The 200th Test between the two countries had been eagerly awaited, but it was spoiled by the weather, rain reducing the playing time by half, fifteen hours instead of thirty.
Advance bookings swelled the takings to close on £73,000, or £14,000 more than the previous best for any cricket match. The total attendance was 106,500.
After their depressing performance at Old Trafford, England, with five changes, held a pronounced superiority and clearly shook the Australians' confidence, but the rain robbed them of valuable time and the much-sought victory. Whereas Australia kept their successful eleven, England strengthened their batting and bowling by bringing in Milburn, Barrington, Knight, Brown and Underwood for Amiss, D'Oliveira, Barber, Higgs and Pocock.
The recall of Milburn exposed the frailty of the Australian bowling, which he punished mercilessly and Brown, five for 42, and Knight, three for 16, were responsible for Australia being put out for 78, their lowest Test total for over thirty years. G.O.B. Allen's team dismissed them for 58 on a sticky dog in Brisbane during the 1936-37 tour.
There were so many delays at Lord's that England's first innings occupied the first three days. On Thursday, when only eighty-eight minutes cricket was possible, England, having won the toss, made 53 for the loss of Edrich, caught off his gloves fending away a vicious bouncer.
Boycott and Milburn batted admirably after a shower at noon had enlivened the pitch. McKenzie was very awkward with his short-pitched bowling and Milburn, who made one glorious pull for 6, took several painful blows.
It was on Friday that Milburn was seen at his very best. The pitch had recovered from the previous day's drenching. Milburn began his onslaught in the first over with a superb cover drive and a hook off McKenzie for 4 apiece.
Cowper, who caused England so much trouble in the First Test, looked harmless enough under Milburn's treatment. His first ball was short and Milburn hooked it with tremendous power high and far into the Grand Stand. The square cut, cover drive and hook continued to flow until Milburn made his first mistake. He intended another mighty hit to leg only to present a catch to the ever-reliable Walters near the Tavern boundary.
Altogether Milburn's memorable innings lasted two and a half hours and contained two 6's and twelve 4's, the last 68 runs coming in eighty-five minutes.
On his departure the tempo naturally dropped, though Cowdrey and Barrington batted soundly, but when Barrington retired at 61 with a damaged forefinger, Knight scored only eight in the last seventy minutes of the day at a time when England should have been pressing for runs. So at the end of this second day during which only fifteen minutes were lost, England were 314 for five.
Less than fourteen overs were bowled on Saturday in three short spells; in the fifty-three minutes of play England raised their total to 351 for seven, Barrington's 75 being his highest score of the season.
On Monday the England pace bowlers took charge. Cowdrey declared at the week-end total and on a greenish pitch Australia collapsed so utterly that only two men, Walters and Gleeson, managed to achieve double figures.
A dull heavy atmosphere made its contribution to the bowlers' hostility and Brown and Knight each finished with his best figures for a Test Match. Moreover, the close-set England fielders made few errors. Cowdrey, with three slip catches, passed Hammond"s Test record of 110.
Jarman batted under a severe handicap. While keeping wicket his right forefinger had been chipped in two places and the first ball he received from Brown tore the nail and compelled him to retire. In mid-afternoon more rain caused a break of fifty minutes, and after the teams had been presented to the Queen at the tea interval there was another delay of the same duration.
Australia needed 273 to avert an innings defeat and Lawry, brilliantly caught with the right hand on the leg-side by Knott in the second over of the first innings, struggled to avoid a pair, but as conditions improved in the final session he and Redpath settled down and played well in seeing the total to 50.
Given six hours' cricket on the fifth day, England could well have won, but yet again the weather intervened and nothing could be done until 3.15, play then being limited to two and a half hours.
By the tea interval, England could claim Lawry as their sole victim and no more than eighty-five minutes remained. Although Underwood, with change of pace, accounted for Redpath and Walters, each getting an inside edge to the ball that removed him, and Barrington induced an indiscreet stroke by Cowper, Australia, if worried at one period, were never in real danger. Indeed, Sheahan offered defiance for fifty minutes without scoring and looked quite safe while he and Chappell were menaced by Cowdrey's close field.