England start the final day of the Lord’s Test of 1930 with eight wickets standing in their second innings, 211 runs behind Australia’s first innings score of 729 for 6 declared.
Third Man this morning decides to stand in the concourse in front of the Tavern. Ahead of him those of the crowd who have chosen to sit on the grass are just five deep. But it is still a very good crowd for the last day. They are looking forward to what hope will be a famous rearguard action.
These slender hopes are soon dashed when Grimmett quickly removes both Hammond and Hendren.
This brings the captain, Percy Chapman, to the wicket who, deciding attack is the best form of defence, even without a run to his name, hoists up a skier. The crowd hold their breath … but he is dropped to the vocal appreciation of those enjoying an early beer in front of the Tavern.
The pressure on England continues and hope of another spectacular innings from “Smith” is wrecked when Hornibrook has him caught behind for 48 with the score on 147 for 5, still 157 away from making Australia bat again.
Now Allen joins his captain and driving strongly actually reaches his fifty before Chapman. Their all-out attack brings England to 262 for 5 at lunch and briefly restores that fragile belief that the home side can save the match..
But almost immediately play resumes, Allen falls to none other than Grimmett; LBW for 57. Chapman, to the pleasure of the crowd, continues to attack, but can he find willing partners to support his his sterling efforts? He reaches his hundred and continues to plunder runs. Tate provides Grimmett with his 6th wicket. He has taken 6 for over 150 runs in more than 50 overs.
The Australian score is finally reached and every run now counts double. How many do we need? How many minutes of play are left? Can Tate and Robins put them under enough pressure?
Finally, even this captain must fall, caught behind to Fairfax for 121, made in just two and a half hours. Robins keeps up his end but there is a disastrous run out of White and, then, Duckworth, England’s No 11 goes for a … duck.
England are all out 375, setting Australia 72 to win with plenty of time.
Between innings the beer flows on the Tavern concourse from where a spectator, compensating for the Lord’s slope, has to crane his neck up to see the wicket and further up to see the bottom of the new Grandstand and even further up to see the new score board and further still to see Old Father Time looking down with scythe sharpened and flashing in the afternoon sun.
Taking the field for the final time, England mounts a strong counter attack with Robins taking Ponsford cheaply and Tate removing Bradman for 1. Ah! Cricket wins this match as it always does: Bradman, 254 for in the first innings; a single in the second. Old Father Time twists comfortably as the wind changes direction.
Robins has Kippax caught behind and for a moment the crowd sense an upset with that new score board showing 22 for 3.
But this wonderful Test match is already legendry enough and McCabe and Woodfull stand firm under the pressure to see the matter through.
As he walks out by the nursery and through the North Gate to search out his trusty Time Machine, Third Man, picks up the tenor of the cognoscenti. England has made exactly 800 runs in their two innings, but in a four day Test against a side containing a Bradman, this is not enough.