Second Test

Australia v England 1891-92

The second of the three big matches produced one of the finest performances in the history of Australian cricket, a performance, indeed, fully comparable to the seven runs victory at The Oval in 1882, or the great, but unsuccessful fight on the same ground in 1850. The Englishmen played the same team as at Melbourne, but the Australians made one change in their side, substituting Walter Giffen for Donnan. As events turned out, they would have neen wise to have chosen Sidney Gregory instead of Moses as the latter's injured leg gave way.

The Australians proved victorious by 72 runs, and it can safely be said that the records of first-class cricket furnish few instances of a finer uphill game. Up to the end of the second day everything went in favour of the Englishmen. Thanks to Lohmann's bowling and Abel's batting, they gained indeed so commanding an advantage that the match seemed as good as over. The close of an innings on each side had left them with a lead of 162, and the Australians, on going in for the second time, lost Trott's wicket for a single run. Abel's superb innings of 132 not out lasted five hours and twenty-five minutes, and comprised eleven 4's, ten 3's, sixteen 2's and twenty-six singles. Only once before had anyone taken his bat right through the innings in an England and Australia match, the previous instance being Dr. Barrett's performance at Lord's in 1890.

On Monday, February 1, the third day of the match, there came an extraordinary change in the cricket, Lyons, Bannerman, and George Giffen batting with such success that it took the Englishmen all the afternoon to obtain two wickets, the total meanwhile being increased from 1 to 263. Lyons and Bannerman were separated at 175, their partnership having lasted two hours and three-quarters. Lyons certainly gave one chance to Abel at slip when he had made 49, and we believe he offered another to the same fieldsman, but otherwise his 134 - which included sixteen 4's, five 3's and eight 2's - was a magnificent innings.

On the fourth day the weather was unsettled and rain considerably affected the wicket. Everything went wrong with the Englishmen who made several bad mistakes in the field. The Australians' innings closed for 391, and the Englishmen, wanting 230 to win, had to go in when the ground was in a very treacherous state. Abel, Bean, and Grace were got rid of for 11 runs, and only a downfall of rain prevented further disasters.

On the following morning, the wicket rolled out much better than anyone could have expected, and the Englishmen still had a chance, Australia's bowling being weakened by the absence of McLeod, who had been called back to Melbourne by the death of his brother. George Giffen and Turner, however bowled wonderfully well, and despite the very fine batting of Stoddart, the innings was finished off for 156, Australia winning the game by 72 runs, and so gaining the rubber in the Test matches. Bannerman's innings of 91 had much to do with the victory. Invaluable as it was, however, it would in a match of less interest have thoroughly tired out the spectators. The New South Wales batsman was actually at the wicket seven hours and twenty-eight minutes. Out of 204 balls bowled at him by Attewell he only scored from five. At the finish of the game, there was a scene of almost indescribable enthusiasm.

© John Wisden & Co