Second Test Match

England v Australia

Leslie Smith

At Lord's, June 18, 19, 20, 22, 23. Drawn. As at Trent Bridge, roughly half the game was lost because of the weather and although at one stage there seemed a slight chance of a definite result, the rain finally won. Not a ball could be bowled on either the first or second days and it ended the match just before 2.30 p.m. on the fifth day.

In addition ten minutes were lost on the third afternoon. Despite this the takings for the match reached £54,516 of which £45,000 was taken in advanced booking. On each of the two days full play was possible the attendances were approximately 29,000. The paying attendance was given as 93,032 which meant a total, including members, of just over 100,000, although many of them did not attend because of the rain.

England made three changes compared with the side at Nottingham, Edrich, Parfitt and Gifford replacing the injured Boycott, Allen and Flavell. Originally it was announced that Sharpe would be twelfth man, but after the rain the selectors changed their minds and eventually omitted Flavell. Australia were unchanged.

Although no rain fell on the second day, the pitch received such a drenching on Thursday that play was impossible. The faulty drainage and the absence of sun and wind proved big handicaps. A final decision to call off play was not made until well after tea.

Cricket began on time on Saturday when Dexter won the toss and put Australia in to bat. They struggled all day and were dismissed for 176, England replying with 26 for one.

The pitch was never really difficult, but the faster bowlers were able to get some movement through the air and off the ground and the batsmen were never in command. Redpath and O'Neill looked like making a stand for the second wicket, but Dexter, who had taken only two wickets at that stage of the season, had O'Neill caught at long leg off a long hop and followed by dismissing Burge.

The only reasonable innings came from Veivers, who batted two and a half hours for his first Test fifty and showed that conditions were not as bad as some of the other batsmen suggested. Trueman bowled with much more control than at Nottingham and, although below his former pace, he was never mastered. He took five for 48.

With Boycott unfit, Dexter offered to go in first as a temporary measure in this match, but the move failed. He was yorked second ball. The fourth day belonged to Edrich, who had the satisfaction of scoring his first Test century, completing it shortly after The Queen and Prince Philip arrived just before tea. The players were presented to The Queen during the interval.

Without Edrich, England would have been in serious trouble for only two other men reached 20, the best being 35. Cowdrey and Barrington fell early and England were 42 for three. Parfitt, who held two magnificent catches in the Australian innings, helped Edrich add 41 and Sharpe, who hit seven 4's in 35, shared a stand of 55.

Edrich received more useful support from Titmus during a seventh-wicket partnership of 57. Eventually eighth out, Edrich batted just over six and a quarter hours and his 120 included two 6's off Simpson and nine 4's. The crowd gave him a standing ovation. England went ahead with four wickets left and gained a lead of 70.

Australia lost Lawry while scoring 49 overnight and when their fourth wicket fell at 148 with nearly four hours left they were in some danger, especially with the spinners getting a little help from the pitch.

Dexter surprisingly kept Trueman on for sixty-five minutes at one end and Coldwell for one hundred minutes at the other despite the fact that conditions were against fast bowling. When he eventually turned to spin the Australians were worried. The figures of Gifford and Titmus showed the extent. Gifford, slow left-arm, did reasonably well on his Test debut, although his habit of bowling from wide out, cost him a few no-balls for stepping outside the crease.

Burge hit forcefully for 59 in an hour and forty minutes, once, lifting Coldwell over long on for 6, but Redpath scarcely made an aggressive stroke. He stayed three and a quarter hours for 36 and did not add a run during his last fifty-three minutes.

The rain returned shortly after lunch and although it stopped late in the day bad light prevented a resumption, the game finally being called off at 5.20 p.m.

© John Wisden & Co