Second Test Match

England shattered by Meckiff

England were set back on their heels from the start when Davidson took three wickets in a sensational over and although Statham also bowled finely the tourists never really recovered.

The match produced a hostile bowling effort by the left-arm Meckiff whose jerky action brought much criticism. The pitch, faster than at Brisbane, allowed batsmen to make strokes and also enabled the quick bowlers to show their paces. Before big crowds totalling over 230,000 England once more were found wanting in batting.

Richardson failed again and despite a century by May, who was well supported by Cowdrey, Australia nearly always held the mastery. Harvey excelled in a fine innings of 167 for the winners, who brilliantly accepted their catching chances.

England made one change from the side defeated at Brisbane, Watson coming in for Milton. Australia left out Slater and included Simpson, who was twelfth man in the first Test.

May, winning the toss on a fairly well-grassed pitch, again decided to bat first. The start was amazing for in the third over of the day Davidson sent back Richardson, Watson and Graveney with the first, fifth and sixth deliveries. Richardson snicked a catch to the wicket-keeper. Watson fell to a full-toss and Graveney mistimed the pace of the ball off the pitch. Davidson took these wickets in his first fourteen balls for four runs, all conceded in his first over.

Bailey and May fought back gallantly. Though instructed to keep up an end and give the strike to freer stroke-makers, Bailey realised that the situation demanded aggressiveness and he brought off many forceful drives and cuts.

Cowdrey then helped May hold the fort against the best bowling Benaud could bring against them. Off-driving stylishly, May mastered pace and spin bowlers and the fifth pair were still together at the close with the total 173 for four. May had been fortunate to receive a life when 20 for Benaud, diving to take a return catch, missed the ball when his knee knocked against his hand.

The second day produced exciting fluctuations of fortune. In the first eight overs May and Cowdrey hit 33, then the new ball, taken at 206, brought about a second collapse.

May fell to a ball which moved in quickly, Evans was caught at backward short-leg, and Cowdrey snicked a catch to the wicket-keeper. May hit eleven 4's in his meritorious display which lasted five and a quarter hours; his stand with Cowdrey occupied just over three hours. Davidson thoroughly deserved his six wickets for 64.

Australia, going in at ten minutes past three, lost Burke to a deadly ball which came back and left him offering no stroke, but McDonald and Harvey defied England till the close while taking the score to 96. Harvey, who ran into his best form, had hit ten 4's in his 60 not out.

On the third day, when the attendance reached 71,295, England fought back in determined fashion after two century partnerships by Australia had made the outlook dismal. Harvey, forced to struggle for his century, scored twenty singles and only two more 4's while adding the necessary runs, but on passing the hundred he drove and cut more freely.

McDonald fell at slip just after lunch, then O'Neill stayed with Harvey till tea. At five o'clock the score stood at 255 for two, but in five dramatic overs O'Neill, Harvey, Simpson and Benaud were out for seven more runs.

O'Neill flashed and paid the penalty, Harvey was yorked and Simpson and Benaud were leg-before, wholehearted fast bowling by Statham and Loader thus earning justified reward. Harvey hit sixteen 4's in his highest innings against England and stayed six hours and ten minutes. His partnership with McDonald added 126 in three hours forty minutes and that with O'Neill, who was contained by Lock using six on-side fielders, 118 in two hours and twenty minutes. Australia finished the day 282 for six.

On the Saturday fast bowlers were supreme and fifteen wickets went down for 122 runs, all to the quick men with the exception of Evans who was run out. The day began with Australia losing their last four wickets for 26 runs before lunch. Statham disposed of MacKay, Davidson whose off-stump went flying, and Meckiff in two overs without cost and in the morning play he took three for 12 in seven overs.

England had a golden chance after lunch to wipe off their arrears of 49 and gain a grip on the game for the pitch was still unhelpful to spin, but another breakdown ensued. Richardson, flashing at a ball outside the off-stump, was magnificently caught by Harvey diving at slip, and with Watson, Graveney, Bailey--caught off a lifting ball--and Cowdrey leaving in quick succession half the side were out for 44.

May resisted without ever finding it possible to take the offensive but there was no recovery and at 87 Meckiff finished the innings by sending Loader's off-stump cartwheeling yards. The score was England's lowest in Australia since 1903-4 when they were out on the same ground for 61.

Meckiff took six for 38, and Davidson who bowled with him practically unchanged during the innings of a little under three hours, dismissed three men for 41. Davidson held three brilliant catches, his right-hand one at backward short-leg which sent back Graveney being outstanding, and Harvey two.

Australia, needing only 39 runs to win, scored nine in the twenty minutes left for the loss of McDonald to the untiring Statham. Play on the last morning lasted less than an hour.

The fast bowling of Statham and Loader came along easily and although Laker, with the last ball of his first over lured Grout and had him stumped, England never had the slightest hope of snatching the game out of the fire. The winning hit -- a straight drive for four by Burke off Lock -- gave Australia victory just before one o'clock. Attendance 230,948; receipts £A46,791 13s. 6d.

© John Wisden & Co