Third Test Match

ENGLAND v WEST INDIES 1957

N.P.

Toss: England.

This match will be remembered mainly for the feats of Graveney, Worrell and O. G. Smith. The Gloucestershire batsman, after so many disappointing Test displays, made 258, his highest score in first-class cricket, and Worrell and Smith clearly saved West Indies by brilliant and determined centuries. There were two other hundreds -- by Peter Richardson and May -- and Goddard played a match-saving defensive innings for West Indies on the last day.

For most of the five days bowlers experienced a lean time in a heat-wave. Only nine wickets fell on the first three days while 914 runs were scored. Thunderstorms on Saturday evening and on Sunday drenched the ground, but the pitch was firm when West Indies resumed their first innings promptly to time on Monday. They broke down before Trueman, but following on 247 behind, kept England in the field until after tea on Tuesday. England wanted 121 in the final hour, a task that proved impossible.

Two factors told against England. They dropped Lock from their original twelve which left them with only four front-line bowlers who were reduced to three when Bailey ricked his back. Secondly, having shown the highest standard of ground fielding, England later missed at least five possible chances when West Indies were struggling to avoid defeat.

As usual when batsmen shine at Trent Bridge the pitch came in for a deal of mixed criticism. It was a beauty and remained in perfect order to the end. No doubt, it benefited from the week-end rain which it readily absorbed. With West Indies collapsing, it was rolled twice before lunch on Monday so that not even in the later stages did it become dusty or responsive to spin.

England were fortunate to win the toss in such excellent conditions, but they suffered an early reverse when D. V. Smith nibbled at a short ball in Worrell's third over. Then came Graveney at 11.45 p.m. on Friday and he was not dismissed until 2.20 p.m. on Saturday, during which time he not only hit his first Test century in twenty-two appearances in England but went on to score 258.

Except when he opened his score in lofting Worrell close to backward short leg, Graveney rarely looked in trouble. He drove with tremendous power, making the fullest use of his height. Fourth out at 510, he batted for seven hours fifty-five minutes and altogether hit thirty 4s.

Richardson, who excelled with the cut and pull, made his 126 (ten 4s) in four hours forty minutes, his stand of 266 with Graveney being the highest for England's second wicket against West Indies. The bowling was thoroughly mastered when May joined Graveney and the crowd greatly enjoyed seeing these two artists together.

The end of the first day found England 360 for two wickets; Graveney 188, May 40. The two batsmen continued in the same vein until O.G.Smith, in only his sixth over of the innings, dismissed May leg-before at 487. The England captain scored his faultless 104 (fourteen 4s) in just over three hours.

Whereas Ramadhin and Valentine were innocuous, Smith also disposed of Graveney so that in eleven overs he claimed two wickets for only 14 when over 500 runs were on the board. It was at this stage that Derek Richardson began his first innings as an England player. Staying seventy minutes, he left no doubt as to his promise. Later, when Cowdrey and Evans were punishing the tired bowlers, Ramadhin limped off the field with a strained leg muscle.

West Indies had toiled manfully for ten hours when May declared at the tea interval. They wanted 470 to avoid a follow-on and introduced a new pair of opening batsmen in Worrell and the tall left-handed Sobers. Both rose to the occasion and at the close of the second day West Indies were 59 for no wicket.

Worrell went on to bat all through Saturday, waging a remorseless battle with his colleagues against some splendid bowling and excellent fielding. Laker, in particular, served England admirably. Laker broke the opening stand at 87, after Sobers had defended carefully for two and three-quarter hours, and just before lunch he held a high return from Walcott with the left hand, but another three hours passed before England gained their next success, during which time Kanhai helped Worrell to put on 129.

For the first five hours on Saturday West Indies averaged no more than 30 runs an hour compared with England's steady 60 earlier in the match, but in the last hour Weekes took command with Worrell and they added 66, so that West Indies finished the third day 295 for three wickets; Worrell 145 Weekes 33.

The game underwent a big transformation on Monday. West Indies broke down so badly that they lost twelve wickets in less than six hours. Anxiety over the week-end rain rather than the wiles of Trueman, Statham and Laker--well as these three bowled--caused their downfall. The collapse began when Weekes, trying to hook the third ball of the day, was a shade too soon and it went off the back of a glove on to his wicket. Worrell proceeded to demonstrate that the bowling could be dealt with efficiently, but the loss of Weekes seemed to demoralise the other players and England captured the last seven first innings wickets for the addition of only 77 to Saturday's total. Trueman never made the ball lift or fly in a manner to cause alarm, but he did the main damage in the first hour when in seven overs he took five wickets for 11 runs--a very fine piece of sustained hostile bowling.

Ramadhin, who had Valentine as runner, stayed forty-five minutes while the last wicket put on 55. So Worrell carried his bat through an innings lasting just over nine and a half hours for 191 including twenty-six 4s. He was a tired man, but again opened with Sobers only to fall at the end of another hour to a very fine ball that moved in late. Worrell was on the field continuously from 11.30 a.m. on Thursday until 3.0 p.m. on Monday--altogether twenty and a half hours, probably the longest time any cricketer has endured.

When the first five West Indies second innings wickets fell for only 89, England seemed to be galloping to victory, but O. G. Smith, aided in turn by Atkinson and Goddard, applied the brake. Smith played a great innings for his side. Occasionally he indulged in carefree strokes, but for the most part he disciplined himself to the urgency of the occasion. He might well have gone during the last hour on Monday for when only 44 he was dropped on the square-leg boundary off Laker by Pressdee of Glamorgan who was acting substitute for Bailey.

But for that mistake England ought to have won with plenty of time to spare, but West Indies were still in a precarious position at the end of the fourth day when their score stood at 175 for five wickets; Smith 67, Atkinson 36.

With victory almost in sight, England saw their advantage gradually slip away as West Indies fought magnificently for a draw. Above everything else stood out the wonderful innings by O. G. Smith. He surpassed his 161 of the Edgbaston Test and. staying seven hours, was eighth out at 352 having hit three 6's and ten 4s. Just after midday, when Trueman and Statham took the new ball, Atkinson's superb effort of two and a half hours ended in a catch to Evans.

Nearly five and a half hours remained for play, and West Indies had only four wickets left when Goddard, their captain, arrived. He survived an early chance, when only six, off Statham to Evans, and later, when 47, was dropped twice in the same over off Laker by Trueman and Bailey. Unperturbed by these incidents, the left-handed Goddard batted heroically for three hours forty minutes while he and Smith added 154, a record for the West Indies' seventh wicket against England.

Even after Goddard left, England needed another half-hour to finish the innings, for Ramadhin was missed by Graveney at slip. With Bailey taking little part in the attack an abnormal amount of work fell on Trueman. Statham and Laker. All responded nobly.

With only 16 overs bowled in the final hour, England needed to average over seven runs an over and at no time did they look like accomplishing the task. They still wanted 57 when the umpires called time.

Attendance 61,167, receipts £30,239.

© John Wisden & Co
 
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