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Played at Adelaide, January 29, 30, February 1, 2, 3, 4. Australia won by 148 runs.
Two factors lost England the match, which might have been won despite Bradman succeeding in the toss. One was England's batting collapse on the Monday, when the immense advantage gained by getting Australia out for the small total of 288 was frittered away by a deplorable display after Barnett and Leyland had put the side in a splendid position. The other was Bradman's second innings of 212.
For the first time during the tour Wyatt was fit to play in a Test and Allen surprised everyone by sending Verity in to bat with Barnett. Though this pair, in each innings, exceeded any other first innings partnership of the series, Verity did not solve the problem of opening batsman but he revealed fine defence.
The wicket was perfect throughout the match, and for the only time in the series, no rain came to interfere with play. The batting failures, therefore, were inexplicable. Australia's win roused cricket enthusiasm in the country to a high pitch because it meant the final Test being the decider of the rubber.
The first day's play was witnessed by 39000 people. Australia won the toss and in the five hours allotted scored 267 for the loss of seven wickets; a good day's work by England. Fingleton was run out at 26, a foolish sacrifice of his wicket that had been foreshadowed by faulty running, but Brown and Rigg stayed together until the first over after lunch when Farnes dismissed both batsmen. McCabe came to the rescue and played a grand innings, but Bradman, who, unusually restrained, took 68 minutes to score 26 runs, was clean bowled by Allen when trying one of his favourite hook shots. Gregory, making his Test debut at the age of 20, showed promise, and McCabe indulged in an exhilarating burst of scoring immediately after the tea interval, and played Verity more confidently than anyone else had done during the tour. When in trying to hook Robins he was magnificently caught by Allen at deep square leg. , McCabe had batted two and a quarter hours and hit nine 4's. Chipperfield played a resolute innings and was not out at the close with 45. At twenty minutes to one on the second day Australia were out for 288 and by the close of play England had hit 174 for two wickets, Barnett being 92 and Leyland 35. England appeared to be in a very strong position and Barnett's first Test century was completed early on the morning of the third day but prior to that, in the same over from Fleetwood-Smith, Leyland had been taken in the slips. Then the game swung Australia's way. Wyatt failed, immediately after lunch Barnett left, and five England wickets were lost for 259 with Australia still 29 runs on- not as comfortable a position as had been promised.
Barnett batted nearly five and three quarter hours and hit one 6 and thirteen 4's. It was a great innings, illustrative of the progress the Gloucestershire man had made on the tour. Ames also batted well but there was a long "tail" and England finished only 42 ahead. By close of play Australia were 21 on with nine wickets in hand, and Bradman in his most dangerous mood. The fourth day's play virtually settled the issue; a stubborn stand between Bradman and McCabe realised 109, and a big fifth wicket partnership ensued between Bradman and Gregory. This, producing 135, was not broken until the fifth day when Bradman showed signs of tiredness. Bradman's innings was not one of his most brilliant efforts but he has never looked more sure of himself. He seemed to go in to bat with the fixed determination of winning the match, and though England bowled with any amount of skill and heart he hit 212 in 437 minutes. In that score there were only fourteen 4's- an indication of the dourness of the fight. Incidentally, it was Bradman's seventh double century in Tests against England. On his dismissal the four remaining wickets went down for 11 runs and Hammond returned the very creditable analysis of five for 57.
At the close of the fifth day there was still a ray of hope for England because Hammond and Leyland were together with 148 of the 392 runs required already scored and seven wickets in hand. The wicket, considering the amount of play on it, was in wonderful order. Fleetwood-Smith, however, was in an inspired mood and utilised the pitch to his needs as no bowler on the English side could have done. Neither of the overnight batsmen survived long and it was left to Wyatt to carry on while others failed. Wyatt, on reaching an excellent fifty, gave up defensive tactics and fell to a catch at the wicket. That was the end of a match in which Bradman's batting and the skilful spin bowling of Fleetwood-Smith confounded England's prospects.