Second Test Match

ENGLAND v WEST INDIES 1947-48

For holding West Indies to a draw England were indebted mainly to Griffith. In the absence through illness or injury of Brookes, Place and Hardstaff, the batting was sadly weakened, and in his dilemma Allen pressed Griffith into service as opening batsman. Like a true cricketer, the Sussex amateur never allowed the responsibility to worry him. Instead, he curbed his natural impulse, did not attempt anything reckless, and pursued this course so rigidly that he gained the distinction of scoring his maiden century in first-class cricket on his first Test appearance. One cannot praise Griffith too highly for this stupendous effort. At the same time credit must be given also to Ganteaume, a 27-year-old clerk in the Trinidad Civil Service who, in the absence through injury of J. B. Stollmeyer, stepped into the breach and, like Griffith, claimed a century in his first Test. In the course of the match all four opening batsmen reached three figures.

England were soon in trouble; brilliant fielding by Gaskin at cover when Griffith called for a sharp single led to Robertson being narrowly run out with only five runs on the board. Ikin, Allen and Evans all began in promising style; in fact Evans hit five grand 4's; but the end of the first day found six England wickets down for 230 with Griffith 110. Seventh to leave at 288, Griffith defied the West Indies bowling for six minutes short of six hours. His only serious error occurred when 75 with the total 157; he lifted Ferguson to long leg, where Christiani, blinded by the sun, lost sight of the ball. Griffith hit fifteen 4's with a variety of strokes, of which the cover-drive was specially attractive. Smithson helped him add 87 for the seventh wicket, and then came a fine display by Laker, who, last out, hit seven 4's in a stay of seventy minutes. Butler gave valuable support while the last stand realised 56.

Daring stroke play by Carew quickly established a complete mastery over the English bowling. Wearing a chocolate-coloured felt hat and chewing gum the whole time, Carew, in an unorthodox display, used the hook and pull freely in a dazzling exhibition. Butler alone looked at all difficult, and when 8 and again at 41 Carew offered hard chances off the Nottinghamshire bowler to the slips; but at the drawing of stumps on the second day the West Indies score reached 160 without loss, with Carew 101 and Ganteaume 52. Early next day the big stand ended at 173, when Carew, whose 4's numbered sixteen, was l. b. w. Weekes enjoyed an early escape, being dropped at first slip by Robertson when only one, but otherwise he hit convincingly, getting six 4's before Butler bowled him with a very fine ball. Meanwhile Ganteaume maintained his defiant attitude, but by this time everyone was admiring the cultured batting of Worrell. Ganteaume duly reached 100 out of 279 in four and a half hours, but only 46 runs came in an hour, and Gomez, the West Indies captain, realised that his men were falling behind the clock. A note was sent out to Ganteaume, who promptly replied by lifting the ball to extra cover, where Ikin accepted the catch. Mainly by off-drives, Ganteaume hit thirteen 4's. Walcott did his utmost to obey his captain and force the pace, but it was Gomez himself who really pushed the score along. His fifth-wicket stand with Worrell, who claimed one 6 and nine 4's, produced 99. Whereas Worrell spent three and a quarter hours over his 97, Gomez made 62 in eighty-six minutes, West Indies raising their total to 447 for six wickets on the third day. On Saturday, Williams attempted to repeat his Barbados performance, and in sixteen minutes helped himself to seven 4's and three singles before Butler finished the innings, which gave West Indies a well-deserved lead of 135.

England's only hope was to play for a draw. Rain cut short the cricket on Saturday by two hours, leaving the outfield slow, and the bowlers used towels to dry the ball when Robertson and Griffith began the grim task. Robertson defended splendidly and Ikin kept up his end for over an hour, but three wickets fell for 70 before stumps were drawn. At one time on the final day West Indies looked likely to force a win, the seventh wicket going at 196, but Robertson received valuable assistance from Smithson, who stayed seventy-five minutes. Then Robertson duly completed his first Test hundred; he altogether stayed five and threequarter hours before being ninth out, having hit fifteen 4's. West Indies, wanting 141 for victory in fifty-seven minutes, sent in Weekes and Walcott, with Williams number three. Weekes fell to a wonderful right-hand catch by Evans, and at no time did the batsmen look like achieving their objective. Best bowling for England was by Butler, Laker, Ikin and Howorth, but no one looked as good as Ferguson, the stocky leg-break expert, who at times tossed his deliveries skilfully into the wind. His was a very fine performance in taking eleven wickets on the easy-paced matting wicket. Near the end Allen pulled up lame after sending down two balls in his fifth over.

© John Wisden & Co