Manchester lived up to its stormy reputation on Saturday when there was only 45 minutesâ€™ play in the fourth Test match between England and Australia. So, as at Leeds, the weather helped the Australians to spend the weekend in reprieve, and now again the time factor looms into the reckoning. There are, however, two essential differences between Headingley and Old Trafford. England have now already got 12 Australian wickets, rather than six (the obdurate Burke was caught off Laker on Saturday afternoon), and the follow-on is not this time a matter of concern. What makes the matches so similar is the timing of the rain and the state of the two pitches at the end of each second day. The ball was turning from crumbling turf and they had worked themselves into such a state of mind that prolonged rain seemed to be their only chance of surviving for more than a few hours. On Saturday the rain when it came gave everyone an opportunity to hold court on the present series with particular reference to the pitches. Mostly of course the talk was of Old Trafford, where Australia, to their ignominy, had been bowled out for 84. That is a total which suggests that batting was impossible, and this was not the case as a closer look at the thing will show.
Third Day 28 July 1956
Published on Jun 6, 2012