Fourth Test match

Australia v England 4th Test 1928-29

Toss: England. Test debut: Australia - A.A.Jackson.

The rubber having been won, the English team had no cause for anxiety beyond the desire to preserve their unbeaten record. Still they did not exhibit any lack of keenness in the fourth Test match which, characterised by very even scoring throughout, had a most exciting finish, England gaining a victory by 12 runs. This success atoned for the defeat on the same ground in the previous tour, when Australia won by 11 runs. England had no reason for changing their eleven, but Australia brought in Jackson for Richardson, the young New South Wales batsman enjoying the distinction of playing a three-figure innings in his first Test match.

Before going further, it is only right to pay a great tribute to his performance. Accomplished, as will be told later, in circumstances calculated to daunt a player of mature experience, it was, in point of style and beauty of execution and stroke play, the best innings played against the Englishmen during the whole tour. Other achievements made the match memorable. Hammond followed his innings of 251 and 200 at Sydney and Melbourne respectively by making two separate hundreds; Hobbs and Sutcliffe once more gave the side a good start; Jardine played an invaluable innings in partnership with Hammond and, above all, White, sending down over 124 overs, obtained thirteen wickets for 256 runs, eight of them in the second innings. Well as he had bowled in all his previous games, White, in this match, was really wonderful in his stamina, clever flighting and remarkable accuracy of pitch.

England's first innings lasted until after three o'clock on the second day yet, excellent as was a total of 334, there existed reason for anticipating when Hobbs and Sutcliffe had made 143 in two hours and three-quarters that the final score would be considerably higher. Both these men left at the same total, Grimmett going on when Hobbs was out and getting Sutcliffe second ball. To show the character of Hobbs's innings, his hits may be given in detail. These were two 4s, two 3s, eleven 2s and thirty-eight singles. Still each man batted wonderfully well. Hammond, who had gone in at the fall of the first wicket, saw Jardine and Hendren quickly dismissed, and although Chapman helped to add 67, nobody else did anything. Taking out his bat, Hammond scored 72 of the last 88 runs, batting altogether for nearly four hours and a half. He hit nine fours, his driving all through being splendid. Grimmett in this innings bowled better than in any other match against the Englishmen.

Going in on the second day just before half-past three, Australia made a deplorable start, three wickets falling for 19 runs. Off the fourth ball from Tate, Woodfull was magnificently caught at the wicket on the leg-side, Hendry left at six and White, going on at 16, bowled Kippax. It was then that Jackson revealed his great powers. The position did not seem to trouble him in the slightest, and he drove, cut and hit to leg with the utmost certainty and confidence. Ryder helped him to add 126, Bradman stayed while 82 were put on, and then 60 more came in fifty minutes before his superb innings ended at 287. Jackson batted for five hours and twenty minutes, gave no chance, and hit fifteen fours, seven threes and twenty-three twos. In the end Australia, after being in over seven hours and a half, led by 35 runs. A word of praise is due to Tate for some fine bowling.

Going in on the fourth day just before half-past twelve, England lost Hobbs and Sutcliffe for 21, Hobbs, like Woodfull, being splendidly caught on the legside at the wicket with only one run scored. The position was serious, but Hammond and Jardine rose to the occasion in wonderful style. Both men forced the ball to the on-side with clever strokes, and were together at the close of play with the score at 206. They were not separated until a quarter to three on Wednesday afternoon, and by adding 262 runs established a record for the third wicket partnership in Test Matches. The stand lasted nearly five hours and fifty minutes, Jardine, when he looked certain to reach his hundred, being caught at silly mid-off. In a masterly exhibition he hit ten fours. England had then pulled the game round but they proceeded to throw away their advantage, Hendren, Chapman and Larwood all leaving while the score was being raised to 302. Hammond was at length seventh out at 327, just before four o'clock. Batting seven hours and twenty minutes, he hit seventeen fours and, in the circumstances in which it was played, this was probably his best innings of the tour. He was master of the bowling all the time. After tea, Tate, hitting a 6 and five fours, played an invaluable innings and England, all out for 383, set their opponents 349 to get. Before play ceased 24 runs were scored without loss, and on Thursday and Friday there came a fight which will long be remembered by those who saw it. The first wicket fell at 65, and soon after lunch on the Thursday three men were out for 74. A little later occurred an incident which looked like losing the game for England, Ryder, with his score at 26, offering the simplest of catches to White who, to everyone's surprise and his own obvious annoyance, dropped the ball. Kippax and Ryder added 137, Australia then being on top, but soon afterwards White made amends for his previous blunder by holding a hard return from Ryder high up with the left hand. The Australian captain had made a great effort for his side in a fine display of hard hitting. a'Beckett stayed for thirty-five minutes, Hammond making a sensational catch at second slip to dismiss him, and when play ceased for the day Australia, with six men out for 260, required 89 to win. When, next morning, Bradman and Oxenham carried the score to 308, victory for Australia appeared more than likely. These two had added 50 in 65 minutes. At 320, with Bradman run out, fortunes changed again. Oldfield hit a ball to cover point, both batsmen dashing for the run, but Hobbs returned like lightning for Duckworth to put down the wicket. Grimmett stayed for half an hour, but left at 336, Tate at short leg knocking up the ball from a hard hit and bringing off a great catch. Blackie went in amidst tense excitement and carefully played four balls from White. Then came one pitched just a little shorter; Blackie hooked it high into the long field in front of square leg where Larwood, running a few yards, brought off a fine catch and finished a wonderful struggle.

© John Wisden & Co