Fourth Test Match

AUSTRALIA v WEST INDIES 1951-52

No more exciting finish could be imagined than that in which Australia made sure of winning the series and West Indies lost the chance of drawing level at two games each, with the rubber depending upon the final game. Hard though they had fought, the Australians seemed doomed to defeat when their ninth wicket fell in the final innings with 38 runs still needed for victory. Then the two bowlers, Ring and Johnston, defied all the efforts of the West Indies to dislodge them and hit off the runs amid mounting tension. Johnston played a comparatively passive role while Ring hit vigorously, gaining a series of boundaries by lofty drives which may have resulted in catches had the field been set deep enough for this known hitter. Although Ring earned most of the credit, Johnston also played a gallant part and it was fitting that he made the winning hit, a stroke to leg.

A courageous century by Worrell retrieved a bad start by West Indies on the first day when, on a pitch which showed early life, the touring team lost three wickets for 30 runs. During this dangerous period Worrell received a severe blow on the right hand from a ball by Miller, and he batted for the rest of his innings in considerable pain, accentuated by further blows from the ball. Despite this handicap, Worrell showed admirable concentration and in making 108 in three and three-quarter hours he hit six 4's. During the later stages of his innings he played almost one-handed.

Apart from Worrell, the West Indies batsmen showed lack of judgment, and Christiani and Trim both made the mistake of taking risks in running with such a brilliant fieldsman as Harvey in possession of the ball. Miller took full advantage of a pitch which always gave some help to the pace bowlers, and when Australia batted Trim, too, found conditions to his liking. Three men were out for 49, but once more Miller proved a stumbling-block. Content to play the passive role as partner to the aggressive left-hander Harvey, Miller took part in a fourth wicket stand of 124 before Trim with the new ball rounded off the innings. Using his feet splendidly, especially to Ramadhin, Harvey hit fifteen 4's in a most attractive innings.

Leading by 56, West Indies lost most of their advantage as soon as they began their second innings. Goddard sent in Guillen to open the innings with Stollmeyer and followed himself, but Lindwall claimed both Guillen and Goddard in the first over without a run made. On the third day West Indies batted gallantly. Stollmeyer displayed his customary grace, Gomez defended doggedly, and Worrell, well down the order, gave another display of one-handed courage of great value to his side. The final day produced a tense struggle of ever-mounting excitement. Valentine and Ramadhin found the pitch responsive to spin, but Hassett, the Australian captain, batted magnificently. Defending with the greatest determination and patience for over five hours, he was always ready to punish the loose ball. Hassett received good assistance from Harvey and Lindwall, but when he was out the game seemed to be safely in West Indies' hands until the gallant last-wicket stand.

© John Wisden & Co