Second Test Match

England v Australia 1921

In the second of the Test Matches the Englishmen were not disgraced as at Nottingham, putting up indeed a more creditable fight in face of tremendous odds, but they again suffered a heavy defeat, the Australians winning easily on the third afternoon by eight wickets. The match proved an enormous attraction, but on the Saturday the arrangements for dealing with the crowd proved inadequate, many ticket holders being greatly delayed and inconvenienced in getting through the gates. The M.C.C. came in for some sharp criticism, and were compelled to put forward an explanation. Things went quite smoothly after the first day, but a good deal of soreness was felt. In choosing the England eleven the selection committee made drastic changes from the side that did so badly at Trent Bridge. They were disappointed with regard to C.B. Fry, who begged off on the ground that he did not feel satisfied with his form. Up to the last moment the exact constitution of the team was uncertain, and on the Saturday morning a surprise was sprung on the public by bringing in Tennyson, who had not even been mentioned as a candidate. Hearne and Mead were left out, not being considered physically fit for such a strenuous match, and Dipper, one of the reserves, was chosen in preference to Holmes, who had been retained as twelfth man. A.J. Evans was played on the strength of his fine batting with the M.C.C., but he did not prove a success, the occasion being perhaps rather too big for him. As a whole the selection did not turn out well, the fielding being indeed far below the Test Match standard. To be quite candid, an England side so slow and generally inefficient had never previously been seen against Australia. The King honoured the match with his presence on the first day.

As at Nottingham, England won the toss, and again practically lost the match at the start, three wickets being down for 25 runs. Dipper was bowled in trying to turn McDonald; Knight from a ball very wide of the off stump gave the simplest of catches at slip, and Hendren was quite lost with one of McDonald's fastest. The result of these disasters was that the Englishmen at the end of half an hour found themselves playing an up hill game. Woolley and Douglas made a great effort, and as long as they stayed together there was hope of the position being retrieved. Both played Armstrong with extreme caution, and when lunch time came the score had reached only 77. Things went well after the interval, till at 108 Douglas mistimed a palpable long hop that he tried to pull and was clean bowled. After Douglas left Woolley continued to play superb cricket, but he could get no one to help him. He was the last man to go- England being all out for 187. Nothing finer in English batting was seen last season than Woolley's 95. His innings lasted three hours and included ten 4's.

The Australians went in with extreme confidence, and in little more than two hours scored 191 for three wickets, thus leaving off with an overwhelming advantage. The English bowling had neither length nor spin, and from the first the batsmen made very light of it. Bardsley was at his best, and Macartney and Pellew hit away as they liked. The second day opened well for England, Bardsley being caught at slip with the score unaltered, and Armstrong clean bowled at 192. Here, however, our success ended, the Australians hitting freely and cleanly to carry their score to 342. Gregory had some luck, but the two chances he gave were very difficult. The England bowling was up to a point far better than it had been on the Saturday, Parkin in particular sending down some splendid overs. England had to go I against a balance of 155, and it was felt that the position was almost hopeless. Still, thanks chiefly to Woolley and Dipper, who put on 94 runs together, the arrears were cleared off soon after the tea interval with seven wickets in hand. Hopes were rising, but at 165 Woolley, in trying to hit a palpable long hop to the boundary, was out to a wonderful catch by Hendry at forward short leg. Woolley again missed his 100, but his second innings was no less admirable than his first. His only mistake was a chance in the slips when 36. With Woolley out the bowlers soon reasserted themselves. Tennyson hit vigorously after being missed by the wicketkeeper, and at the drawing of stumps England's score stood at 243 with eight wickets down.

On the third morning Tennyson made a gallant effort, seizing every chance to score, but despite his efforts the innings was all over for 283. Scoring his 74 not out in an hour and forty minutes, Tennyson hit ten 4's, most of them powerful drives, and showed that he, at any rate, was not afraid of the fast bowlers.

The Australians only required 129 to win - a trifling task for such a side on a pitch that showed scarcely any signs of wear. Bardsley and Andrews settled the matter by sending up 101 together, but before the end came Macartney pulled a ball on to his wicket. Bardsley again played finely, but he had a narrow escape off Douglas's bowling in the second over, the ball going into Hendren's right hand wide in the slips and out again - a hard chance, but a possible one.

© John Wisden & Co