Bradman back with a bang

Australia 228 and 191 beat England 169 and 139 by 111 runs

1st day

As the Melbourne turf is frequently more suitable to fast howling than other Australian wickets, England's eleven for the second Test was framed on the policy of ramming home the fast attack with four pace bowlers, so Bowes replaced Verity. This was a bold policy, as it meant that Jardine entered the field with Hammond as the only spin bowler of class. If the move had succeeded it would have been acclaimed, but, although England's attack did well on a dead wicket, the pitch proved more suitable for Australia's spin bowlers. Although 46, Ironmonger, the left-hand bowler, forced his way into Australia's eleven. It seemed a mistake that Nagel should be the bowler omitted, and the dropping of Ponsford was a serious blunder. Bradman was fit enough to resume his place in the team. Lamentable batting displays were given by both sides. Notable work was done by the bowlers, but they profited because most of the batsmen were stodgy and neglected to employ the great influence of the drive. Winning the toss again, Australia scored a laborious 194 for 7 before stumps were drawn. Although none of the early wickets fell to Larwood, his influence was telling. Because of trouble with his boots, he left the field four times, and was off for an hour in all. Opening the innings, Fingleton hung on doggedly for four hours for 83. With Woodfull and O'Brien (who each defended for an hour) Fingleton took some of the sting from the attack, but there were not enough stroke players in the eleven for Australia to benefit. Bradman went first ball, when he tried to hook a short one from Bowes, and touched it on to his wicket. McCabe was not at his best, and made a weak stroke for a slip catch. Clutching twice, Hammond held a brilliant catch when Richardson turned Voce to leg. The day's play was watched by 63,993 spectators, and the gate receipts amounted to £5,577.
2nd day
England's reply of 161 for 9 was all the batsmen deserved for their display. Again Sutcliffe headed the list, but his 52 was the most scratchy innings he has ever played in Australia. The only one of the first seven to play real cricket was Hammond, even if his stay was short. Attempting a cover stroke, Hammond found a ball from Wall faster than he estimated. In five overs after tea, Wall dismissed Sutcliffe, Jardine and Ames. He bowled a good pace, with his usual determination, but the outstanding bowler was O'Reilly, who mingled leg-breaks, wrong-uns and over-spinners. Varying his pace and making the ball come off at different heights, O'Reilly earned his wickets. In a batsmanlike contribution, Allen provided a contrast to the rest. Apart from him and Hammond, all the batsmen played almost entirely on the back foot. Those who had doubted whether Allen was quite up to Test standard were satisfied by his all-round cricket in this game in which he was the best of England's fast bowlers.

3rd day
The England bowlers fought back splendidly, and at the close of play appeared to have put their side in a favourable position. Australia's only consolation in a second innings of 191 was an impressive comeback by Bradman, who scored 103 not out, in three hours, while eight wickets fell at the other end. This was a different Bradman not the dasher with audacious strokes, but a batsman fighting grimly to save his side from collapse, and to regain his own confidence and certainty. Viewed from every angle of batsmanship, this innings must be ranked for merit as probably the greatest Bradman has played. The only other things that counted in Australia's innings were Woodfull's safe opening and a bright three-quarter-hour by Richardson. Frequently the best bowler does not have the best figures, but Hammond's ability to spin the ball made him the most difficult of the English attack. Set 251 to win, England made a good start when Leyland helped Sutcliffe to put up 43 before the end of the day. Sutcliffe batted in excellent form, being 33 not out, and Leyland 10 not out. The attendance was 68,188.

4th day
England's sudden collapse came as a shock. Sending the ball into a good breeze, O'Reilly gained in flight and turn by slackening his pace. The legbreak which beat Sutcliffe early broke almost the width of the stumps. The spin of some of Ironmonger's deliveries was aided whenever the ball pitched on a part of the surface worn by fast bowlers' feet. Apart from this wear, the bowlers were able to turn the ball a good deal. Whatever Jardine's motive, changing the batting order did not help. Hammond, who came in at No. 4, went down fighting. Five leading batsmen had tumbled in less than an hour for 34 runs, so the Gloucestershire allrounder then staked all on desperate measures for a desperate situation. Hammond lifted several strokes, and when a mishit and a well-placed fieldsman brought his downfall, the match was lost, although Allen and Wyatt made a plucky stand of 50 for the seventh wicket. Although not much in the picture, because of the success of the other bowlers, Grimmett's bowling was his best for two years, as he tossed the ball and turned it better. The tenseness of the struggle throughout was a gruelling test of the captaincy of the two leaders, who at one time had runs to play with. Their leadership pleased the critics, Woodfull revealing an unsuspected amount of strategy.. The match was an enormous financial success, the attendance being 200,586 and the receipts £16,076.