First Test match

Australia v England 1884-85

This was the first occasion on which representative teams of England and Australia had met on even terms on the Adelaide Oval, and the contest resulted in an easy victory for Shaw's team by 8 wickets, the Colonists, however, batting one short in their second innings, owing to an accident to Bannerman on the second day of the match. Briggs was far from well, but otherwise there was nothing amiss with any of the Englishmen. On the other hand the Australian captain had to deplore the loss of Spofforth, who was unable to take his place in the team through the death of a relative, and of Midwinter, forbidden to play in consequence of an attack of congestion of the lungs; while Giffen, owing to rheumatism, was almost unfit for cricket. The Colonial eleven therefore played at a considerable disadvantage.

The main features of the match were the splendid batting of McDonnell and Barnes, the fine hitting of Ulyett, and the wonderful defence and patience of Scotton. Palmer for Australia, and Peel and Bates for England, were the most successful bowlers. Both weather and wicket were perfection on the opening day, and play ceased when the Colonials had completed their first innings for 243. On the second day rain caused a stoppage for about 15 minutes just before luncheon, and there was a violent storm of dust and wind about 4.30, but the wicket was still faultless, and Shaw's team scored 233 for the loss of only two wickets. Heavy rain and hail fell on the Sunday afternoon and night and on the third day of the match eight English wickets fell for 136, and four Australian wickets for 152. Heavy rain fell nearly all Monday night, and on the fourth and last day, five Australian wickets realized only 39 runs, and the Englishmen scored 67 for the loss of two wickets.

Murdoch won the toss and sent in Bannerman and McDonnell. Both men batted in characteristic form, for when Bannerman was given out lbw at 33 for a couple of singles his partner had placed 30 to his credit. Murdoch succeeded, but when he had scored 5 he skied a ball to short-leg, which the wicket-keeper secured. Scott filled the vacancy, and with the total at 56 luncheon was taken, McDonnell having then made 47. Upon resuming, both batsmen scored freely, and aided by indifferent fielding, were enabled to take the score to 95 before Scott was clean bowled for 19 after twice escaping being run out. The association of McDonnell and Blackham resulted in the score being exactly doubled, as it was not until 190 was telegraphed thet the former pulled a ball into his wicket. His contribution of 124 was one of the three three-figure scores made against the Englishmen during the tour, and was an exhibition of most brilliant cricket. He gave a chance to Barnes at long-off, and should have been run out later on. When Giffen came in, Blackham did nearly all the scoring, and the excellent total of 224 for 4 wickets was reached. Then an extraordinary collapse took place, and the remaining batsmen were got rid of for an addition of only 19 runs. Blackham was well caught at slip for an invaluable 66; Giffen clean bowled; Bonnor splendidly caught by Read; Palmer secured at point; Alexander smartly run out; and Boyle caught at the wicket. Play then ceased for the day.

Shrewsbury and Scotton began the first innings of Shaw's team at 12.15 on the second day, but when 11 only had been made Shrewsbury pulled a ball on to his wicket before he had scored. But Scotton and Ulyett had a long partnership. Before 20 had been totalled Bannerman had his fore-finger split nearly the whole length in endeavouring to stop a tremendous hit from the Yorkshireman's bat, and was unable to take any further part in the match. A sharp shower stopped play for a quarter of an hour shortly before luncheon, and when the bell rang the Englishmen had made 41. After 40 minutes' interval the game resumed and Ulyett scored rapidly. The 100 went up at 3 o'clock, but with 7 runs added Ulyett was caught at mid-off for a very finely-hit innings of 68, out of a total of 96 added during his stay. This score of 68 hit was considerably the highest hit by the Yorkshireman in the eleven-a-side matches, in which it will be seen Ulyett was at the bottom of the list in the batting summaries. Barnes joined Scotton, and both men played very carefully for a time. At length Barnes began to hit freely, and from this time to the close of the day's play all attempts to part the batsmen were to no avail. At the call of time Scotton had made 71 and Barnes 86, and the total had reached within 10 runs of their opponents score, with 8 wickets still to go down.

Heavy rain had fallen during the interval between cessation of play on the Saturday and its resumption on the Monday, and when Scotton and Barnes went on with the batting at 11.15 on the third day of the match, they found the wicket greatly in favour of the bowlers. Both batsmen, however played admirable cricket, and it was not until the total had been augmented by 49 runs, and the partnership had realized no fewer than 175, that Scotton was stumped for a most patient and valuable innings of 82, out of 282 put on while he was in. Scotton was at the wickets six hours in compiling his score, which was the largest he contributed in the eleven-a-side matches of the tour. Bates was caught at 306 form a tremendous hit to long-on and the remaining wickets were secured without much trouble. Flowers' 15 included a terrifically hit off-drive from Boyle, and the decision of lbw, which sent him back, gave great dissatisfaction to the Englishmen. Read followed, but at 334 lost Barnes - clean bowled with a yorker. Barnes had been at the wickets nearly five hours, and his innings of 134 - the largest scored by any member of the team during the tour - is described as, "a grand exhibition of first-class cricket." Directly Briggs filled the vacancy Read was caught from a no-ball, and luncheon was then taken.

Upon resuming Briggs and Read quickly succumbed, the eighth wicket falling at 349. The last two wickets added 20, and Murdoch's eleven began their second innings 126 to the bad. McDonnell and Blackham commenced, and at 28 a fast yorker sent the latter back. Murdoch was clean bowled, middle stump, at 56, and then McDonnell and Giffen made the stand of the innings. Both batsmen scored at a great pace, and when the total reached 125 an appeal for leg-before to Giffen was answered in his favour. The ball going to leg, McDonnell ran down to Giffen, who would not move, and the former was easily run out for another splendid innings. Scott was lbw at 139, and then Giffen and Cooper played out time, the former having made 43, and the total being 152 for 4 wickets, or 26 runs on.

More heavy rain soaked the wicket on Monday night, and when the Colonials resumed their innings on the Tuesday morning the ball bumped very much, and the innings was quickly finished off for an addition of only 39 runs. Bannerman's finger being too severely damaged to permit his going in again. On Shaw's team commencing the task of making 66 to win, Flowers was out with the score at eight, and Scotton with the total only 14, both falling to splendid catches by Scott. Then, on a rapidly improving wicket, Shrewsbury and Barnes hit off the required runs, and at 1.20 Shaw's team had won the match by 8 wickets.

© John Wisden & Co