Third Test match

England v Australia 1905

Played at LEEDS, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, July 3, 4, 5. Drawn. The third Test Match ended in a draw, the Englishmen at the finish holding an overwhelming advantage. But for a couple of dropped catches in the last innings, they would, in all probability, have won the game, but the stubborn batting by means of which the Australians warded off defeat could scarcely be overpraised. England was not so strongly represented as in the previous matches, an attack of rheumatism in one case and a damaged finger in the other causing MacLaren and Rhodes to stand down. On the other hand Hirst filled the place which would have been his at Trent Bridge and Lord"s if his leg had been sound. Denton, Warren, and Blythe played for the first time. The first two were quite new to Test Match cricket, but Blythe was out in Australia with MacLaren"s team in the winter of 1901-2. Denton failed, somewhat discounting a brilliant season"s work, but the two bowlers got on admirably.

On a pitch that had not entirely recovered from recent rain the Englishmen were batting for the whole of the first day, their innings ending just before half-past six for 301. Up to a certain point there seemed little chance of such a score as this, for though Fry and Hayward made an excellent start four wickets were down at a quarter past one for 64. As on many previous occasions in Test Matches Jackson saved his side, giving a magnificent display. Going in with the score at 57 for three wickets he withstood the bowling for four hours and twenty minutes and took out his bat for 144. Running no risks he was at the wickets a hundred minutes for his first fifty runs and completed his hundred in three hours and a half. His cutting on the rather slow wicket was a model of timing, and he made a number of hard drives. So safe was the game he played that during his long stay he only lifted the ball three or four times. With his score at 45 he had a narrow escape of being caught at slip, but his only palpable mistake was an easy chance of stumping when he had made 130. Among his hits were eighteen 4"s. It is worthy of mention that of his five hundreds for England v. Australia this 144 not out is the biggest score. Hirst, Bosanquet, Lilley and Haigh all gave their captain valuable help, the fifth wicket putting on 60, the sixth 68, the seventh 31, and the eighth 50. Without being at all deadly the Australian bowling was steadiness itself.

After a dry night the wicket on Tuesday was faster than before, but though better than had been expected it was never exactly easy. The Australians were batting rather less than three hours and scored 195. It was a very uneven innings, eight members of the team failing to reach double figures. Thanks chiefly to Warren"s great pace Trumper, Hill and Noble, were all out in little more than half an hour for 36, but with only five wickets down the score was up to 161. After Hopkins left, however, there was quite a collapse, the last four wickets falling for 29 runs. Armstrong played superb cricket for more than two hours, driving with great power, and except for one lucky stroke at the start of his innings he never made a mistake. In third wicket down at 36 he was out ninth at 191. Duff also played a fine innings, and Hopkins drove very hard. Warren carried off all the honours in bowling, maintaining a rare pace and making the ball get up very awkwardly.

Opening their second innings with a lead of 106, the Englishmen put themselves in practically a safe position, scoring 169 before the drawing of stumps and only losing two wickets. Inasmuch, however, as over three hours were occupied it cannot be said that the best use was made of the time available. Armstrong bowled unchanged and so cramped Fry that that batsman took a hundred minutes to make 30 runs. Hayward batted admirably, but he also found it very difficult to get the ball away and the first liberty he took cost him his wicket. He was out second wicket down at 126 after a stay of over two hours and a half. Tyldesley, very quick on his legs, played a much more vigorous and effective game. Towards the end of the day when firmly set he drew away from the wicket and managed to hit Armstrong on the off side. At the drawing of stumps he was not out 62, his innings so far having lasted eighty minutes. Armstrong"s leg theory bowling tried the patience of the crowd severely and at times there was a great deal of ironical applause.

On the third morning it was essential that England should score fast but with Armstrong bowling outside the leg stump and McLeod wide of the off stump, the batsmen had a difficult task. Denton was out at 170, and half-an-hour later with the total at 202 Jackson was caught on the leg side. After this Tyldesley and Hirst hit very hard, but Armstrong missed them at slip off successive balls from Noble. At length Tyldesley was stumped, and when Hirst and Bosanquet had put on 37 runs the innings was declared closed at a quarter to one with the score at 295 for five wickets. Curiously enough the declaration was made at exactly the same time as in the match at Nottingham, and the Australians were set the same task - 402 to get in four hours and a half. In first wicket down at 80 and out fifth at 258, Tyldesley scored his 100 in two and a half hours. He ought to have been caught and bowled by Armstrong when he had made 18 but this and a chance at slip at 82 were his only mistakes. Nothing could have been more skilful than his hitting.

With no chance of winning the Australians set themselves sternly to work to save the game. They lost Trumper - easily caught in the slips - in the second over, and if Hayward at second slip had managed to catch Hill two wickets would have been down for six runs. As it was Hill stayed till the score had reached 64, his being the third wicket to fall. Noble, who had gone in at 36, played with untiring patience, but by twenty minutes past four five wickets were down for 121 and a victory for England seemed in prospect. Hopkins was out before five o"clock and England might have won after all if Blythe had held a straight return from Noble when that batsman had made 55, more than an hour still remaining for play. Profiting by his escape Noble stayed in till a quarter to six. Then losing his self-control for the first time he jumped out to drive Bosanquet and was easily stumped. Gregory and McLeod played steadily for half-an-hour, and ten minutes before time an appeal against the light caused the match to be left drawn. Blythe bowled uncommonly well, but Warren had not the same pace as in the first innings and Bosanquet was a complete disappointment.

© John Wisden & Co