Second Test Match


At Sydney, December 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19. Australia won by an innings and 33 runs. Compared with the first Test, England made two changes, Evans for Gibb as wicket-keeper and Smith for Voce. With Lindwall still unfit, Australia introduced Freer, the Victoria fast-medium bowler. Hardstaff and Meuleman were nominated again as twelfth men. When Hammond won the toss, most people expected a big score from England. The conditions were ideal, even if the pitch did prove responsive to spin.

England's troubles commenced in the second over of the match, when Freer clean bowled Washbrook. I understand that as he went forward to play the ball Washbrook caught his glove against the inside of his pad. Miller, rather erratic, caused the ball to lift, but Freer was steady and accurate. Hutton and Edrich set out to repair the damage, and they fared well enough, even when Bradman introduced the two left-handers Tribe and Toshack. The second pair added 78 in one and three-quarter hours before the appearance of Johnson at 88 upset the stand. With his third delivery Johnson got Hutton taken on the leg-side by Tallon. That disaster occurred at twenty minutes to three, and in the next twenty-five minutes Australia virtually won the match when Tallon took two more catches off McCool which accounted for Compton and Hammond. So four England wickets were down for 99, McCool claiming two in less than three overs for five runs. Once again England batsmen had failed against Australian spinners. There followed a desperate stand by Edrich and Ikin. The Australians, completely on top, gave nothing away. Johnson bowled his off-breaks so magnificently that at the end of seventy minutes, when given a well-earned rest, his analysis read eleven overs, eight maidens, three runs, one wicket. The score crept to 148, when Edrich, having batted splendidly for three hours and twenty minutes, was leg-before. Yardley provided that vigilant wicket-keeper Tallon with his fourth catch, and Johnson completed a notable day's bowling by removing Smith and Evans. He might have claimed Ikin also before stumps were drawn at 219 for eight, for the Lancashire left-hander when 36 was dropped by Barnes at silly mid-off.

Bradman, who limped badly the first day, did not field on Saturday, Hassett taking over the leadership. Within half an hour England were all out, Ikin being caught at mid-off after a stay of three hours. Johnson, bowling for the first time in a Test, came out with six wickets for seven runs apiece. The Australian innings had been in progress only nine minutes when bad light, followed by an almost torrential downpour, held up the cricket for over three hours. On resuming, Edrich made the ball kick viciously, sometimes from a very short length, and at 24 Morris, turning his back to the ball, was bowled off his legs. Bradman preferred to rest his injured leg, and as soon as Johnson appeared Barnes repeatedly appealed against the light. At the fifth appeal the umpires gave way, and play ended for the day with the Australian total 27 for one wicket. All told, only ninety-three minutes of cricket was possible this second day.

Brilliant sunshine on Sunday transformed the pitch, which rolled out perfectly on Monday when cricket took place in glorious weather. The biggest crowd of the match, 51,459, saw Barnes bat all day. England put up a praiseworthy fight. Wright bowled splendidly, and the batsmen were never really comfortable in face of his mixture of leg-breaks and googlies. Bedser and Edrich also bowled well, but Smith failed to produce his State match form. Only three wickets fell this day, all to Edrich, as after Miller left at ten minutes to four, Bradman, without a runner, stayed with Barnes until the stumps were drawn with the total 252 for four wickets. Not before twenty minutes to six the following day did England break the Barnes-Bradman stand. Then, in successive overs, Bradman, who batted superbly despite a pronounced limp which must have been very painful, and Barnes were dismissed at the same total. Each hit 234, and they established a new fifth-wicket Test partnership record of 405. It was also a fifth-wicket world record for first-class cricket, and there was only one bigger in Test cricket, 451 by Bradman and Ponsford for the second wicket at Kennington Oval in 1934. Bradman batted for six and a half hours and hit twenty-four 4's. Barnes took ten hours forty minutes over his runs and hit seventeen 4's.

On the fifth day Australia forced the pace, and at last Wright gained reward for his excellent bowling when in his forty-fifth over he held a return catch from Tallon. In the next quarter of an hour Freer and the left-hander Tribe put on 42 before Bradman declared, Australia again having made their highest Test total in their own country. The innings lasted eleven hours forty minutes. Twenty-four minutes remained before lunch, and in that time Hutton launched a fierce attack against the bowling of Miller and Freer. Facing a closely set field, Hutton drove with such freedom into the open spaces that he made 37 out of 49 before he unluckily hit his wicket when facing the last ball before lunch. Actually Hutton struck the ball hard, but as the bat swung over his shoulders his glove slipped and he could not retain his grip. To show that their first innings form was all wrong, the principal England batsmen offered stubborn resistance. Edrich batted for the rest of the day and with Compton took part in their side's first Test century stand of the tour.

The last day began with England 247 for three wickets, and Edrich went on to complete his first century against Australia. Altogether he batted five hours ten minutes and hit seven 4's. Meanwhile England lost Hammond, who, mistiming McCool, was caught behind the bowler. Apart from Yardley, Australia encountered little more opposition and the match was all over by 3.15 p.m. Both Tallon and Evans kept wicket magnificently. Evans did not concede a bye in his first Test. The two double centuries by Bradman and Barnes, combined with the masterly slow bowling of Johnson and McCool, earned Australia their victory.

Only once before had England been defeated twice by an innings in successive matches, and that was in 1897-98 when A. E. Stoddart's team toured Australia. The match drew an aggregate attendance of 196,253 people, the receipts amounting to £26,544.

© John Wisden & Co