Third Test Match

England v Australia

Norman Preston

At Leeds, July 2, 3, 4, 6. Australia won by seven wickets with more than a day to spare. At last the weather was fine throughout and Australia, despite a period of tremendous anxiety, finished easy winners of a contest which will always be known as Burge's Match.

Fierce controversy raged for several days because many people considered that England lost their chance just after five o'clock on Friday when Titmus was bowling superbly and seven Australian wickets were down for 187. Dexter took the second new ball and relied on Trueman and Flavell to demolish the tail.

At that stage, Burge was 38, but Trueman fed him with a generous supply of medium pace long hops and not only did Burge finish with 160, but the last three wickets put on 211 runs thanks to the help he received from Hawke and Grout. So Australia gained a valuable lead of 121 and they never looked back.

Just before the match began, Cowdrey (England) and O'Neill (Australia), had to stand down through began unfit and during the contest England suffered, three more casualties.

Taylor, who replaced Cowdrey, received two blows on the right hand while batting on the first day which chipped a bone; Parfitt cracked a bone in his left hand while fending off a bouncer in the England second innings and Flavell went lame with a sore achilles tendon and could not bowl in Australia's second innings.

Perhaps the Australians drew inspiration from the presence of their Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies whose visit to England was primarily for the Primer Ministers' Conference the following week. The honours went to Australia on the opening day after Dexter had won the toss for the third successive time. Prospects seemed bright for England when before lunch they scored 112 from 38 overs for the loss of their opening pair, Boycott and Edrich.

Here is an opportunity to pay tribute to the fine work achieved by the new regime at Headingley. Alfred Rutherford, the Leeds club manager who came from the Scarborough club, has greatly improved the amenities and general appearance of the ground and George Cawthray, the new groundsman from Hull, has restored the pitch and outfield to the standards of thirty years back when Donald Bradman hit is treble centuries.

For the first time in a Test the teams were housed in the new pavilion, square to the pitch, where on the ground floor Yorkshire C.C.C. have their secretariat and general offices which used to be in the centre of Leeds.

Dexter set England a splendid example by his daring stroke play, but Simpson handled his attack astutely and the fielding reached the highest Australian standards. Eight catches -- some quite brilliant -- were held and none were missed. The bowling honours went to Hawke and McKenzie who attained steady pace and accuracy and were never found wanting in stamina.

Australia achieved their most deadly work in the seventy minutes after lunch when they disposed of Dexter, Barrington and Taylor. Hawke's round-the-wicket attack perplexed several batsmen, an exception being Parks who never looked in difficulty and drove especially well, but after tea Hawke ran through the tail with the new ball, taking four wickets for 30 in 13.3 overs.

Australia were left to bat for ten minutes, but no sooner had Simpson and Lawry reached the crease than the umpires upheld their appeal for bad light.

Next day, Trueman and Flavell were unable to make any impression and with Simpson and Lawry giving Australia their best start so far with a stand of 50 it seemed almost certain that the England total of 268 would be passed without much difficulty.

Timid batsmanship by Redpath led Australia into trouble and although the pitch did not encourage spin at this stage Titmus and Gifford managed to gain control. Titmus proved such a model of accuracy that he bowled from 1.20 p.m. until 5.50 p.m., his figures being 29-17-27-3 and while he operated Australia's fortunes swayed from a total of 95 for one to 187 for seven.

Lawry served Australia splendidly for three hours. He hit ten 4's before Redpath called him for a sharp single and Boycott returned the ball in a flash from third man to the bowler's end. It was on Lawry's departure that Burge began his valuable display. At this stage Titmus's figures were 10-8-3-0. Australia had mustered only four runs in half an hour and Redpath had been batting for two hours, ten minutes when he hit his second boundary only for Gifford to knock back his middle stump in the same over.

Even Burge needed twenty minutes to open his score. Burge broke free with a powerful straight drive at the end of an hour's spell by Gifford during which he conceded only 16 runs in eleven overs. Booth, Cowper (in his first Test) Veivers and McKenzie all failed and so at 187 when Burge had made only 38, Trueman took the new ball in the 89th over.

Australia were on their knees, but in the next seven overs from Trueman and Flavell, Burge and Hawke helped themselves to 42 runs and they proceeded to add 105 for the eighth wicket in ninety-nine minutes of which Hawke made 37. So at the end of the second day, Australia's total reached 283 for eight with Burge 100 not out. He reached three figures out of 159 in just over three hours, having excelled with the cut hook and drive.

Grout is no stranger to helping Australia through a crisis and accompanying Burge to the crease on Saturday morning he promptly showed Trueman that he could punish the long hop as effectively as his partner. Three of these he despatched to the boundary when Trueman's first two overs of the day cost 14. The Burge-Grout partnership produced 89 and England needed a third new ball before a very fine catch by A. Rees (Glamorgan) at mid-wicket ended Burge's great innings.

Burge, whose display was reminiscent of S.J. McCabe's 232 at Trent Bridge in 1938, batted five and a quarter hours and hit twenty-four 4's. The whole innings lasted eight hours, ten minutes.

Little went right for England in their second innings. Boycott for the third time in his three Test knocks was caught by Simpson at first slip (a very fine catch) off Corling. Parfitt came next and off the very first ball had a knuckle broken whereupon Edrich and Barrington battled bravely until tea when England were 88 for one. A careless stroke to the very first ball after the interval resulted in Edrich being taken on the leg side but Barrington carried on with commendable enterprise.

Dexter, strangely subdued, contributed only 17 in seventy-five minutes and on his departure Barrington, too, decided to concentrate solely on defence. After an appeal against the light was turned down, Barrington, with six minutes to go, was leg-before and so England finished with a total of 157 for four--36 runs ahead.

England had plenty of time during the week-end to dwell on where they went wrong and plan a recovery. It was reckoned they needed to set Australia about 200 in the fourth innings, but they added no more than 72 more runs on Monday so that Australia had to make only 109 for victory. They owed much to McKenzie had never bowled better in this country.

In the absence of Flavell, Titmus shared the new ball with Trueman and Glamorgan supplied two substitute fielders in A. Rees and A. Jones.

Lawry soon went, but time was on Australia's side and they had no need to hurry. Apart from a break of two overs which allowed him to switch ends, Titmus bowled through the innings of two and a half hours and at tea when Australia wanted only 18 his figures read: 24-18-12-2. Redpath, almost passive at one period, batted well for his side and he settled the issue with his tenth four, having completed his first Test fifty in England.

© John Wisden & Co