Fourth Test Match

Rorke leads the rout

Australia won by ten wickets and regained the Ashes. Their success was well deserved, being even more decisive than those at Brisbane and Melbourne.

May, knowing that he had to win as a draw was useless for the retention of the Ashes, took the bold course of sending Australia in to bat, but his hopes were not realised. He had been faced with a predicament when just before the game Laker, after a test in the nets, decided that his finger would not stand up to the strain and so May, entered the match with three fast bowlers, and Lock had to bear the burden of the spin attack. McDonald proved Australia's match-winning batsman and Benaud, besides inspiring his colleagues by splendid fielding, displayed his capabilities as a dangerous bowler.

England showed more spirit in their second innings when the game was slipping away from them, but were not good enough. An important reason for Australia's victory was the fast bowling of Rorke, who, with Meckiff out through injury, made his first Test appearance, but his jerky delivery and habit of dragging detracted from the merit of his performance. Lindwall, recalled by Australia, bowled admirably and took three wickets.

Evans was recalled after declaring his injured little finger better, and on Laker's withdrawal Tyson found a place in the side, but England's attack was not penetrating enough.

The pitch soon lost its early liveliness and Statham, Trueman and Tyson toiled without reward. McDonald displayed his strokes and drove, cut and glanced in capital fashion, while Burke defended.

Australia were 58 for no wicket at lunch and with the temperature nearing 90 degrees England faced a gruelling afternoon. The opening partnership passed 100 in two hours and twenty-five minutes and not until seven minutes past five was it broken when Burke mistimed a cut off Bailey and snicked a catch to slip. Burke's passiveness was shown by the fact that he hit only two 4's in his 66 out of the partnership of 171 in a little over four hours.

McDonald, who was 98 on the dismissal of Burke, struggled for another twenty-five minutes before obtaining the two runs he wanted to complete his first Test hundred against England which he reached, out of 177, in four and a half hours.

Australia were 200 for one at the close, and they consolidated their position on Saturday when, despite the sweltering heat of nearly 100 degrees, they raised their total to 403 for six wickets. Yet England met with fair success largely through the wholehearted fast bowling of Statham who in one spell of three overs disposed of Favell and MacKay for two runs.

England's heavy task was not lightened until near lunch-time when, with McDonald and Harvey having added 97, McDonald retired with a torn thigh muscle. Though the interval score was 268 for one England took fresh heart, and in an hour three wickets fell for 26 runs. Harvey was smartly run out through quick co-operation between Statham at long-on and Bailey, the bowler. MacKay fell to a catch behind the wicket.

O'Neill and Benaud forced matters with some strong driving, pulling and cutting before O'Neill hit over a yorker. Benaud went trying to pull, but Grout and Davidson stayed together for the last half-hour. Lock, in the role of stock bowler in the intense heat, did well to keep down runs as the pitch did not yield him the slightest assistance.

Evans kept wicket excellently after injuring his little finger again, and although an X-ray disclosed a fracture he decided to carry on -- but on medical advice he changed his mind next day, when Graveney kept wicket. Only two extras were registered while Evans wore the gloves, but Australia consolidated their position by adding 73 for the last four wickets, then getting down three England wickets for 115 before the day's end.

Trueman began by bringing fresh hope to England by fine fast bowling which brought him three wickets for 22 -- including that of McDonald who returned with Burke as runner at the fall of the seventh wicket and added 21 to his score.

McDonald, having survived the controversial run-out incident which involved his runner and McInnes the umpire, altogether defied England for over eight hours for his 170 and hit twelve 4's.

England started badly, quickly losing Richardson and Bailey, but May, who hit Lindwall for 11 in an over, and Cowdrey remedied thing for a while before May hit across a spinning ball.

The fourth day was of greatly varying fortune for England. Cowdrey, in attractive form, and Graveney ably resisted all Benaud's changes till lunch-time when the total was 170 for three, but afterwards reverses came rapidly.

Cowdrey's valuable innings, lasting nearly four hours, ended when he dragged the ball on to his stumps. Next, Graveney deflected Rorke straight into Benaud's hands at backward short-leg. Benaud rubbed salt into England's wounds by proceeding to dispose of Trueman, Lock, Tyson and Evans, but Statham, driving and cutting vigorously, and Watson stood firm for seventy minutes against pace and spin in a last-wicket stand of 52.

Davidson twisted his right ankle near the end of the England innings and Benaud was without his services when England followed on 236 behind. At last, Richardson found something like his best form, driving, cutting and pulling in certain manner, and in an hour and a quarter to the close he and Watson, whose good form in the first innings earned him promotion, made 43 without being separated. Lindwall, in this innings, was four times no-balled by McInnes for over-stepping the crease.

On the fifth day Richardson and Watson, though finding scoring difficult against the bowling of Benaud and Rorke to a defensive field, managed to stay together till lunch, taken at 87, but their partnership was broken soon afterwards when Favell, running from mid wicket, brilliantly caught Watson. Richardson stayed for three and three-quarter hours all told, before offering no stroke to a ball which moved in sharply. Benaud brought back Lindwall to attack Cowdrey and bowl him, but May, with Graveney as partner, repelled the wiles of Benaud and the speed of Rorke.

At tea, England were 148 for three, and English spirits rose when May made an onslaught on Benaud, pulling, square-cutting and on-driving him with perfectly timed strokes for boundaries off three successive balls, but in the next over from Rorke a shooter completely beat the England captain.

May hit eight 4's and with his dismissal went England's chances, though Graveney, resolute and skilful remained unbeaten at the close which came with the unexpected dismissal of Bailey, who had batted stubbornly for almost an hour, off the last ball of the day. He was caught behind the wicket on the leg-side.

On the last day England, with five wickets left, still needed 38 runs to avoid an innings defeat. Still, even after Trueman was out for his third successive Test duck, spirited resistance by Graveney, Lock and Tyson made English supporters feel a little better.

Lock and Tyson defied the new ball in partnerships with Graveney who took out his bat after a stay of just over five hours. Benaud appropriately ended the innings by catching Evans, who batted with his injured finger in splints.

So Australia, with two hours remaining, found themselves needing only 35 to regain the Ashes. Attendance 150,690; receipts £A30,173 3s. 6d.

© John Wisden & Co