Fourth Test Match

ENGLAND v WEST INDIES 1957

N.P.

At Leeds, July 25, 26, 27. England won by an innings and five runs, the match being all over by a quarter to three on Saturday afternoon. This hollow victory gave England the rubber and brought personal distinction to Loader who, in taking nine wickets for 86 runs, performed the hat-trick when the West Indies last four first innings wickets were taken in four balls. Trueman bowled O. G. Smith with the last ball of an over and then Loader removed Goddard, Ramadhin and Gilchrist.

It was only the second hat-trick accomplished by an Englishman in a home Test, the first being by J. T. Hearne against Australia and also at Leeds in 1899. At Manchester, in 1912, T. J. Matthews did the hat-trick twice on the same afternoon for Australia and South Africa in the first match of the Triangular tournament.

Loader, who had not played in the first three Tests, received his chance because Statham was injured and could not be considered for selection. When Bailey dropped out with a split hand, D. W. Richardson was added to the party and he duly became twelfth man. West Indies intended to include Dewdney but an abcess in the mouth put him in hospital and so Pairaudeau completed the eleven which included Alexander for the first time. Atkinson also was unfit.

A heavy overcast sky and stiff cross breeze made the conditions ideal for seam bowling on a well-marled pitch but few people could have anticipated such a poor batting performance by West Indies after Goddard had won the toss. Forty minutes passed while Worrell and the left-handed Sobers played cautiously against the accurate attack of Trueman and Loader who had eight fielders behind the striker.

May was just preparing for his first bowling change when Sobers turned Loader sharply and Lock, diving to his right, brought off an amazing catch at leg-slip. England appeared to have missed a great chance of dismissing Worrell cheaply when Richardson, by a brilliant pick-up at cover, cut off a sizzling drive which left Worrell stranded in mid-pitch, but in his excitement Richardson sent his return high above Evans's head.

Smith, the Sussex left-arm bowler, put in a very steady spell from the pavilion end and when Loader returned at the opposite end his late swing accounted for both Worrell and Weekes in the same over, the latter also being deceived by a subtle decrease of pace.

With three men out for 42, West Indies were in a bad position, but Rohan Kanhai and Walcott made a stubborn stand, raising the total to 112 for three at tea. Kanhai was treated to a very heavy dose of short-pitched balls by Trueman, but despite a painful blow on the back of the left hand which required strapping the young batsman faced up bravely to the rough treatment.

Laker broke the stand soon after the interval when for the third successive time in the series he deceived Walcott, Cowdrey holding a sharp slip catch. More resistance came from Kanhai and O. G. Smith in an appalling light and it was no surprise when, immediately Smith appealed to them, the umpires stopped the proceedings for nearly half an hour.

Again Laker effected a separation by getting Kanhai, who had defied England for nearly four hours, leg-before. Loader and Trueman took the new ball and in less than three overs the remaining five wickets fell. Trueman hit Pairaudeau's off-stump and bowled Smith round his legs via the pads in one over before Loader comp1eted the rout with his hat-trick.

Worrell struck back for West Indies with a fine ball that swung across the left-handed D. V. Smith and took his off-stump so that England finished the day 11 for one. On Friday, Worrell bowled superbly and achieved his best performance with the ball by finishing with seven wickets for 70 runs. Valentine, Atkinson, Gomez and Ramadhin were the only other West Indies bowlers who had taken as many as seven wickets in a Test innings.

A grey morning and occasional light showers made the conditions unpleasant for both sides. West Indies faced the handicap of bowling with a wet ball, which the umpires dried, but the turf recovered so well that no sawdust was required. Richardson left to the third ball of the morning, caught by the new Test wicket-keeper, and Graveney, after a few challenging strokes, was undisputably bowled by Gilchrist, who sent his middle stump flying. At this stage West Indies stood all square for England's first three wickets--like theirs--had gone for 42, but determined batting by May, Cowdrey and Sheppard turned the scales.

Sobers put in a very good spell of left-arm slow bowling, maintaining the attack from the Kirkstall end from 12.35 p.m. until 3.45 p.m., when the new ball was taken. During this period Sobers's analysis read 28--8--65--1, his solitary prize being May's wicket. May's quest for runs led to his undoing. He was using the cut and drive freely to pierce Sobers's packed off-side field when, essaying a cut, he gave Alexander his second catch of the day. May hit nine 4's.

The May-Cowdrey stand yielded 94 and Cowdrey and Sheppard followed with one of 91. Whereas Cowdrey never became fluent and hit only four 4's, Sheppard introduced a touch of sparkle to the cricket. Occasionally his timing lacked precision but he treated everyone to a fine variety of strokes. Beginning with four boundaries Sheppard swept to his 50 in ninety-five minutes and when seventh out at 264 he had made his 68 (ten 4's) in two hours twenty-five minutes compared with three hours forty minutes taken by Cowdrey over the same score and two hours thirty-five minutes by May for 69.

West Indies were at the cross-roads when Worrell took the second new ball at 3.45 p m. with England 179 for four wickets. From that point he bowled without relief to the end of the innings on the stroke of 6.30 p.m., his only respite coming from a ten minutes' break for rain and when another shower caused the tea interval to extend to half an hour. During that period Worrell's figures were 22.2--7--42--5. Actually the last five wickets fell for 52 runs, but England gained a valuable lead of 137 runs.

The introduction of Alexander as wicket-keeper brought a noticeable improvement in the West Indies fielding although their returns still fell a long way below the England standard. Rarely, indeed, have England proved so efficient in this vital part of the game and in this match particularly their splendid work went a long way towards keeping their opponents in subjection.

In fact the dramatic breakdown in the second innings came after another wonderful effort by Lock and again at the expense of Sobers. As patient methods failed them in their first innings West Indies seldom wasted a scoring opportunity when they batted a second time. During the innings they despatched the ball to the boundary nineteen times but the final result was the same. Sobers hooked and drove with such skill that he scored 20 from the first four overs. He saw Cowdrey dispose of Worrell with an excellent right-handed slip catch and then he himself was run out by Lock who, fielding between deep point and cover, swooped down on a peerless off-drive and, turning swiftly, landed the ball at the top of the stumps with Sobers helpless in the middle of the pitch.

After that incident, Walcott alone offered real resistance and by lunch time seven wickets were down for 108. Another half-hour sufficed to finish the match and give England their first rubber against West Indies since 1939.

Evans distinguished himself by not conceding a bye and in catching O. G. Smith he raised his number of dismissals in eighty Tests to 200, a figure far in excess of his nearest rival, the Australian, W. A. Oldfield, who claimed 130 victims in fifty-four Tests.

Although only 66,629 people were present during the three days, the receipts amounted to £27,100, including £20,600 taken in advance bookings, some for the fourth and fifth days. Attendance, 54,903; receipts, £28,164.

© John Wisden & Co