If Bradman was looking for some respite, it was not coming too soon. Hammond settled in at the Sydney Cricket Ground and by stumps the score read 279 for three, Hammond batting on 167. He piled on the misery, completing his double century, and was sailing at 231 not out when the weather intervened. Play was called off with England on 426 for six. To take advantage of the wet conditions, Allen declared first thing in the morning.
Australia were in a fix; Voce was devastating. He had Leo O’Brien caught by James Sims for a blob. Bradman came in and off the first ball he was snapped up by Allen, a second successive duck for the beleaguered Australian captain. McCabe’s stay was two balls, Sims taking another catch. Voce had grabbed all three wickets with a solitary run showing up on the board. It was not long before the scoreboard read a dismal 31 for seven. O’Reilly made some belligerent strikes, crashing 3 sixes and 2 fours in his 44-ball unbeaten 37, but Australia were skittled out for under a hundred in successive innings. This time they managed 80 in 23.7 overs, each over comprising eight balls now.
Following on, Australia fared significantly better. O’Brien hung on for a while, and then Bradman allied with Fingleton. They carried Australia to 145 for one at stumps, both having completed half-centuries. Fingleton was bowled by Sims for 73, the partnership worth 124. Just when it seemed that Bradman would take the fight into England’s camp in the company of McCabe, Verity castled him. Bradman’s 82 came off 140 balls with 6 fours. McCabe played a fine hand in adversity. He was unlucky to miss a hundred, trapped leg-before by Voce for 93. Australia lost by an innings and 22 runs, and Bradman faced an uphill task, trailing 0-2 in the series.
(Author Indra Vikram Singh can be contacted on email email@example.com).
Don’s Century’, published by Sporting Links, ISBN 978-81-901668-5-0.
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