. They went into the match with only one bowler of real pace and preferred to recall Valentine who was given only three overs in England's total of 424.

The England selectors made three changes from the side which drew at Edgbaston, bringing in Graveney, Smith and Wardle for Insole, Laker and Lock. Lock declared himself unfit for selection, and Laker, after being one of the original twelve named, withdrew because of back trouble. The selectors sent for Tattersall of Lancashire, but did not require him, deciding to rely on Wardle as the sole spin bowler and to go all out for speed. This also enabled them to include an additional batsman. Smith, the Sussex left-hander, made his Test debut, as did Asgarali for West Indies. Pairaudeau and Atkinson stood down for Asgarali and Valentine.

West Indies won the toss, but broke down so badly on a lively pitch that all the advantage they gained from batting first was lost. Trueman struck an early blow by getting Asgarali leg before to a yorker, but the real trouble for West Indies began when Bailey appeared.

In his 50th Test Match, Bailey had rarely bowled better. Moving the ball either way off the seam and making an occasional ball lift, he completely demoralised the batsmen and West Indies were dismissed in under four hours. Bailey's seven for 44 was the best performance by any bowler against West Indies in a Test in England.

Rohan Kanhai, who batted an hour and a half, was one of the few batsmen who shaped well.

England also began badly, and while still fresh Gilchrist and Worrell gave the batsmen many awkward moments. When Gilchrist dismissed Graveney and May in one over, England were 34 for three, but they recovered through a splendid stand of 95 in eighty-five minutes between Richardson and Cowdrey. They were severe on Ramadhin and Valentine, who were given short spells to rest Gilchrist and Worrell. Gilchrist returned and broke the partnership by bowling Richardson, whose fine aggressive innings, lasting a little over two hours, contained eleven 4's.

England finished the first day seven ahead with six wickets in hand, but they could scarcely have expected to gain the substantial lead they eventually enjoyed. Friday was a most unhappy day for West Indies. Their fielding went to pieces, the bowling was collared and three wickets were lost cheaply before the close. They began well enough, Bailey being bowled without addition to the overnight score of 134, but from that moment everything went wrong.

Close received a life when four and Cowdrey was missed at the wicket when 47. Not only did they add 58 for the sixth wicket, but they took the fire out of Gilchrist and Worrell and paved the way for the rest of the onslaught. Cowdrey, never at fault again, took complete control, while Evans, helped by five dropped catches, made the most of his luck. They put on 174 in five minutes under two hours, the highest seventh wicket partnership in England's Test history. Evans made 82 in that time, hitting eleven 4's.

Cowdrey did not last much longer, batting altogether five hours twenty minutes for 152, his second successive score over 150 in the series. Perfectly timed cover drives and square cuts brought him the majority of his fourteen 4's. The later batsmen made merry and Trueman on-drove Ramadhin for three 6's in one over.

England were all out just on tea time for 424, a lead of 297, nine more than that gained by West Indies in the first Test. West Indies missed no fewer than twelve chances in the innings and could blame only themselves for this unenviable position. In the last hour and fifty minutes on the second day they lost Kanhai, Smith and Walcott for 45 and practically any hope of saving the match had gone. Asgarali, who pulled muscles at the back of both legs, did not open the innings, but went in at the fall of the second wicket with a runner.

A crowd of over 30,000 saw West Indies fight gallantly on Saturday, but their task was hopeless. The ball often rose nastily, particularly at the nursery end where all through the match the faster bowlers were able to exploit a peculiar ridge. Several of the West Indies players received nasty knocks and Weekes, the most unfortunate in this respect, cracked a bone on a finger of his right hand.

Asgarali, still limping, stayed an hour on the third morning, but the first real check to England's bowlers came when Sobers and Weekes put on 100 in ninety-five minutes for the fifth wicket. Both batted extremely well and Weekes showed by far his best form of the tour. He attacked the bowling with a succession of powerful strokes and even his finger injury failed to disturb him. Sobers stayed nearly four hours, but once he left the end was in sight. Worrell never settled down and Weekes fell at 233 after hitting as many as sixteen 4's in his 90 made in two and three-quarter hours. It was a superb innings by a talented player.

The match ended ten minutes after tea and England, by an overwhelming margin, were one up in the series. Bailey, in the match, took eleven wickets, equalling C. S. Marriott and W. Voce for the highest number of wickets obtained in any Test against West Indies. Attendance 98,985, receipts £43,976.

© John Wisden & Co