Third Test Match

ENGLAND v AUSTRALIA 1946-47

England put up a much better show in this game, but experienced astonishing ill-luck. On the eve of the match James Langridge, who was among the twelve chosen men, strained a groin muscle while taking a catch at fielding practice. That mishap put him out for the rest of the tour excepting one game at Adelaide. Bradman won the toss and England suffered two tremendous handicaps. Within half an hour Edrich, fielding at short leg, received a frightful blow on the shin from a fierce hook by Barnes, and he retired for the rest of the day. Soon after lunch Voce left the field with a pulled groin muscle. In the face of these setbacks Bedser and Wright bowled superbly, and Yardley, used by Hammond because of the loss of Edrich and Voce, surpassed himself. Maintaining accurate length and direction, Yardley moved the ball consistently from the off to a packed leg-side field. Despite the comparatively cheap dismissals of Barnes, Morris and Hassett, things looked bad for England when the total reached 188 for three wickets, Bradman again having lifted Australia out of trouble. Then with successive balls Yardley dismissed Bradman and Johnson. Bradman, feeling for an off-break, chopped the ball on to his stumps. So restrained was he during two hours fifty minutes that he hit only two 4's, a true indication of England's magnificent bowling in adversity. The next ball removed Johnson, leg-before, and with only four runs added Miller was smartly taken by the wicket-keeper. So in seventeen minutes the position changed to 192 for six wickets.

Here McCool and Tallon gave an indication of Australia's immense all-round strength. Unperturbed by the state of the game, they played the bowling so confidently during the last fifty-five minutes that they added 63. On the second day Voce was still absent, but Edrich, although slightly lame, reappeared and took a share in the bowling. In fact he sent down the first over of the day and, without addition, got Tallon caught outside the off stump by the wicket-keeper standing back. Next Bedser, with Australia going for runs, bowled Lindwall, but Dooland defended steadily while McCool punished the bowling unmercifully. Hooking and driving with absolute confidence, McCool completed his first Test century before Dooland left after helping to put on 83 in seventy minutes. Soon afterwards the innings closed in six hours fifty minutes. McCool, who took out his bat, hit eight 4's, his stay having lasted three hours. Again Evans did not concede a bye. He kept magnificently.

England began their innings just before three o'clock, and received an early shock when Hutton touched a beautiful ball from Lindwall which swung away from the middle stump to the off into the hands of McCool, who made a very fine catch at first slip. Washbrook and Edrich then played out the remaining two and a half hours. Such was Washbrook's patience that he hit only one 4, but Edrich, again in his best form, batted perfectly while scoring 85, including ten 4's. So England finished a notable day in a fighting position, with their total 147 for one wicket.

The third morning was the most vital of the match, and, to the bitter disappointment of the England team, they lost Edrich when he appeared to hit a ball from Lindwall hard on to his pads. Worse followed; Compton, believing the ball was outside the leg stump, preferred to leave it alone because of Toshack's thickly set leg-trap and he also was leg-before. This sudden change in events seemed to upset Hammond; he failed to treat the bowling with sufficient respect and gave a sharp return to Dooland running up the wicket. Another reverse followed; Washbrook, having defended solidly for nearly four hours, was caught at the wicket, making half the side out for 179, Edrich, Compton, Hammond and Washbrook all being back in the pavilion for the addition of only 32 to the overnight score. Ikin and Yardley set about the task of retrieving England's fortunes, and in a gallant stand of two hours they added 113. A keen fight developed for the lead, 42 being required when Wright, the last man, joined Bedser. The Surrey player drove splendidly through the covers, but Wright could not resist running in to a full toss which bowled him, and so Australia led by fourteen. Barnes and Morris took Australia's total to 33, the umpires rejecting an appeal against the light by Barnes.

On the fourth day England captured only four wickets, Voce still being off the field. The day brought new honours to Yardley, who in 19 overs dismissed Barnes, Bradman and Miller. It was the second time in the match that Yardley removed Bradman and the third successive time in these Tests. Morris, the left-hander, batted all day while reaching 132, his first Test hundred. He seldom hit the ball hard, but waited for the occasional loose one. Voce bowled for the first time since the opening day, and England put forward a special effort. Morris, after batting for six hours, during which time he hit only eight 4's, was fifth out at 333; and when the seventh wicket fell at 341 England still stood a chance, but Tallon and Lindwall completely changed the situation with some of the best batting ever seen in a Test. The onslaught was violent, and in eighty-seven minutes they put on 154. Tallon spent only one and three-quarter hours over his 92, hitting ten 4's. His clean driving, like that of Lindwall, was masterly and the bowling went to pieces. For some time Hammond made no attempt to close the empty spaces in the field. Bedser, for instance, was bowling to three slips while the batsmen were punching him hard in front of the wicket. Lindwall completed a magnificent century by going down the pitch and driving Bedser with tremendous power all along the ground to the sight-screen. This was a majestic stroke worthy of such a grand display. Lindwall made his 100 out of 185 in one hour fifty-three minutes, and besides thirteen 4's he claimed one 6.

England wanted 551 in seven hours, and Hutton and Washbrook gave their side a steady start by making 91 without loss before the close. Hutton refused to be disturbed by short bumping deliveries from Lindwall and Miller, but he lost his wicket after batting for three hours, when, attempting one of his few big hits during a painstaking innings, he gave a catch to long-off. On this day rain caused four brief interruptions amounting to forty-five minutes altogether. At times the light was extremely bad, but the England players never appealed, not even when Yardley and Bedser were struggling hard to save the game and rain was falling steadily. Twice Bradman suggested that they should go in before the players left the field. Washbrook made his first Test century against Australia. He batted just over six hours, hitting one 6 and eight 4's. Yardley played a great part by staying for the final ninety minutes. In the match he scored 114 for once out and took four wickets, including Bradman's twice. This was the first drawn Test in Australia for sixty-five years, but, although England averted defeat, failure to win meant that Australia retained The Ashes.

The match proved a tremendous attraction. Vast crowds packed the large stadium. The official attendance aggregate was 343,675 and the receipts of £44,063 made a world record for a cricket match. At the time much was said and written about the umpires' decisions on the third day, but the crowd itself was very generous to England. It must be recorded that Voce for Smith was the only English change from the second Test and that Australia brought back Lindwall for Freer and also gave Dooland his first chance in a Test, Tribe standing down.

© John Wisden & Co