Second Test Match


Geoffrey Wheeler

At Nottingham, August 7, 8, 9, 11, 12. Drawn. Congdon and Hastings restored the tourists' batting pride with a third-wicket stand of 150, the highest between New Zealand batsmen in a Test in England. Edrich and Sharpe both scored centuries as they answered a New Zealand first innings total of 294, with a second-wicket partnership of 246 and England again had much the better of affairs. No definite result was possible because of rain which allowed only twenty minutes play on the Saturday and less than an hour on the final day. The first two days were fine, but the weather broke on the Friday evening when a heavy storm ushered in the football season by flooding Trent Bridge. This was poor reward for the Nottinghamshire club, whose pitch and ground were in impeccable condition. A sizeable Saturday crowd had been forecast; upwards of 10,000 watched play on each of the first two days.

England made one change, omitting Brown so that Snow could partner Ward, making England's new ball pairing one of the most hostile since the heyday of Tyson and Statham. With Turner out of action with a broken finger, Murray opened the New Zealand innings with Dowling. Collinge was preferred to Hadlee as new ball partner for Motz, but the young fast bowler kept his place when Taylor withdrew on the morning of the match.

Dowling won the toss and he and Murray did well to survive the first hour against Snow and Ward, even though the pitch favoured the batsmen. Neither bowler spared himself, Ward looking just the faster. New Zealand scored 47 without loss in the first hour and although both openers were dismissed soon afterwards they had built a platform upon which Congdon and Hastings produced the best New Zealand batting of the series.

Underwood was played comfortably by sound, sensible batting while the third-wicket pair, their ambition never exceeding their capability, took the score to 161 for two by tea. Soon afterwards the previous New Zealand third-wicket record against England--188 by Dempster and Page at Lord's in 1931--was surpassed. Illingworth's search for a wicket even brought Fletcher into the attack for three overs of his seldom-seen leg breaks. When it seemed that Congdon and Dowling would have to be dug out with the new ball Illingworth got rid of them in the space of six deliveries. Both fell trying to cut the off-spinner. Congdon was caught at the wicket for 66 and Sharpe held Hastings at first slip when he had made 83. Always the more aggressive of the pair, Hastings played some fine strokes in the latter part of his innings.

Once this partnership of three hours, twenty minutes had been broken New Zealand collapsed and in the last eighty minutes went from 203 for two to 231 for six as England regained the initiative in dramatic fashion. Next morning Hadlee drove powerfully in a minor rally that took the score to 294.

It was an ordinary total on such an easy-paced pitch, but looked healthier when Boycott was dismissed by the last ball of the morning, failing to score for the third time in his last four Test innings. He missed a hook against Motz and stood dumbfounded as the ball rolled from his body into the stumps. He had to drag himself away from a pitch which promised such bounty for batsmen.

New Zealand's elation at this success was short lived. Sharpe, given a series of long hops and half volleys, struck with rare vigour. He scored 31 from his first 16 balls and hit ten 4's, all to leg, in 50 made in sixty-two minutes. Edrich, content to bide his time while Sharpe made merry, paced himself so well that when Sharpe slowed down, checked by Howarth, he kept up the pressure on the bowlers. When the partnership was worth 150 both had made 73, and then Edrich pulled away to complete his eighth Test century, made out of 201, in three hours, thirty-five minutes. Sharpe, understandably nervous as he neared his maiden Test 100, was stuck at 98 for half an hour, and altogether batted twenty minutes longer than his partner for a century which, like that by Edrich, contained thirteen 4's.

During Saturday's brief period of play the score moved from 227 to 241 without further loss, which left England plenty to do after the weekend. Monday was fine. Although Howarth soon caught and bowled Sharpe for 111, Edrich stayed to see England into the lead and the total past 300, exceeding 150 for the third time in Tests. He was finally dismissed for 155 by Hadlee with a high full toss which just clipped the bails. The fast bowler later yorked Fletcher and caught and bowled d'Oliveira with another full-pitch. Burgess in the gully brought off a remarkable catch to dismiss Knott before Illingworth declared.

Ward and Snow then bowled erratically so that Murray and Dowling made 37 off eight overs before bad light brought play to an early close. It was the forerunner of rain which delayed the start next morning by thirty-five minutes. After half an hour's play in which no wicket fell the rain returned. When the players came out again there were two hours, five minutes, left for New Zealand to face Illingworth and Underwood on a drying pitch. Dowling soon played on to his rival captain but back came the rain and the match was given up.

© John Wisden & Co