THE COMBINATION CRICKET MATCH.
For the reason, no doubt, that many dis- appointments have ushered in this match, the attendance of spectators at the com- mencement of the play yesterday was more moderate than so important an event as the first contest between the cricketers of the old country and the colonies on level terms was worthy of. When the preparations were undertaken, we think we may safely say that the public of the five colonies looked for a grand display of cricket, something that would live to be talked of for the next 10 or 20 years. But as the day approached, first one difficulty and then another arose to lessen the hopes that had been raised. Some players as they grow in fame seem to develope numerous uncricketerlike qualities. As they mount to the top of their ambition they need to be humoured, coaxed, and petted, like girls at the age when they don't know their minds, and can't be helped to a decision. The defection of Allan was a topic universally commented on, and not one word was anywhere heard in his favour. It has long been known to his friends that a team of oxen won't fetch him on to the ground when he has resolved—no matter how inadequate the reasons—not to play, and that to his philosophic mind the honours to be gained in grand cricket matches are mere "fudge." Now, however, that the public know what has hitherto only been talked of in the inner circle, all associations may con- sider themselves authorised henceforth to leave the bowler of the century out of account, since defeats suffered from the want of his assistance will be preferred to victories won by the agency of his wondrously skilful arm. The people who stayed away yesterday in the belief that an eleven lacking the two bowlers of Australia could originate nothing worth the trouble of a visit to the M.C.C. ground, missed the grandest display of batting by a colonial player which has ever been seen in these colonies. Lilly- white says he has seen as good a display in England (which may well be believed), but never better. Grace himself could not have batted with more resolution and greater brilliance than Bannerman, of Syd- ney, did yesterday, and we don't grudge New South Wales a jot of the honours won for her by her able representative. Bannerman hit with decision, sharpness, and vigour, and ran up the high score of 126 in the short space of three hours. The constancy with which the ball was sent along the turf showed that caution and accuracy were allied to enterprise. Late in the afternoon Shaw had the chance to earn a glorious name, for Bannerman sent a low skimming hit in his direction, but the Notts cricketer, desperate a rush as he made for the ball, only reached it with the tips of his fingers. He says the light spoiled his sight ; the catch was possible, and we should have been very sorry to have seen it offered to so dexterous a fieldsman as Emmet. The score, as will be seen on inspection, wears a very lopsided look. Three-fourths of the runs belong to Bannerman. This is evidence of the excellence of the bowling of the Eng- lishmen, for only the player who got not his eye merely but his whole body in can be said to have felt at home. Horan might have done wonders too had he not been taken in an unlucky moment. As matters stand at present they are far from satisfactory, for though 166 with four wickets to fall is an achievement full of promise, the colonial eleven must make up their minds to have a long day in the field when the turn of the Englishmen comes.
Play was commenced at five minutes past 1 o'clock, but a number of persons were on the ground several hours before that time, misled by the announcement which we were inadvertently led to make through the mis- interpretation of some curiously-written figures in a notice supplied to us on Thurs- day. One o'clock seemed a late hour to begin a game that was to be stopped at 5, especially when half-an-hour had to be deducted for luncheon at 2 o'clock. Practically it left only three hours for play, and the question naturally suggested itself whether life is not too short to permit of such spendthrift waste of an autumn day. Mr. D. Gregory was
elected captain of the Australian eleven. The choice lay between him and Mr. Cooper, and there can hardly be any doubt that the Sydney man was the fittest of all the eleven for the posi- tion. They showed by the appointment they made that no silly rivalry between the colonies was to be allowed to interfere with the prudent conduct of the match. Gregory won the toss from Lillywhite, and of course at once decided that his men should have the first turn at the well-prepared wicket. Lovely weather set in with a cool southerly breeze at midday, and the match began in the pre- sence of about 1,500 spectators. The Eng- lishmen were well received as soon as they ap- peared, and cheers immediately followed for the first two batsmen, Bannerman and Nat. Thompson, who were at their posts before the field had been placed. Shaw began from the east end, with the wind in his face. Selby kept wicket, Emmet was point, Jupp mid-on, and Lillywhite short-leg. Two men —Ulyett and Greenwood—were placed deep in the long-field, for big hits. Bannerman, who was evidently ready to begin as soon as the order for battle was given, cut Shaw for 1. Hill, a fast round-arm bowler, bowled from the opposite end, and Selby, apparently no double of Pooley, prudently shifted from wicketkeeper's place to short-slip, out of the way of the cannonade. No special re- sults, save 2 runs, came of the first three overs, but Hill bowled Thompson clean with the second ball of the fourth over, and the Sydney veteran, a batsman who has been the representative of his colony in in- tercolonial matches since 1857, had to retire (to the disappointment of all who expected a fine innings from him) for the small score of 1. Horan, top scorer in the match played against the Englishmen last Christ- mas, was welcomed with particularly warm cheers. Bannerman, to whom Shaw had been pitching the ball up in a very tempting manner, at last got hold of it, but only loosely, and 1 was the result of a hit to the on. He then put Hill away to leg for 2 in the pretty style which distinguishes his play, and immediately afterwards stole 1 for a hit to mid on, which the fieldsman fumbled. No runs were made off Shaw, but Horan got Hill twice away to leg for 2. The ball was well returned by Greenwood, but he had to run too far each time to be able to save the extra run. Bannerman then drove Shaw forward for 2, and Horan got 4 for a fluke- like cut in the slips. Both batsmen settled down to business in earnest, but Bannerman was the more active of the two. Hill suffered principally, and forward drives for 2 and 3 followed one another at a rate which must have been satisfactory to the friends of the colonial team. From Shaw, who had bowled a succession of maiden overs, Bannerman at last got a cut for 2, and a pretty hit to leg for 2. By this time 30 had been put up. Hill's speedy shots then afforded—first to Horan and then to Ban- nerman—chances to provide work for Greenwood at long-leg. Bannerman got 3 for one hit, where the number should only have been 2, through rashness on the part of Horan, which tempted Hill to try a left- handed shot at the wicket. Of course the ball missed the wicket, and there was no- body to stop it until an extra had been ob- tained for the overthrow. Hill now changed ends, for the accommodation of Shaw, who wanted to bowl with the wind, and Banner- man effected a pretty forward drive off the former for 3. In Shaw's third over from the west end, an unlucky ball bumped out of a heel-mark on to Horan's glove, and thence bounded into the sure hands of Hill at short slip, 2-12-40. D. Gregory, the captain, stepped out to the first ball from Shaw, but the quick fieldsman at long-on only per- mitted him one run. In the next over from the same bowler, an unwise attempt was made to steal a run, on the assumption that Jupp was asleep, and Gregory was run out.
This was the result of the first hour's play. Luncheon, which was to have lasted exactly half-an-hour, spun itself out to 40 minutes. By the time play was resumed the attend- ance had grown to 3,000, and before the day was over the number rose to about 4,500. Only a small proportion of the spectators patronised the grand stand. The gumtrees in Yarra park bore the usual number of black clusters of free onlookers, but the elms which have grown up within the fence have deprived people of the cheap view they used to get from the hill. Bannerman was now joined by B. B. Cooper, the batsman who won for us the match played three years ago against Grace's eleven. Cooper began with a languid cut off Shaw for 1. Some hesitation was shown over a similar cut off Hill, but Jupp aimed badly at the wicketkeeper, and Cooper's life was spared. The stubborn back play of Cooper stood out in marked contrast with the resolute activity and venturesome efforts of Bannerman. Cooper made up his mind more than once to attempt a big hit off Shaw, but prudently shut the steam off at the last moment. Bannerman livened up the game with a neat hit to square- leg for 3 ; had Emmet been two seconds later in his pursuit of the ball, it must have
crossed the path to the pavilion fence. Though the runs now came slowly, in 1's and 2's, the play was far from dull. The spec- tators had frequent opportunities to applaud the smartness of the Englishmen in the re- turns of the ball, and the exploits of such men as Emmett and Ulyett were very pretty to look at. Bannerman lifted Hill to the on for 4, and this brought on Ulyett. Banner- man sent his first ball to leg for 1, but the second bumped and hit Cooper warmly on the hand, and play was suspended until his demand for a glove had been complied with. The last ball of the over was put away to leg for 2. Then ensued some lively perform- ances. Bannerman scored 3's, and Cooper singles. Ulyett bowled very wildly, and usually wound up the over with a full pitcher. Bannerman tried to drive one of them to Richmond, but the ball got jammed under the bat. Cooper lifted one from Shaw over the head of shortleg, and got 4. This brought 70 up. Shortly afterwards Ulyett treated Bannerman to a full pitcher, which threatened to cut his body in two. Hill at mid-on stopped numerous hard hits from Bannerman, who then lifted the ball over the fieldsman's head for 4. Shaw bowled steadily and patiently to Cooper, but the defence was obstinate. This batsman had a hair-breadth escape from a run out. Bannerman then drove Ulyett for 3, and Shaw twice for 4— they were three grand hits—and "100 "was put up amidst much applause. Two changes were now made. Southerton took the ball from Ulyett, who had been very unsteady, and Armitage relieved Shaw. From the underhand slow-bowler, Armitage, some novelties were expected. He has brought no small reputation to Australia, but seems to have thrown his skill overboard on the passage out. Three fieldsmen were placed at the edge of the circle behind tbe bowler. Bannerman drove the first ball in beautiful style along the ground to the chains for 4. The next he put to square-leg for 2, and the fourth, a full pitcher, he met with a vigorous downward stroke, which sent it to the pavilion fence for 4. Ten off the first over was a bad commencement, but Armitage was not disheartened. He changed his tactics, and tried to pitch the ball over Bannerman's head on to the bails, but misjudged the distance, and the umpire pronounced the catcher he gave to the wicketkeeper "a wide". Bannerman then drove him to the off for 4. While this lively sport went on, Cooper had been contented with the maintenance of a stonewall against the assaults of Southerton. Armitage began his third over with a ball over Bannerman's head, which could only have been reached with a clothes prop. The next was put away to long-on for 1. This gave Cooper a chance at the slows. He was favoured with two grubbers of the sort that the Sydney men used to bring round from New South Wales for the matches of 20 years ago. Cooper met them with a horizontal bat, and Armitage, when he had delivered 12 balls for 18 runs, was replaced by his captain. Bannerman, who waited eagerly for the new man, at once proceeded to drive him to the off, but by this time the frequency of his fours had led to the establishment of a fieldsman in the weak place, and the best hits now only yielded singles. Southerton had, therefore, to take the punishment which could not be ad- ministered to Lillywhite, and was smartly hit to long-on for 4. Up to this time Cooper had played the Surrey bowler with a discretion which plainly had a little fear behind it. He had been contented to stop balls which Bannerman met determinedly at the pitch. But Cooper's back play, if not productive of runs, was pretty to look at, and many a ball was arrested within six inches of the wicket. Southerton at last broke through the guard, and the board proclaimed 4-15-118. Of this large number of runs, Bannerman had made no less than 86, and the play had lasted exactly two hours. Midwinter went in next, and the two big batters of the eleven got to- gether. The spectators prepared themselves for a treat, but Midwinter played so crudely at two balls he got from Lillywhite, that his admirers felt relieved when the umpire called "over." Bannerman took another 4 from Southerton, and favoured Shaw with the chance mentioned in the introduction to this narrative. Midwinter had let it be known that he would not attempt any big hits against the wind, but could not resist the first chance he got to lift a ball from Lilly- white to the chains for 4. Banner- man twice took 4 from Southerton. 130 up. He then drove Southerton for 1, which made his individual score 100, and hands were clapped all round the ring. This attention stimulated both batsmen to fresh exertions, and Lillywhite had to turn round to watch the course of a ball sent by Ban- nerman to the chains for 4. Midwinter now thought it time to do something worthy of a giant, and recall people's attention to the events of the Christmas match; so he stepped out to Southerton, and the ball flew swiftly through the air towards the grand- stand. Ulyett, stationed at the very edge of the turf, backed across the path till pulled up by the fence then curved his back into the form of a bow, and stretched up his hands. The ball was taken, and securely held. Had it been six inches higher Midwinter would have saved his life, and the scorers would have written down 5. Ulyett was loudly applauded. 5-5-142. E. Gregory had a short life and a merry one. He pro- fited not by the example of his comrade, Bannerman, who showed that the safe plan was to keep the ball down. Gregory lifted one from Lillywhite to the on, and was cleverly caught out by Greenwood 6-0-143. Blackham was next man. Though the game was prolonged until the score was brought up to 166, it is not necessary to dwell further on the play. The stumps were drawn at 5 o'clock. Both men were not out, and Banner- man's total amounted to 126. To say that this excellent score was obtained by first- class cricket is inadequate praise for a per- formance which those who witnessed it will not forget for many a long day.
Play will be resumed to day at half past 12, stopped at 2 for luncheon, to last half an hour, and then be continued until half
Subjoined is the score:—
Bannerman, 1,1, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 2, 2, 3, 3, 1,1,1,
3, 2, 4,1, 2, 3, 3, 1, 1, 4, 3 ,4, 4, 4, 2, 4, 4, 1, 1,1,1,1, 4,1,1, 4, 4, 4,1,1, 1, 4,1,1, 2,1, 2,
1,3,1, 2,1,1,1, 3, not out .. .. .. .. 126 Thompson, b Hill .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 1 Horan, 2, 2, 4,1, 2,1, c Hill, b Shaw .. .. 12 Gregory, D (capt), run out .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 1 Cooper, 1,1,2,1,2,1,4,1,2, b Southerton .. 15 Midwinter, 4,1, c Ullyett, b Southerton .. .. 5 Gregory, E c Greenwood, b Lillywhite .. .. .. 0 Blackham, 2,1, not out .. .. .. .. .. 3
leg-bye, 1 ; wides, 2 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 3
Six wickets for —... ..166
Umpires—Mr. Curtis Reid and Mr. Terry.