Fifth Test Match

England v Australia

Leslie Smith

Toss: England.

Rain prevented a ball being bowled on the last day and ruined the faint chance England possessed of sharing the rubber, but once more the cricket only rarely rose above moderate.

The batting of Boycott and Cowdrey, the bowling of Hawke and the slip fielding of Simpson stood out in an otherwise ordinary match. This was the fourth drawn match of the series, Australia winning the rubber by the only game decided, at Headingley.

Cowdrey and Trueman were recalled for England and with Barber replaced Edrich, Mortimore and Rumsey. Australia were unchanged. For the fourth time Dexter won the toss, but England failed to make the best use of the success. They found the pitch far from easy, but it was never difficult enough to justify their dismissal in four and a half hours for 182.

The first five batsmen each reached 20 and should have been set, but not one was able to go on to 50. The opening stand of 44 between Boycott and Barber promised much better things but the innings, in general, was a dismal affair.

Hawke deserved credit for a splendid bowling effort, his six for 47 being his best Test performance. Dexter had the unusual experience of seeing his bat break in halves over its full length when attempting a drive. Half the bat flew to cover, farther than the ball reached.

Bad light delayed the Australian reply and they made three without loss before the close. Next day they batted slowly, being happy enough to build a good position without worrying about time.

Lawry stayed five and a quarter hours for 94 which included ten fours. He and Booth added 106 for the fourth wicket. Cartwright and Titmus bowled with commendable steadiness and they kept the batsmen tied down completely.

Australia forged ahead with seven wickets in hand and finished the second day with five men out for 245. They went on to a lead of 197 but the drama of the third day came right on lunch time. Trueman, previously ineffective, suddenly bowled Redpath middle stump and had McKenzie caught at slip off successive balls.

There was no time for another delivery before the interval and the crowd hurried back to their places to see whether Trueman could complete his hat-trick. He also needed one more wicket to become the only bowler to take 300 wickets in Test Matches. Hawke survived the first ball, but eventually provided Trueman with his 300th victim. Trueman followed by dismissing Corling and finished with four for 87. He could not disturb Veivers, who hit aggressively for 67 which included a six off Titmus.

England, as they have often done in the past, made a good recovery after a poor first effort. They scored 132 for two before the close. Boycott and Barber again provided a valuable start with a stand of 80. Dexter did his best to score quickly in an effort to gain time, but was well caught at slip. Titmus went in as night-watchman and next day gave further stubborn resistance, although more enterprise would have been valuable. His 56, made in three and a half hours, included a straight drive for six off Veivers.

Boycott proved that he had arrived as an England opening batsman with a fine innings lasting five hours. His maiden Test century was full of splendid strokes, particularly drives and square cuts.

When the fourth wicket fell at 255 England were only 58 on but Cowdrey and Barrington put them on top. They proceeded carefully for a time, opening up after tea and their unbroken stand of 126 took two and a half hours. During his innings Cowdrey became the seventh batsman to complete 5,000 runs in Test cricket. In his first innings Barrington reached 4,000 runs.

Three of the four wickets which fell for 381 went to McKenzie. These brought his victims for the series to 29, equalling the record of C.V.Grimmett in 1930, the most taken by an Australian in a rubber in England.

England finished the fourth day 184 ahead and fast scoring with an early declaration was expected. Unfortunately any chance of a good finish was ruined by the weather which prevented a ball being bowled on the last day. A draw remained the most likely result with the pitch easy paced after the first day, and so the far from attractive series ended on a dismal note.

© John Wisden & Co