Second Test Match

AUSTRALIA v WEST INDIES 1951-52

At Sydney, November 30, December 1, 3, 4, 5. Australia won by seven wickets. The West Indies, victims of the Australians' bumper tactics, lost a great chance of nullifying their defeat at Brisbane. After scoring 362 they had Australia's opening pair out for 27 when Walcott made a fatal error behind the wicket, dropping Hassett. From then the initiative escaped their grasp. Hassett and Miller added 235 for the fourth stand and established a record Australian partnership for any wicket against the West Indies.

Hassett gambled on the state of the pitch. Rain seeped under the covers during the night and conditions looked unfavourable for run-making. When Rae went at 33 none would decry Hassett's decision to field, but the later batsmen changed the outlook. Worrell showed little concern for either the reputed hostile attack or the nature of the turf, and Walcott, strong off the back foot, looked equally confident. Then came Christiani. With a glorious display of wristy strokes he looked set for a century, but a lapse in concentration brought his downfall of the last ball of the day. He attempted a cover drive and played into his wicket. When play recommenced Goddard and Gomez hit 73 of the last 76 runs. Lindwall, when bowling Ramadhin, took his 100th Test wicket.

Australia replied with 131 for three before stumps were drawn on Saturday, and during the rest day Goddard could reflect with a good deal of satisfaction on his side's position. However, he was to regret deeply that dropped catch off Hassett, against whom one cannot afford to make mistakes.

The wily Australian captain dropped his head well over the bat on Monday and, without giving another chance, reached 100 in just under five hours. Miller, who forced Ramadhin to place three fieldsmen on the leg boundary, was an hour quicker completing his century, having enjoyed a generous amount of luck. He hit fifteen boundaries before, like Christiani, playing on. After this the West Indies attack wilted noticeably. Lindwall and Ring, dropped when 18, added 79 in the last hour, and next day Johnston and Langley scored another 32 runs in helping Australia to lead by 155.

Nearly two days remained and the West Indies still had the opportunity of averting defeat, but several of their leading batsmen were removed by the bumpers which Lindwall and Miller relentlessly sent down. Two injured players, Stollmeyer and Weekes, refused to be intimidated. Stollmeyer, who pulled a muscle fielding and used a runner, ducked too slowly in Lindwall's second over and was struck on the top of his head, but he carried on. Not so his partner, Rae, who, after obvious discomfort when two deliveries rose chest high, fell to a simple catch to silly mid-off. Worrell flashed unsuccessfully at a ball high over the stumps. Weekes, suffering from leg trouble, played each ball on merit. One bumper was promptly hit to the boundary and he made some glorious strokes through the covers before becoming the third man to deflect a ball with fatal results.

Goddard refused to admit defeat, but the Australians required only 136 to win when the last West Indies wicket fell. These runs they scored for the loss of three men, but the pitch showed signs of taking spin and thoughts of missed catches and bouncers must have been uppermost in Goddard's mind.

© John Wisden & Co