Fourth Test Match

England v Australia

At Adelaide, January 25, 26, 28, 29, 30. Drawn. Several factors contributed to the stalemate in this match, but to some extent it was due to a fear by either side of losing.

In bringing back Mackay, who had not taken a wicket in the series, and leaving out a specialist bowler, the Australian selectors appeared to be defensive minded even before the start, probably banking everything on winning, or at least not losing the last Test at Sydney where England had played badly.

Mackay replaced Guest and Grout took over as wicket-keeper from Jarman. England, following suit, also included an all-rounder, Illingworth, for Coldwell. Graveney, fit again, displaced Parfitt, and because of Murray's damaged shoulder, Smith returned as wicket-keeper.

In hot, partly humid weather, Benaud won the toss for the third time, but Australia began by losing Simpson and Lawry for 16. A third wicket should have fallen at 21, Harvey being missed off successive balls from Illingworth at slip and backward square-leg. He was dropped at slip again off Dexter when 26, and these errors may well have cost England victory.

Harvey went on to play an excellent innings of 154 in almost five and a half hours, hitting one 5 and eighteen 4's with a lovely array of strokes. After a third wicket stand of 85 by Harvey and Booth, O'Neill at last struck his best form, taking only two hours, fifty minutes over his century (thirteen 4's). He and Harvey added 194 at faster than one a minute. Dexter dismissed both near the close of the first day when Australia finished at 322 for five.

The temperature was over the nineties next day when the last four wickets fell for 71. When dismissing Shepherd, Statham took his 237th wicket, the most by any Test bowler, beating A.V. Bedser's 236. England soon lost Pullar. Barrington, going in number three instead of Dexter, made a shaky start against Davidson. He took four 4's off successive balls from him, but three were snicks which might have gone anywhere.

Australia's chance of victory virtually disappeared when Davidson broke down with a pulled muscle in his fourth over and could not bowl again in the match. Sheppard and Barrington added 67 for the second wicket, but with McKenzie bowling splendidly England struggled.

The fourth wicket fell at 119, but Dexter rallied the side with powerful hitting which brought him two 6's and six 4's in 50 not out at the end of the second day when England were 192 for five. Rain prevented play before lunch next morning. Dexter fell early, but Titmus played a sound innings and Trueman hit 38 out of 52 added for the ninth wicket in thirty-seven minutes. Bad light ended play forty-five minutes early with England 328 for nine. Three were added next morning and Australia led by 62.

They again began badly but Simpson and Booth added 133. Dexter dismissed both in one over and a little later disposed of Shepherd. At the end of the fourth day Australia, with four wickets left, led by 287, and Benaud, in the absence of Davidson and on a still perfect pitch, concentrated on saving the game.

He declined a declaration, and when the innings ended just on lunch time on the last morning England needed 356 at 89 an hour.

Sheppard, who along with Illingworth, had developed throat trouble and was a doubtful starter, opened the innings but failed, and when Pullar left at 4 there were visions of an England collapse.

Barrington and Cowdrey removed this with a fine stand of 94 in eighty-six minutes, and although Dexter soon fell, Barrington and Graveney finished with an unbroken partnership of 101 in ninety-nine minutes. Barrington, in fine form, batted three and three-quarter hours for 132 not out, hitting two 6's and sixteen 4's. Smith and Grout kept wicket splendidly throughout. Attendance 131,403. Receipts £A33,773.

© John Wisden & Co