Second Test Match

England v New Zealand 1931

Played at Kennington Oval, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, July 29, 30, 31.- Different indeed was the course taken by the second Test match from the remarkable cricket that had characterised the contest at Lord's. From the very start the game went well for England and by a quarter past three on the third afternoon they had one by an innings and 26 runs. Four changes were made in the side, Sutcliffe, Verity, Tate and F.R. Brown coming in for Arnold, Woolley, Voce and Robins. Thus, not only did the home country have one of their recognised first wicket batsmen to give them a better start than in the earlier match, but the presence of Tate meant a big difference to the strength of the attack. The New Zealanders on the other hand were compelled to enter upon the struggle without their best batsman, Dempster, whose damaged leg prevented him from turning out. To fill the vacancy, Vivian was included. Jardine won the toss for England after rain had left the wicket soft and easy and although the pitch never became really treacherous in the later stages it certainly did not favour the New Zealand batsmen when they had to go in. England on the first day, following a delay through rain after lunch, made 312 for three wickets in four hours and forty minutes of actual cricket. On the Thursday they raised their score to 416 for the loss of one more batsman, and thenceforward New Zealand were engaged in a battle in which inevitable defeat stared them in the face practically all the time. To Allen England owed a good deal for their success. In the first match he had been brought into the side to take the place of Larwood and played an innings of a hundred, while at the Oval, when last man chosen, he did great work with the ball.

To begin with, Sutcliffe and Bakewell put on 84 together before Bakewell sacrificed his wicket when Sutcliffe called him for what looked to be too sharp a single. Bakewell played better than at Lord's and the good start in which he was able to assist was admirably followed up, Duleepsinhji joined Sutcliffe and helping in a stand which lasted two hours and a quarter and produced 178 runs. Duleepsinhji played in brilliant fashion, his driving and pulling being admirable and he hit thirteen 4's. Third out at 271 Sutcliffe made his fourteenth hundred for England in Test matches. He brought off a number of fine strokes all round the wicket during his stay of three hours and clearly showed what a great difference to the side his presence meant. In the last three quarters of an hour, Hammond and Ames made 81 and next morning Hammond went for the bowling in such brilliant fashion that in fifty minutes another 104 runs were added before the innings was declared closed. With such skill and power did he play that not one of the bowlers could keep a length. He made his runs in a hundred minutes, hitting thirteen 4's and apart from a difficult chance of stumping, his batting was alike brilliant and faultless. None of the New Zealand bowlers was suited by the state of the wicket.

New Zealand made a dreadful start, four men being out for 53. Allen took all the wickets for only four runs, the ball with which he bowled Weir immediately after lunch being one of the best sent down during the match. Very fast, it came back a little and hit the top of the wicket. Page and Lowry added 65 but at Length Allen, after resting an hour and a half, went on again and got a wicket in his first over. All this time Lowry had batted in fine fighting spirit but he was out just before tea time when seven wickets had fallen for 157 and afterwards only another 26 runs were put on. Allen came out with the remarkable record of five wickets for 14 runs. Before play ceased, New Zealand, who followed on, lost Weir, stumps being drawn for the day with the visitors 201 behind with nine wickets to fall. On the last day once Mills had been beaten by a fine ball from Tate, only Blunt Vivian and Kerr accomplished anything of note. Blunt and Vivian added 88 for the fourth partnership. Vivian's good hitting made up for a lot of other failures. He drove with excellent power, making one stroke to the on for six off Verity. Kerr played robustly and Blunt was in for two hours and twenty minutes but after lunch the last six wickets fell in an hour for 58 runs. The England fielding all through was very good, Ames, like James of the New Zealanders, keeping wicket splendidly.

© John Wisden & Co
 
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