Third Test Match



At Manchester, July 23, 25, 26. Drawn. In an all-out effort at victory England's new captain, F. R. Brown, gave New Zealand first innings, but once more Donnelly's masterly batting was the biggest rock upon which England's hopes foundered. New Zealand made only one change, preferring the 21-year-old Reid to Smith, but, in addition to the replacement of Mann by Brown, England's team showed four other alterations. Washbrook, fit again after a series of injuries, Simpson, Close and Jackson came in for Robertson, Watkins, Young and Gladwin. To 18-year-old Close, in his first season for Yorkshire, fell the distinction of being the youngest cricketer to be chosen for England. Only J. E. D. Sealy, who was 17 when picked for West Indies in 1930, had taken part in a Test Match at a younger age.

Brown's bold course in asking New Zealand to bat first was influenced by the view that if the conditions were to help bowlers they would do so before lunch on the opening day. When at the interval four wickets were down for 82, his gamble seemed likely to be justified. During the early cricket Bailey's pace from a green pitch and his late swing in heavy atmosphere made him most effective. In eleven overs he clean bowled Sutcliffe, Scott and Hadlee for eleven runs. The other wicket fell to Close, Wallace pulling a full toss straight to the safe hands of Washbrook at deep square-leg.

A critical situation faced Reid when he joined Donnelly, but he showed splendid temperament and much ability in a fifth-wicket stand of 116. Not until a recovery was in sight did Donnelly open his shoulders. Then he hit hard, and in one over punched the tiring Bailey for four boundaries. A difficult chance offered to backward short-leg by Rabone when five cost England a number of runs and time they could ill afford, as the innings was not finished till the second morning. Bailey's six wickets were reward for several spells of fast bowling which contained plenty of venom.

On a pitch all in favour of batsmen, England were expected to compile a big total quickly, but not until the last hour did runs come with anything like freedom. Up to that point Hadlee and his men kept the batsmen on a tight rein. Cowie, Cave and Burtt concentrated on bowling to their astutely placed fields, and all three maintained extremely accurate lengths, seldom more than an inch or so either way from the off stump. Supporting the bowlers was a magnificent fielding combination, in which Reid, Hadlee and Sutcliffe won round after round of applause from a crowd of 38,000--the gates were closed an hour after the start.

Bearing in mind the difficulties of getting the ball through as well as England's need for a sound start, Hutton and Washbrook could not be criticised for taking two hours and a quarter over their opening stand of 103. They tried hard enough to penetrate the packed off-side field and, as it happened, the first four batsmen all gave away their wickets in trying to force the pace. Gradually New Zealand's three main bowlers lost their fire and freshness, and, fortunately for England, Simpson was in his best form. He took an hour and a half to reach 36, but, joined by Bailey at 262, he was the chief aggressor in a thrilling partnership which laid a solid foundation to the innings.

In the last twenty-seven minutes Simpson raced from 50 to 103. In this hurricane burst he drove Burtt for three 6's and hit six of the eleven 4's included in his first Test century. Simpson gave a catch on the boundary when attempting to drive Burtt for another six.

Runs were more important than wickets on the third morning, when England's last six wickets added 77 in an hour, and, though Close failed to score in his maiden Test, he deserved praise for his effort to follow the correct policy of big hitting. He was caught on the edge of the square-leg boundary. Well as Bailey batted, his long innings--particularly his eagerness for sharp runs--probably impaired his effectiveness as a bowler, for in New Zealand's second innings he was by no means as troublesome as on the first day. Against arrears of 147, New Zealand lost three men for 109, but any slight prospects of a continued collapse were dispelled by the left-handers, Sutcliffe and Donnelly. Sutcliffe, who completed his first Test century with boundaries off two successive balls from Compton, hit 101 out of 187 in two hours and three-quarters. He was never subdued by the responsibility resting upon him. Donnelly remained a sheet-anchor till all danger to New Zealand had been averted. Then came some of his glorious off-drives besides a wide range of leg-side strokes. On the whole, England's new men did well. Close showed promise as an off-spinner, Jackson did not look out of class as a medium-fast bowler, and Brown's all-round ability was very useful.

© John Wisden & Co