The eleven which the Englishmen had to meet on this occasion included four members of Murdoch's team - Bannerman, Scott, Bonnor and Spofforth, - and of the remaining seven, five had appeared on English grounds as members of representative teams visiting the Old Country from Australia. The two notable cricketers, Evans and Trumble, completed one of the strongest combinations the Australian Colonies could produce, and after playing twenty-five matches without a single reverse, Shaw's team sustained a defeat at the hands of this powerful eleven by the narrow majority of six runs, after one of the finest contests ever witnessed at Sydney.
It will be seen that Barnes did not bowl a single over during the match, and in commenting on the long stand made be Garrett and Evans, the correspondent of the Sporting Life says: - "Garrett was missed at slip with the total at 106, and then with Evans added 80 for the last wicket; but somehow the English bowlers could not bowl a bit, and Barnes, the wicket being made for him, was actually not tried." Barnes proved himself to be the most destructive bowler in the team in the first-class matches of the tour, and it is therefore to be hoped that the following extract from an Australian paper does not give the true reason for the non-appearance of Barnes the bowler in this contest: - "It should be stated that owing to some unpleasantness between Shrewsbury and Barnes, the latter refused to to bowl when asked to do so. Everyone is aware that the first thing a cricketer has to do is to obey the captain, and therefore there is no excuse for Barnes. In the report on the second day's play adverse comment was passed on Shrewsbury for not putting Barnes on when Garrett and Evans made their stand. It appears that Shrewsbury did ask Barnes, and that the latter refused, as he did again in the second innings. It is to be regretted that a cricketer of Barnes' experience and skill should so far forget himself and his side as to let personal pique affect the result of a contest." The fierce storm which raged during the luncheon interval was the cause of the attendance on the opening day being limited to 2,000 but on Saturday there were 10,000 present. On the Monday the spectators estimated to number 6,000, while not less than 4,000 persons were present to witness the exciting finish on the fourth and last day.
Massie, the captain of the Combined eleven, beat Shrewsbury for choice of innings, and sent in Jones and Bannerman to face the bowling of Peel and Attewell. Bannerman gave a hard chance to slip at 20, and at 36 Ulyett bowled for Peel. With 4 runs added luncheon was taken, and at two o'clock a terrific storm of lightning, thunder and hail, burst over the ground. In an incredibly short time it had the appearance of a field of snow, and then, the hail quickly melting, the ground became a sheet of water. It was scarcely to be expected that play could be resumed that day, but the water was soon absorbed, and at quarter past 4, Jones and Bannerman continued their innings, the wicket, of course being in a sloppy condition. With the total at 45 Jones was stumped, and a run later, Bannerman was caught at short-leg. At 56 Horan was caught at the wicket, and at 73 Scott was well taken at slip. Two wickets fell with the total at 83, Bonnor being caught at slip and Jarvis clean bowled first ball. Trumble was caught in the long-field at 92, and then Garrett and Spofforth played out time, the score being 97 for 8 wickets.
On the Saturday morning Spofforth was stumped at 101, and then Garret and Evans made a splendid stand for the last wicket. Attewell, Flowers, Peel, Ulyett and Bates were all tried, but to no purpose. Flowers and Attewell bowled again but at lunch time the two batsmen were still together, and the total 175. After the interval Ulyett bowled for Bates, and when 6 runs had been added succeeded in getting Evans caught at the wicket, no fewer than 80 runs having been put on for the last wicket. The new wicket having been rolled, Shrewsbury and Scotton opened the batting for the Englishmen, Spofforth and Garrett started the bowling. The first five overs were maidens, and then 20 soon appeared. At 25 Horan bowled for Garrett, and at 31 Shrewsbury was caught and bowled by Spofforth. Other misfortunes quickly followed, as at 33 both Ulyett and Barnes were out. Ulyett was clean bowled with a yorker, and the first ball Barnes received bounded from the wicket-keeper's legs, and the batsman had to retire, stumped. Bates was caught at point from a bumper at 46, and Briggs fell to forward point at 56. Scotton was given out caught at the wicket at 70, and at 82 Read was caught at point. With Flowers and Attewell together a change in the bowling was found necessary, Evans going on for Horan. At 111 Flowers was caught at the wicket, and without any addition to the total, Horan, who had relieved Evans, clean bowled Attewell with a yorker. Peel and Hunter gave some trouble, and 22 runs were added before Horan bowled the latter. With the conclusion of the innings stumps were drawn for the day.
Bannerman and Bonnor began the second innings of Australia at noon on the third day, Ulyett and Peel being the bowlers. The score was slowly hit to 28 and then Bannerman gave a couple of chances which were not accepted. Bonnor having made 29 out of 37 was bowled by a yorker, and then Horan and Bannerman took the total to 56, when lunch was taken. Upon resuming Bannerman was caught at point, having been at the wickets an hour and a half for 16 runs. Soon after Jones came in Flowers bowled for Ulyett, but the parting came from the other end, Attewell, who had relieved Peel, bowling Jones for a well-made 22. Scott hit a 4 and was then caught at slip. Trumble filling the vacancy. When 110 had been posted Horan made a grand square-leg hit off Flowers, the ball pitching into the pavillion reserve. Flowers then gave way to Bates, who immediately bowled Horan off his thigh for 36, made in his best form. Half the wickets were now down for 119. Massie and Trumble carried the score to 151, when the former was then clean bowled by a breakback. Jarvis was caught and bowled after making a couple, and then Trumble, who had played exceedingly well, was taken at long-on for 32. Bates bowled Evans for a single, and then a splendid one-handed catch at mid-off dismissed Spofforth and brought the innings to a conclusion for 165 just after five o'clock. After an adjournment of 20 minutes Shrewsbury and Scotton faced the bowling of Spofforth and Garrett, Shaw's team wanting 214 to win. Only 14 runs were scored when one of Spofforth's fastest deliveries clean bowled Scotton, and when his successor - Ulyett - had made 4 he was thrown out by Bannerman in trying a short run. Shrewsbury and Barnes then kept their wickets intact until the call of time, the score at 6 o'clock being 29 for 2 wickets.
Before a run was scored on the last day Barnes was caught at the wicket, but Shrewsbury and Bates put on 30 before the former was clean bowled by Spofforth, who dismissed Briggs in the same way a couple of runs later. Half the wickets were now down for 61, and an easy victory for the Colonials seemed assured. Bates and Flowers took the score to 92, when the Yorkshiremen fell a victim to the wicket-keeper for a fine and free 31, which included two 4's and a grand hit to long-on, off Spofforth, clean over the fence for 5. Flowers and Read then made the splendid stand which completely altered the aspect of the game. The bowling was repeatedly changed, but both batsmen played with ease and confidence and scored with great freedom. Spofforth, in particular, came in for severe punishment, but when only 20 runs were wanted, he had his revenge by clean bowling Read at 194. The outgoing batsman's score of 56 was the highest he had made in eleven-a-side matches, and his best performance in Australia. The only really bad stroke he made was off the first ball he received from Spofforth, but he gave no chances, and his innings included no fewer than nine 4's.
Flowers and Read had put on 102 runs for the seventh wicket. Attewell came in, but was run out with the total unchanged, and only 5 runs were added before Peel was caught at the wicket. When Hunter, the last man went in only 15 runs were wanted and the excitement round the ground and in the pavillion and stand was intense. By 2's and singles the total was hit up to 207, when Spofforth took the ball, and from his first delivery Flowers was caught at point from a rising ball, and Shaw's team suffered their first defeat by 7 runs. Flowers' innings of 56 was, like Read's the highest and best he scored in the first-class matches of the tour.