Fourth Test Match

England v Rest Of The World, 1970

At Leeds. July 30, 31, August 1, 3,4. Rest of the World won by two wickets. There was a tremendous struggle before the Rest of the World clinched the series, their nerveless ninth-wicket pair Procter and the injured Richard steering them home after England had entered the last day slight favourites to win the match.

Needing 223 to win in the fourth innings on a pitch playing well, Sobers' side collapsed to 62 for five before recovering, thanks to a stand of 115 between the captain and Intikhab. The turning point came when Greig at second slip dropped Intikhab off Snow with the score at 82. Had that chance been accepted soon after the last day's play began the teams could well have gone to The Oval all square.

England were always striving to get on terms after a poor first-innings total of 222. Barlow was the cause with a remarkable burst of four wickets in five balls; he equalled the feat of K. 3. C. Allom in the Christchurch Test in New Zealand in 1929-30. Barlow, who performed the first hat-trick in Test cricket since Gibbs achieved one for West Indies against Australia in Adelaide in 1960-61, confessed afterwards that not only was this the first of his career, but was in fact the first he had seen.

Sobers, whose team were handicapped by injuries to Richards and Kanhai on the first day, put England in on a slow-drying pitch, but this gamble was only just rewarded. England brought in three Yorkshiremen, Boycott, Wilson and Old, the last named for his first Test at the age of 21. Edrich, Brown and Underwood were omitted. The World XI showed one change, their batting being further strengehtned as Peter Pollock gave way to Mushtaq Muhammad.

In the England first innings only Luckhnrst, Fletcher and Illingworth scored more than 20. The position might have been worse had Sobers been properly rewarded for some magnificent bowling, but his luck was right out. Fletcher and Illingworth put on 116 for the fifth wicket to retrieve a poor start and the score reached 209 for four before a total disintegration against Barlow. Once he had broken through with the new ball he proved irresistible in a spell of five for 16. After dismissing Fletcher, whose 89 in three and a half hours included twelve 4's, Barlow sent back in successive deliveries Knott, Old and Wilson, the first two bowled and Wilson caught off bat and pad by Denness, the England twelfth man who was fielding as one of ten substitutes. Richards had damaged back muscles catching d'Oliveira and Kanhai was nursing a severely bruised hand, the result of intercepting a fierce hit from Fletcher.

The Rest of the World owed their first-innings advantage of 154 mainly to two men. Murray showed high application as a makeshift opener to score 95 and Sobers rallied his faltering side with another splendid century, his twenty-third in Tests--only Bradman has made more.

Greig produced the occasional disconcerting delivery and look three of the first four wickets. Murray batted nearly five hours and when he was fifth out only three runs were needed for the lead, Sobers ensured that a sizeable one was obtained with a knock of 114, lasting four and a half hours. When he was dismissed, swinging wildly at Snow, Sobers declared the innings to save Richards having to bat, although Kanhai had contributed 26 virtually one-handed.

As usual England came back strongly in the second innings. They were given a fine start by Boycott and Lurkhurst who made 104 for the first wicket, a partnership dominated by the Yorkshireman, who timed his strokes perfectly. Cowdrey failed a second time, hut Luckhurst and Fletcher then took England in front before Lurkhurst's typically dogged effort was terminated by Barlow just before the close of play on Saturday. Barlow had a hand in the first five wickets to fall and he finished with twelve for 142.

On Monday, England wickets fell steadily and only a ninth-wicket stand of 60 between Illingworth and Old enabled a reasonable target to be set. The fast bowler made an extremely fortunate but highly valuable 37, seeing his captain to yet another fifty.

The evening's cricket bordered on the sensational as the England bowlers struck hack with a vengeance. Snow, at a fiery pare, removed the openers and Pollock, and Illingworth accounted for Lloyd and Mushtaq who suddenly abandoned a defensive rule and fell to a wild sweep.

Al the end of the fourth day the score was 75 for five; the Rest still needed 148 and Kanhai and Richards were injured. Batting was easier in the clearer light of the fifth morning. After Intikhab's escape at the hands of Greig he and Sobers slowly swung the game round. Illingworth switched his bowlers unavailingly and no wicket fell for two and a quarter hours. Then Snow produced a fine ball, causing Sobers to he caught at slip by Cowdrey. Intikhab, tempted by Wilson's flight, hit the last ball before lunch straight to d'Oliveira at long-off. Immediately after the interval Kanhai was out trying to cut Illingworth. At 183 for eight Richards and Procter were together with 40 needed and the new ball in the offing.

Richards, who had been off the field since the previous Thursday, survived an appeal for a close catch off bat and pad when facing Wilson. The new ball was taken at 201 but the England bowlers could do no more and with ice-cool batting the two young Springboks settled the match and the series.

© John Wisden & Co