Fourth Test Match

England v Australia 1921

Toss: England. Test debuts: C.Hallows, C.W.L.Parker

The fourth Test brought with it a welcome change in the fortunes of the English team. They did not have the luck to win the game, but at least they had the satisfaction of getting all the best of a draw. This after the dismal experiences at Nottingham, Lord's and Leeds was no small consolation. The match had to be restricted to two days, a persistent drizzle making cricket impossible on the Saturday. The teams waited a long time in the hope of improvement, and it was not until after half past five that the decision "No play today" was arrived at. The crowd not unnaturally grew rather impatient, and at one time there seemed a danger of serious trouble, hundreds of people flocking on to the playing area. However a strong force of police dealt tactfully with the situation, ands complete order was soon restored. The selection committee had fifteen men in readiness, and in the England team as finally decided on, there were various changes from the previous elevens, P.G.H. Fender, Mead, Russell, Hallows and Parker coming in for the first time. The rain probably gained Parker his place to the exclusion of Durston. Tennyson had the good fortune to win the toss and on a wicket that was far too soft and slow to be at all difficult England's batting at last asserted itself. Under the conditions that prevailed Gregory and McDonald had no terrors, and when Monday's play came to an end the score stood at 362 with only four men out. An unfortunate and rather lamentable incident occurred during the afternoon. At ten minutes to six, with the total at 341, Tennyson came out on to the field and declared the innings closed, being quite forgetful of the fact that under Law 55, as amended by the MCC in 1914, he had no power to do so. The first day having been a blank, the fixture became a two day match and the declaration could not be made later than an hour and forty minutes before time, so Tennyson was just an hour too late. It was strange that no one in the pavilion remembered the existing law sufficiently well to save him such a blunder. Armstrong signalled to his men to remain on the field, but eventually they as well as the umpires followed Tyldesley and Fender to the pavilion. A little argument soon put the matter right, play continuing after an interval of a little more than twenty minutes. The general confusion led to another breach of the laws, for on a fresh start being made Armstrong, who had bowled the last over, sent down the next. In the time that remained Tyldesley and Fender quietly added 21 runs without being separated. England got off the mark very well in the morning, Brown and Russell sending up 65 for the first wicket, and there were no failures. Russell had the extreme satisfaction of getting a hundred and played for the most part exceedingly well. He was favoured by fortune, however, being missed in the slips when he had made six, and again when 85, Armstrong in both cases, being the offending fieldsman. Apart from these chances Russell's innings, which extended over four hours, left no room for fault finding. It was stated that 81 of his 101 runs were scored on the on side. Woolley played beautifully, but Mead, with his side in a very strong position, carried caution to an extreme. By far the most attractive batting on the side was that of Tyldesley, who up to the time of the mistaken declaration gave a dazzling display. Heavy rain fell during Monday night, but there was nothing to prevent play being continued at eleven o'clock, and of course, Tennyson at once declared. The chance of England being able to force a win was remote, and as it happened the wicket, in weather that was cloudy after a brief spell of sunshine, never became really treacherous. Quite early in the afternoon a draw was seen to be inevitable. In warding off the danger of defeat the Australians were mainly indebted to Collins, who played with masterly skill and inexhaustible patience. For his innings of 40 he was batting four hours and fifty minutes. The Australians were 187 runs behind, but with little more than half an hour left for play when their innings ended no purpose would have been served by enforcing the follow on, so England played out time.

© John Wisden & Co