Fourth Test Match

ENGLAND v WEST INDIES 1947-48

At Sabina Park, Kingston, March 27, 29, 30, 31, April 1. West Indies won by ten wickets. The superior team, they thoroughly deserved to repeat their success of the previous Test. For this match West Indies were able to include for the first time the two Jamaica fast bowlers, Johnson and Kentish, but were without Headley, and so the captaincy again devolved on Goddard. Weekes, filling the vacancy, scored his first Test century. At the age of 36, Johnson, standing 6 feet 3 inches, looked a truly great fast bowler. At no time did he attempt to intimidate the England batsmen by pitching short, but maintained a splendid pace, and by persistently keeping the ball well up the pitch compelled his opponents to make strokes. His reward was five wickets in each innings--ten for 96--and these were easily the best bowling figures in the whole series. With Walcott going in number eight, West Indies were exceedingly strong in batting, and Goddard, off-breaks, Ferguson, leg-breaks, Worrell, left-arm slow, and Stollmeyer, leg-breaks, completed a well-balanced attack.

England, on the other hand, were very disappointing. They had every chance to extend the opposition, but, after a solid opening stand of 129 by Hutton and Robertson when Allen won the toss, the remainder offered poor resistance. By the end of the first day five wickets were down for 183, and, although West Indies were kept in the field until after lunch on the following day, so timid was the batting that only 44 more runs accrued. West Indies fielded grandly under Goddard's inspiring leadership. For a time England gave little away, thanks mainly to some fine slow bowling by Howorth and Laker both of whom turned the ball on the firm pitch, but Evans dropped Weekes off Howorth almost as soon as he came in and Stollmeyer was missed at short-leg by Allen. By the end of the second day they reached 168 for three wickets, with Weekes 68, and on resuming they followed Goddard's orders to punish the bowling so faithfully that they averaged 75 runs an hour. England were handicapped through Cranston going to hospital with cartilage trouble, and Howorth, who was also absent at one period, could bowl only in brief spells with a shortened run.

West Indies passed England's total with six wickets in hand. Weekes dominated the cricket. His driving was magnificent and earned most of his fifteen 4's in the highest individual innings of the four Tests. Rickard shaped confidently in a fifth-wicket stand of 116, and after the seventh wicket went at 368 the England bowling received drastic punishment from Walcott and Ferguson. Out to a splendid catch on the boundary, Ferguson spent only one and three-quarter hours over his spectacular 75.

England wanted 263 to avoid an innings defeat, and to their credit the early batsmen put forth a great effort. At one stage the bowling became uncertain. Johnson, with a slight leg injury, was used sparingly and both Kentish and Ferguson lost their immaculate length. Hutton set the example for England by making some superb strokes during a stay of two hours, and Place, after an uncertain beginning, gave of his best while hitting his only Test hundred. With Hardstaff sure and polished in style, England established a lead of 49 with six wickets in hand by lunch time on the fifth day, but again the batting broke down and in just over an hour the whole side were out for 24 more runs. It was a deplorable exhibition and left West Indies the simple task of scoring 74 to win. These came in thirty-four minutes, Goddard hitting a 6 and eight 4's, a worthy finale for a great captain.

© John Wisden & Co