The Triangular Tournament

Australia v South Africa

Under happier circumstances, the England and Australia match at Lord's might well have been the event of the season. There could be no mistake as to the enormous amount of interest it excited. Unfortunately, the weather ruined everything. Play on the first day was limited to about three hours, and on the second to little more than twenty minutes. A delightful Wednesday came too late to save the situation, and the match had, perforce, to be left drawn. Despite all disadvantages, over thirty-five thousand people paid for admission during the three days, the exact numbers being 14,402, 7,300, and 13,500. The Prince of Wales was present on the third day. People were flocking up to the ground in such numbers on Tuesday morning that, if the day had turned out fine, it is safe to say there would have been something like a record crowd. In picking the England eleven, the Selection Committee made two changes from the side that had beaten the South Africans so easily a fortnight before, J. W. Hearne and Dean displacing Jessop and Brearley. The ground being as it was, the absence of a right-handed fast bowler, did not matter. Winning the toss ,England did so well during the time available on the first day as to secure, on the damaged pitch, what looked like a winning position. Their score at the drawing of stump, stood at 211 with only four wickets down. In doing this they owed nearly everything to Hobbs and Rhodes, who opened the innings by getting 112 together.

The value of such a start could scarcely be exaggerated. The two batsmen went in just after half-past eleven, but when they had scored five runs each, heavy rain fell, and nothing more could be done until nearly a quarter-past two, lunch having in the meantime been taken. When at last a fresh start became possible, the wicket began to kick, and the batsmen had rather an anxious time. However, with a little luck to help them, they surmounted all difficulties, and when, soon after three o'clock, rain caused another long delay, the total was 77. Up to 34 the batsmen scored evenly, but after that, Rhodes so monopolised the hitting that his share of the 77 runs amounted to 52. The players were out again just before half-past four, and for a time the wicket was too wet to be difficult. Of this condition of things Hobbs took full advantage, hitting all-round with delightful skill. The hundred went up as the result of about an hour and a quarter's batting, but at 112, Rhodes, from a quick-rising ball, was caught at the wicket.

His fine innings of 59 was marked by the strangest contrasts, the latter portion being as cautious as the first part was brilliant. The pitch had become very treacherous when Spooner went in, and through he stayed for over a quarter of an hour, he never looked at all comfortable. In hitting at a ball from Kelleway, he was caught at forward short-leg at 123. With Fry as his next partner, Hobbs hit away splendidly, completing his hundred soon after six o'clock. However, at 197, he was bowled. Very rarely has he shown finer cricket on a difficult wicket. Without being at all rash, he seemed to seize every opportunity of scoring. Batting for two hours and three-quarters, he hit fifteen 4's, one 3, and eight 2's. His 107--in every respect a great innings--is the fourth hundred obtained for England against Australia at Lord's. Warner left at 211, play then ending for the day with Fry not out 24. The Australians did a lot of smart work in the field and, generally speaking, their bowling was good. During the afternoon Hazlitt's delivery gave rise to a great deal of discussion, two famous cricketers, who were in the pavilion, condemning it in no measured terms.

On Tuesday, a sharp shower delayed the start until nearly half-past eleven. Fry and Woolley added 30 runs, and then at ten minutes to twelve, rain drove the players from the field. At first little more than a drizzle, the downpour became much heavier, and not another ball could he bowled during the day. Not until a quarter to six, however, was the idea of further cricket given up.

Wednesday produced some remarkable play being, of course, quite secure against any risk of defeat, the Englishmen made a desperate effort to force a win, but the Australian batting was too good for them, and, moreover, the wicket rolled out a great deal easier than anyone could have expected. To begin with, England added 69 runs in fifty minutes, Fry declaring at 310 for seven wickets. There was a great deal of excitement when, soon after twelve o'clock, the Australians went in to bat. It soon became evident that England had little hope of winning. Kelleway set himself to play an absolutely defensive game, being at the wickets more than half-an-hour before he made a run- Jennings was caught by the wicket-keeper at 27, but at lunch-time the score was up to 57 for one wicket, Kelleway being then not out 16 and Macartney not out 20. Barnes's bowling had presented no difficulties, and everyone felt that the match would end in a draw. However, there was no lack of interest in the cricket after luncheon, Macartney playing, perhaps, the finest innings seen at Lord's during the season. He showed himself master of nearly every scoring stroke, and though playing rather a daring game he never made a false hit. He missed his hundred by a single run, a catch on the leg-side by the wicket-keeper, standing back to Foster's bowling, getting rid of him at 173. He hit thirteen 4's, one 3, and eight 2's. The rest of the day's cricket was, by comparison, uneventful, much of the Australian batting being marked by more caution than the occasion demanded. However, there was some free hitting towards the close by Smith, and Hazlitt. When stumps were pulled up the score stood at 282 for seven wickets. Far less attractive than Macartney's brilliant display, but even more valuable, in the circumstances, to his side, was Kelleway's innings of 61, which extended over four hours and a half. The English bowlers were powerless against his rigid defence and inexhaustible patience.

© John Wisden & Co
 
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