Match reports

Australia v England 1928-29

England, having proved successful in the two previous Test games, naturally approached the third with a certain amount of confidence

England, having proved successful in the two previous Test games, naturally approached the third with a certain amount of confidence. In the end they won by three wickets, this victory giving them the rubber and the retention of The Ashes. There were many changes of fortune in the course of a great struggle but scarcely anything in the whole tour approached the long, drawn-out tension of the last innings before the winning hit was made. In ordinary circumstances, little might have been thought of the task of getting 332, but these runs had to be made on a rain-ruined wicket and anybody who knows the Melbourne ground will appreciate the stupendous effort required. As at the Oval in 1926, the judgment and skill of Hobbs and the stubbornness of Sutcliffe really carried England to victory, but in awarding great praise to them for wonderful batting under difficult conditions, it must not be forgotten the part that, earlier in the match, Hammond, with his innings of 200, the bowling of Larwood, Tate, Geary and White, and the high standard of the fielding all round, played in the success.
England had the same eleven as at Sydney, but Australia made further changes, bringing in Bradman, a' Beckett, and Oxenham for Ponsford, Nothling and Ironmonger. These alterations undoubtedly made Australia a better combination, for Blackie, expensive at Sydney, met with marked success as a bowler in the first innings, while Bradman, with two fine displays of batting, showed what a mistake had been made in leaving him out of the second match. Ryder, winning the toss, Australia made such a poor start as to lose the first three wickets for 57 runs but then came a great stand by Kippax and Ryder who, at the rate of a run a minute, added no fewer than 161. Kippax had played well for an hour before lunch and directly afterwards he hit four 4's to leg off Larwood, three of them in one over. Ultimately he was caught at long leg in repeating this profitable stroke. Stylish and effective in all he did, he batted for over three hours and a half in beautiful fashion. Bradman next helped Ryder to put on 64 in less than an hour. Ryder, who drove well, was in for three hours and forty minutes. Bradman and a' Beckett added 86, but nobody else did much towards the total of nearly 400. Bowled by a yorker at 373, Bradman scored well in front of the wicket, hitting nine 4's during his stay of over three hours. Although he took only one wicket, White bowled with wonderful steadiness while Tate's work was beyond praise. On the second day 62,259 people witnessed the play, this being a record attendance for one afternoon.
England headed their opponents' total by 20 runs after losing Hobbs with 28 on the board. The batting honours went to Hammond who, going in first wicket down, was fifth to leave at 364, brilliantly caught behind the bowler. Batting for nearly six and three-quarter hours, Hammond, in a masterly display, hit only seventeen fours, but he had to face a lot of steady bowling and accurate fielding. As at Sydney, he made great use of his favourite stroke through the covers, with an occasional square drive. Sutcliffe, very restrained, helped him to add 133 and after the fall of the fourth wicket at 238 Hammond and Jardine put on 126. Jardine was in for over three hours, concentrating mainly on defence. Following Hammond's dismissal, however, the last five wickets fell in seventy minutes for 53 runs. Blackie, who came out with the fine record of six wickets for 94 runs, obtained after going on at 351, four for 34 in his last spell of bowling.
When Australia went in a second time, Richardson again failed and although Woodfull batted uncommonly well and Kippax helped to add 78, there were four wickets down for 143. England then stood in a good position, but Bradman - nearly bowled by White when seven - assisted Woodfull to put on a valuable 58, and subsequently proceeded to make his first hundred in a Test match. Woodfull, fifth out at 201, hit only seven 4's during his stay of four hours and a half. His defence all through was wonderful. There, were seven men out for 252, but Oxenham helped to add 93 at the rate of a run a minute before Bradman's innings closed at 345. Bradman batted over four hours, hit eleven 4's and brought off many splendid drives. Australia had two wickets to fall on the sixth day when, owing to rain during the night, play could not be resumed until nearly one o'clock, and it was noticed that Ryder did not have the wicket rolled. England, wanting 332 to win, had to go in for five minutes before lunch. This period as safely tided over, but on resuming Hobbs, with his score 3 and the total 10 was given a life by Hendry at slip. For that blunder a heavy price had to be paid. The ball was turning and at other times getting up almost straight, but Hobbs and Sutcliffe contented themselves for the most part in playing it, realising that the longer they stayed the better was England's chance of making the runs. Only 75 were obtained between lunch and tea but altogether the two batsmen made 105 before Hobbs was leg before. He hit only one four in his 49, but the value of his innings could not be measured by the mere runs he made. Remarkable footwork, masterly defence and unerring skill in a difficult situation were the memories this innings left. England were still a long way from victory, but Sutcliffe and Jardine, with the wicket steadily becoming less awkward, added 94. Incidentally, Jardine had been sent in next on the advice of Hobbs, who, signalling for a new bat, took the opportunity of suggesting this to Chapman. Jardine, before getting out next morning, played his part with the utmost fidelity. Sutcliffe and Hammond put on 58 and Hendren, missed when 21 at long-on by Bradman, helped in a stand which produced an invaluable 61, before Sutcliffe was leg before at 318. For his 135 - in the circumstances a great innings - Sutcliffe batted nearly six hours and a half. England then had the match in their hands, but just before tea Hendren was for bowled and afterwards Chapman and Tate lost their wickets before Geary made the winning hit at half-past four. Without belittling the splendid batting of England and particularly of the first pair, it can be said that the Australian bowlers failed to make the most of their opportunity. Blackie, for the most part, bowled a dead length instead of pitching the ball up, and a' Beckett sent down ball after ball wide of the off stump. The total attendance at the match reached 262, 467, the receipts being £22, 561 18s. The attendance was easily a record.