Second Test Match

England v South Africa 1924

The second Test match made it clear that, whatever their merits, the South Africans had no hope, under normal conditions of weather and wicket, of beating England. The result was overwhelming, England declaring with two wickets down for 531, and winning by an innings and 18 runs. It is only right to add that, on the form of the players at the time, the England side was far stronger as an all round combination than any one of the teams so soundly thrashed by Australia in 1921. In making up his eleven for the all important occasion, H.W. Taylor was much disturbed. As at Birmingham he called upon Parker the Bradford League bowler, and almost at the last moment he induced Faulkner- most famous of South African cricketers- to come out of retirement and do what he could in aid of a more or less forlorn hope. Faulkner did not exactly fail, batting well in his first innings and all but getting Hobbs stumped off a sparkling leg break, but presumably he was not satisfied with his form. Be that as it may, his first match for the team was also his last. Nothing more was seen of him.

The game opened on the Saturday in true Test match fashion. The King was present for a time and despite the high charge of three shillings for admission, the crowd numbered fully 20000. Winning the toss, the South Africans kept England in the field for over five hours, running up a total of 273. Everyone felt that, given the continuance of fine weather, this was not anything like a sufficient score on a perfect Lord's wicket and, as a matter of fact, the performance was by no means as good as it looked on paper. Had the first of two chances been taken it is quite likely that South Africa would have been out for little more than a hundred. The start could scarcely have been more depressing for the batting side. From the last ball of the first over, Taylor was finely caught on the leg side by George Wood, standing back to Gilligan, and in Gilligan's second over Commaille- incommoded by people moving in the pavilion behind the glass window- was bowled by a yorker on the leg stump. Two wickets were down for five runs and with the score at 17 Nourse fell to a catch in the slips. With the side already in a sad plight, Susskind was joined by Catterall and then came a blunder which had an enormous effect on the day's cricket. Having scored five, Catterall gave as direct a chance as the wicket keeper standing back could expect to get but the ball went into Wood's hands and out again. Cricket did not forgive and at lunch time the score was up to 72, Susskind being 44 not out. On starting afresh, Catterall played with far more vigour than before but having made 30 he enjoyed a second escape, Woolley letting him off in the slips. In both cases Gilligan was the bowler who suffered. Catterall did not fail to profit by his good fortune, and though there were inequalities in his subsequent play, he drove and pulled splendidly. At the wickets for three hours and twenty minutes he tied his Birmingham score of 120, his hits including sixteen 4's. Putting on 112 together he and Susskind saved their side from disaster.

England had twenty minutes batting at the end of the day, Hobbs and Sutcliffe carrying the score to 28. Monday was a day of sensations and record breaking. Very seldom in a Test Match has bowling been so mercilessly knocked about. In two hours and a half after lunch Hobbs and Sutcliffe added 200 runs, and in all, their partnership for the first wicket produced 268, this being a record in England for a Test match and only once surpassed- by Hobbs and Rhodes in 1912 in Australia. The running between the wickets was daring to the point of audacity, but the two batsmen understood each other perfectly and never looked to be in danger. Sutcliffe was out first, at 268, pulling a ball from Parker on to his wicket. He was missed at deep square leg by Deane when he had made 31, but apart from that his play was without a flaw. Woolley was sent in first wicket down to keep up the pace and most brilliantly he played, his driving being magnificent. Before four o'clock, Hobbs completed his 200, but he did not stay much longer. When, with the total at 410, he lifted the ball and gave cover point the easiest of catches, he had not the faintest idea that another run would have given him the record innings in Test matches in England. As it was, he tied with Murdoch's 211 for Australia at the Oval in1884. The figures of his great innings were fifteen 4's, six 3's, twenty four 2's and eighty five singles, the large proportion of singles speaking volumes for his running between the wickets. He and Woolley put on 142 runs together in eighty minutes. Woolley and Hendren did as they like with the tired bowling, hitting away at such a terrific pace that in fifty five minutes they took the score from 410 to 531. They ought to have had the chance of going on for the rest of the afternoon but, to everyone's surprise, Arthur Gilligan declared the innings closed before half past five. Several critics expressed approval of his policy but with a whole day before him there was not the slightest reason why he should have been in a desperate hurry. The hundred runs that Woolley and Hendren might well have added may have been invaluable on Tuesday. As it was, the England bowlers had to be very careful indeed not to give runs away. Having scored 19 without loss overnight, the South Africans required only 239 on Tuesday to escape the single innings defeat and there was nothing in the condition of the wicket to make their task difficult. They held on with great tenacity till the tea interval but after that the end came quickly, Faulkner being run out and Pegler and Parker falling in successive balls to Tate. The match was thus won with a considerable margin of time to spare but it was well for England that Gilligan clean bowled Taylor in the second over after lunch. Susskind played with endless patience, staying at the wickets for over two hours and a half.

© John Wisden & Co