1962–63 Ashes series
|1962–63 Ashes series|
The Ashes were retained by Australia for the second time since 1958-59.
|Date||5 December 1962 – 18 February 1963|
|Result||Australia and England drew the 5-Test series 1–1|
The 1962–63 Ashes series consisted of five cricket Test matches, each of five days with six hours play each day and eight ball overs, a change as before 1960-61 Australian Test matches had been played over six days. It formed part of the MCC tour of Australia in 1962–63 and the matches outside the Tests were played in the name of the Marylebone Cricket Club. The MCC was determined to "brighten up" cricket, but the series was drawn 1-1 and Australia retained the Ashes. The MCC chose Ted Dexter to captain an England team managed by Bernard Marmaduke Fitzalan-Howard, 16th Duke of Norfolk. The Duke's presence generated considerable press interest, as did the model Mrs Dexter and the Reverend David Sheppard—the future Bishop of Liverpool—who preached in cathedrals across Australia.
Dexter made 481 runs (48.10), more than any other England captain in Australia before or since, and Ken Barrington 582 runs (72.75), the most by an Englishman in Australia since Wally Hammond’s 905 runs (113.12) in 1928-29. The England bowlers Fred Trueman and Brian Statham were one of the most famous new-ball partnerships in cricket history, and with 216 and 229 wickets respectively were poised to overtake the record of 236 Test wickets set by the assistant-manager Alec Bedser. The Australian captain Richie Benaud was another contender with 219 wickets, but it was Statham who broke the record (only to be overtaken by Trueman in New Zealand) and Benaud had to be content with breaking Ray Lindwall's Australian record of 228 Test wickets.
The Australian team had the great opening partnership Bobby Simpson and Bill Lawry who were supported by Peter Burge, Brian Booth, Neil Harvey, Ken Mackay, Norm O'Neill and Barry Shepherd. The left-handed all-rounder Alan Davidson was the best bowler, taking 24 wickets (20.00) in the series and wrecking England chances with his 5/25 in the Third Test. He was supported by the 21-year-old fast bowler Garth McKenzie, who took 20 wickets (30.95), but no other Australian bowler averaged under 40.
The England team and the British press had been scathing about the quality of Australian umpiring in 1958-59, but 1962-63 was free of rancour, which reflected well on the umpires Colin Egar, Ted Wykes, Bill Smyth, Lou Rowan and Alan Mackley. Johnny Moyes wrote that "The demeanour of the umpires has been splendid. They have been, but not too friendly. When they have had to intervene they have done so firmly but not obtrusively. There have been mistakes, of course - there will always be mistakes - but general the standard of umpiring has been very pleasing."
- 1 First Test – Brisbane
- 2 Second Test – Melbourne
- 3 Third Test – Sydney
- 4 Fourth Test – Adelaide
- 5 Fifth Test – Sydney
- 6 1962-63 Test Series Averages
- 7 References
- 8 Bibliography
- 9 Annual reviews
- 10 Further reading
First Test – Brisbane
30 November–5 December 1962
Predictions that the batting would prove superior to the bowling and that the first Test might well be left unfinished were certainly justified; and yet there were three times when one side or the other might have gained a winning advantage ... there was some very brilliant batting, some splendid bowling, and much good fielding and throwing. On the other hand there was rather too much indifferent batting, a surfeit of defensive bowling and tactics, and some deplorable fielding in which the simplest of chances were missed.
Australia had not played a Test series since their tour of England in 1961, 1961-62 being a purely domestic season. Even so, they kept much the same team: Bill Lawry, Bobby Simpson, Norm O'Neill, Neil Harvey (vice-captain), Peter Burge, Brian Booth, Alan Davidson, Ken Mackay, Richie Benaud (captain), Graham McKenzie and Barry Jarman (wicket-keeper). The youthful Graham McKenzie had played in the decisive Second, Third and Fourth Tests in 1961 before being replaced by Ron Gaunt in the Fifth Test, still only 21 the big fast bowler was back in the team for Brisbane. Australia's regular wicket-keeper Wally Grout had had his jaw broken while keeping to Queensland's West Indian fast-bowler Wes Hall in their match against the MCC a week before the Test and was replaced by Barry Jarman of South Australia. The Western Australian captain Barry Shepherd was brought over to replace Booth, but in the end it was decided to use Shepherd as 12th man.
England had Geoff Pullar, David Sheppard, Ted Dexter (captain), Colin Cowdrey (vice-captain), Ken Barrington, Alan Smith (wicket-keeper), Peter Parfitt, Fred Titmus, Barry Knight, Fred Trueman and Brian Statham. Pullar had been brought in as a specialist opener instead of Cowdrey, who had been England's makeshift opener against Pakistan in 1962, but disliked the job and had made three successive ducks in this role so far on the tour. David Allen was dropped to make way for the extra batsman and Ray Illingworth in favour of Fred Titmus, but this was quite normal as these three off-spinners regularly displaced each other depending on current form and favour. Wicket-keeper John Murray was replaced by debutant Alan Smith due to his superior batting on tour, even though he too had been hit on the head by a Wes Hall bouncer the week before. Fast bowlers Len Coldwell and David Larter had been tried out in the Fifth Test against Pakistan at the Oval, but the old firm of Fred Trueman and Brian Statham were back in action, even though Trueman had a broken bone in his back and had been told by an Australian doctor that he would never bowl again.
Both teams had exceptional long batting line-ups, only Barry Jarman, Garth McKenzie, Fred Trueman and Brian Statham had failed to make a first-class hundred and Trueman and Jarman would make their maiden centuries in 1963-64. This was the sixth time the two teams had played at the Gabba, England winning the two Tests played before to the war by 6 wickets (1932-33) and 322 runs (1936-37), and Australia the four Tests since the war by an innings and 332 runs (1946-47), 70 runs (1950-51), an innings and 154 runs (1954-55) and 8 wickets (1958-59), so it was a ground where a result was expected.
Australia - First Innings
When Benaud won the toss on a pitch that looked rather inanimate most of us thought that Australia would probably get about 500 runs against an English attack which for the most part was devoid of fire, venom and guile. Previous matches had shown that the off-spinners might toil and spin but that they could not turn. Knight, always short of a length, should not on a good pitch worry any batsmen of even average class. Statham had seemed rather lethargic: certainly not the Statham of other years ... Thinking over the game later on, one wondered how this bowling on a dead pitch succeeded in dismissing Australia for 404 runs.
The bowling began poorly, but after 20 minutes Fred Trueman (3/76) got the hang of the pitch and made the ball swing away from Bill Lawry, finding a thin edge to Alan Smith for his first catch in Test cricket. Norm O'Neill was a notoriously poor starter and would have rin himself out if Ted Dexter had gathered the ball cleanly. As it was he edged Trueman to David Sheppard at second clip, who missed the catch and Peter Parfitt dropped the rebound for what would have been superlative diving catch had his held on. After cutting the ball for a scorching boundaries, edging another pass fine-leg and glancing another O'Neill was out to a Trueman bouncer which lifted sharply and was caught by Brian Statham at short square-leg for 19. Bobby Simpson made 50, but mis-hooked a rank long hop from Dexter (1/46) into the hands of Trueman at mid-on and Australia went into lunch on 97/3. Back on the field Trueman started bowling short on the leg-stump, dubbed "bodyline" by some journalists, and Peter Burge popped a ball to Dexter at short-leg to give the Yorkshire his third wicket despite his bad back. Australia were now surprisingly 101/4, but Brian Booth (112) rebuilt the innings, adding 39 with Neil Harvey (39), 54 with Alan Davidson (23) and 103 the ever solid Ken Mackay. A rather lifeless Statham (1/75) bowled Harvey with a good ball, but it was the support bowlers Barry Knight, Fred Titmus and Ken Barrington who suffered in the afternoon as the fast bowlers were given a rest. Smith missed a stumping when Booth was 21 and tried to drive Titmus and also hit the spinner to the boundary over the head of a fielder. Davidson heaved Titmus to the fence, but tried the same to Barrington's leg-spin and was caught by Trueman, who had now taken three wickets and held two catches out of six dismissals. The game struggled in the final session, with Dexter setting defensive fields to Titmus and Knight and Mackay hogging the strike without making runs and too slow to take quick singles which would have upset the field-placings. Booth reached his "wristily stylish" maiden Test century in 173 minutes and with 14 fours, an aristocratic innings by the man who had nearly been left carrying the drinks. He was caught by Dexter off Titmus (1/91) at 20 minutes to six trying to push the score in the face of all opposition. His departure at 296/7 brought in captain Richie Benaud, who must have wondered if his team would make 300 earlier in the day, but saw Australia to 321/7 by stumps, with Mackay reaching 51 not out. Trueman was fit to bowl in the morning, but Benaud hooked him for four and with Mackay took 11 runs off an over by Statham. When five overs had gone for 34 runs so Titmus and Knight were brought back on to defensive fields. Benaud made 51 runs before he edged the ball to Smith off Knight at 388/8. Knight (3/65) made two dives across the wicket to take return catches off Mackay, which he dropped and McKenzie, which he held on to. Jarman was caught off the Essex all rounder by Barrington to wrap up the Australian innings for 404 in time for an early lunch, with Mackay left high and dry on 86 not out. It was his own fault as the dour Queenslander had occupied his home ground for a tedious 247 minutes, had refused singles and had allowed Dexter to contain him. Mackay never made a Test century and this was the closest he got to one against England.
England - First Innings
England at this time were said to have a 'Benaud complex', and he certainly bowled his wrist-spin beautifully and with more success than subsequently. But Australia were likewise near to getting a 'Dexter complex'.
England's innings was more solid than Australia's - the first seven batsmen made 21 and three passed 50 - but fell 15 runs short in the first innings. Geoff Pullar (33) and David Sheppard (31) struggled along with Sheppard edging a ball to the ground near Alan Davidson and Pullar caught by Richie Benaud only for Barry Jarman to signal that it wasn't a chance. Benaud had both men floundering at times, but they stuck to their work until Benaud caught Pullar off his own bowling on 62/1 and had Sheppard taken round the corner by Garth McKenzie for 65/2. This brought Ted Dexter and Colin Cowdrey the crease to see out the session. After tea Dexter sent the ball crashing to the boundary ten times as he and his vice-captain added 80 runs in 76 minutes. Cowdrey (21) was willing to watch until he hooked Bobby Simpson straight into the hands of Bill Lawry and at ten to six Dexter's confidence - and the lengthening shadows - got the better of him and he drove over a ball from Benaud and was bowled for 70. Alan Smith joined Ken Barrington as a nightwatchman and they saw the day end on 169/4. Barrington thrashed six boundaries off Benaud and Simpson (1/52) in his first 25 runs the next day, adding 51 with Smith (21), who was caught behind when Garth McKenzie was brought into the attack and made several balls left awkwardly off the pitch. Barrington now reverted to his typical, grinding self, taking 210 minutes over his last 40 runs with Peter Parfitt feeling his way to 80 off 244 minutes. Finally the Surrey batsman lost his concentration and skied Benaud to Peter Burge at mid-off for 78 and was replaced by the equally pedestrian Fred Titmus, who prodded his way to 21 in 104 minutes. The end came suddenly, Titmus and Parfitt were caught off Benaud (6/115), McKenzie (3/78) had Barry Knight out for a duck and Fred Trueman for 19 after he hit a six and 2 fours adding 27 runs in 20 minutes for the last wicket with Brian Statham as 361/6 became 362/9 and 389 all out.
Australia - Second Innings
The pitch itself had become slower and slower. Some observers said that it was useless to bowlers and batsmen alike. That wasn't true, because some of the batsmen showed beyond all doubt that anyone who could really hit the ball could play it away with ease, power, and safety as it rose slowly from the turf.
Fred Trueman (0/59) gave Bobby Simpson and Bill Lawry a torrid time, his first ball to Simpson rolled onto the stumps, but failed to dislodge the bail and they survived the day with 16/0. They moved along to 104 by lunch, but not without a few scares. Brian Statham missed a simple caught and bowled off Simpson and Trueman's strong left arm nearly had Lawry run out while backing up. Simpson had made 109, 66 not out, 28, 122, 130, 9, 110 and 50 so far in the season and looked tired when he edged Ted Dexter (2/78) behind to the vigilant England wicket-keeper Alan Smith for 71 in a stand of 136. Norm O'Neill came in and promptly drove Dexter for 4, then hooked him for another. He took a boundary off Barry Knight and even Lawry joined in the act, hooking Statham to the boundary as they added 80 runs in 79 minutes. Knight was reduced to bowling down the leg-side without a slip and O'Neill hooked to the boundary and smashed him over mid-on, which even brought applause from Dexter. Lawry moved smoothly to 98 then hooked a long hop from Fred Titmus (1/81) into the hands of David Sheppard in the deep. Neil Harvey came out to attack the bowling - he rarely did anything else - and the runs flowed regardless of Dexter's attempts to plug the gaps. O'Neill was out to a beautiful ball from Statham (1/67) that cut back and had him lbw for 56 with 9 fours and Harvey's 57 with 6 fours ended when he tried to hit Dexter out of the ground and was caught by Statham at deep mid-off. Peter Burge (47 not out) had kept Harvey company in a stand of 84, and added 37 runs with Brian Booth (19 not out) in the last half hour and Australia were 362/4, 377 runs ahead by the end of the fourth day. Benaud's decision to not declare and have a bowl that evening was criticised by the press and several theories were advanced as to why. Some thought he was playing mind-games with the English batsmen, giving them an uncertain and nervous night, others that he was afraid of Dexter's batting power. A more likely explanation was that Benaud had suffered a groin strain after his 42 over marathon in the first innings and he didn't want to declare until he knew he would be fit on the last day. In any case after inspecting the wicket with Neil Harvey and bowling a few balls in front of the pavilion he declared ten minutes before play started. England were given 378 runs to win, a total that they have yet to make in a fourth innings against Australia.
England - Second Innings
Geoff Pullar and David Sheppard made a solid start and, at lunch, they were both still there with 86 on the board. We had a discussion and thought we still stood an outside chance of a surprise win. By tea, we had changed our minds because the score had only crept to only 185 and we could hardly expect to make 196 in two hours, even with Ted Dexter still in and looking for runs. At the close Barry Knight and I were still there with 100 needed. Benaud had made it practically impossible for us to win, or for them.
Geoff Pullar (56) and David Sheppard (53) added 114 for the first-wicket in 147 minutes, the first century opening stand for England in Australia since 1946-47. But they batted slowly and the left-handed Lancastrian never settled down properly. He edged a boundary through the slips, nearly chopped McKenzie onto his stumps and was dropped by Jarman. In the end Alan Davidson (3/43) slowed down his pace and had him caught and bowled after lunch. This brought Ted Dexter striding to the crease and he began to thump the ball off the boundary fence to take England to 182/2 by tea. Colin Cowdrey (9) was caught-and-bowled by Benaud (1/71) after the break, but Dexter and Ken Barrington hit 66 runs in 86 minutes to keep the game going. They were both out on 257, Dexter yorked by McKenzie (2/61) after a magnificent 99 - few doubted that he deserved a century - and Barrington caught off Davidson for 23. This ended any chance of England winning the game - they now needed 121 runs in 40 minutes - and the Australian fielders crowded around the wicket, but there was no miracle in store for them either. Peter Parfitt was caught by Jarman off McKenzie, but Fred Titmus and Barry Knight batted out the last half hour and they finished on 278/6.
The opening Test at Brisbane has a history of having important psychological effects on the teams. The four England teams before ours had all lost there. Even Len Hutton's eventually victorious side went down there by an innings. We drew the match and I believe this was the turning point of our tour. Nobody expected us to come out of it with our pride intact.
The game was a draw, the first time that the First Test of an Ashes series had been drawn in Australia since 1881-82. The general opinion was that Benaud should have declared earlier and that had it been any other team he would have done so. In previous Ashes series Down Under the 30 hours play had been over six days, which with a rest day meant a seven-day-old pitch by the end, which usually produced a result. Still Australia (having won the toss) had the better of the draw and had played the more positive cricket. In the England team only Fred Trueman with the ball and Ted Dexter with the bat had shown any aggression.
Second Test – Melbourne
29 December 1962-3 January 1963
The New Year Test at Melbourne is the one that sticks most clearly in my mind, naturally enough since there is nothing to compare with the spectacle of Melbourne when the big crowds come ... There was some fine bowling by Trueman, used in short spurts in the heat, a lovely run out by Harvey in the covers that cut short an auspicious innings by Graveney, some inexpressibly dull batting from Bill Lawry, and a hundred by Brian Booth, that model of a man and of a batsman who tends to be under-rated and forgotten because both he and his cricket were so blamelessly self-effacing. Tall, upright, correct in method, ever-patient, he repeated the hundred he had got at Brisbane, and so gave England a target to go for while all around him were failing. And who could forget the chequered fortunes of Sheppard?
Australia kept an unchanged XI for the Second Test, but England made two changes; Peter Parfitt was replaced by the veteran Tom Graveney who had made 122 not out against South Australia and Barry Knight by Len Coldwell who had taken 6/49 in the MCC's 5-wicket win over Victoria. Parfitt had been in poor form all tour except for the slow 80 he made in the First Test, though being used as a makeshift opener had not helped. Graveney was an old hand who had toured in 1954-55 and 1958-59, while Coldwell was proving to be a better bowler than Knight, whose only advantage was that he was an all-rounder, but in a team that still had eight recognised batsman this was not too much of a loss. Alan Smith was still preferred as wicket-keeper to John Murray, though not so much as to be "the mystery of the tour" as though Murray was the better keeper the difference in ability was minor. Brian Statham (231), Richie Benaud (226) and Fred Trueman (219) were all approaching Alec Bedser's record of 236 Test wickets. Bedser was in Australia as England's assistant-manager, as were the only other bowlers to have taken 200 Test wickets; Clarrie Grimmett (216), whose Test record had been overtaken by Bedser in 1953, and Ray Lindwall (228), who held the Australian record. Richie Benaud won the toss again and had no hesitation in batting first.
Australia - First Innings
I should be inclined to give first place among bowlers on both sides to Trueman. This gallant soul broke through in both innings. Whenever he came into the attack the winds of aggression were blowing at gale force, and he took his wickets by frontal assault in which he attacked the batsmen and defeated them by speed and bowling skill.
Bill Lawry (52) and Bobby Simpson (38) weathered the early storm of Fred Trueman and Brian Statham, edging a few through the slips and Trueman bowling out-swingers which moved just past the edge of the bat. Len Coldwell (2/58) came on the bowl his in-swingers, off which the openers managed to steal a few singles, until he managed to move the ball the other way and caught the edge of Simpson's bat for a catch behind at 62/1. Norm O'Neill came in until lunch when Australia went in on 93/1 off 22 overs in two hours, a total somewhat less than 15 overs an hour promised by Ted Dexter at the start of the tour. After lunch Lawry edged a ball from Statham between the wicket-keeper Alan Smith and Tom Graveney at first slip, the ball cutting back after it hit the turf. O'Neill was caught by Graveney off Statham (1/83), distracted by the loud racing commentary on a radio in the stands, Neil Harvey was bowled by Coldwell for a duck and Lawry by Trueman (3/83) and Australia lost three wickets for 1 run to be left 112/4. The rest of the innings was a grinding match as Dexter rested his fast bowlers and set defensive field until they returned and while all of the remaining Australian batsmen reached double figures none reached 50. Fred Titmus took his new best Test figures of 4/43 as he wheeled his way through the afternoon, trapping Peter Burge lbw for 23 when he swept once too often and having Brian Booth caught by Ken Barrington for 27 trying to repeat a fine glance to leg. Alan Davidson (40) and Ken Mackay (49) added 73 for the eighth-wicket and Mackay and Richie Benaud (36) 52 runs into the next day as they tried to wear down the bowlers. Titmus dismissed them both in the end, Benaud sweeping the ball the Barrington and Mackay lbw after some deliberation by Umpire Smyth. Trueman removed Garth McKenzie (16) after a last-wicket stand of 22 and Australia were all out for 316 with Barry Jarman on 10 not out.
England - First Innings
At around one o'clock one morning I returned to the Windsor Hotel in Melbourne to the staggering sight of Ken Barrington sitting alone in the lounge drinking whisky. The Test match was critically poised and Barrington, invariably an early-to-bed man in a crisis, was a portrait of gloom. He was batting first thing in the morning and couldn't sleep. He returned to bed, tossed and turned for another hour until, in desperation, he committed the capital offence of telephoning the manager's room. The Duke, a chronic insomaniac had a supply of sleeping pills so powerful that the average recipient would remain oblivious to nuclear attack. In the name of England, Barrington was determined to get his hands on them. "Damn you, Barrington" roared the Duke, "I had only just got to sleep myself." Then, relenting, he said "All right, come and get them". In the same moment that Barrington's hand replaced the receiver his head hit the pillow and he fell into exhausted unconsciousness. The Duke waited and waited. He was still awake when dawn exploded into dazzling sunshine and it was time to get up.
Alan Davidson came down from the pavilion end like a man possessed and bowled with great pace, far more than his controlled fast-medium. David Sheppard was caught in front of the wicket lbw for 0, Ted Dexter's off-stump was missed by a coat of varnish and Geoff Pullar was bowled through the gate. Colin Cowdrey came in at 19/2, but with bags of confidence after hitting 307 (with 4 sixes and 29 fours) against South Australia, his highest first-class score and the best by a tourist in Australia. Together Dexter and Cowdrey withstood Davidson's burst of speed, the other bowlers failed to trouble them and by stealing quick ones, twos and threes they rebuilt the innings. Occasionally Dexter would strike out and at the end of a long, hot day he gave Bobby Simpson a catch of Benaud (1/82) and was out for 93, his third missed century in three innings. The stand had made 175 runs and the unluckiest bowler was Norm O'Neill (0/19) who had Cowdrey dropped on 56 and dropped a hard-hit return from Dexter on 89. Cowdrey ended the day on 94 not out with Ken Barrington on 11, England 210/3 - still 106 runs behind - and the game very much in the balance. They returned the next day and Cowdrey made his third and highest century in Australia, having made 102 in Melbourne in 1954-55 and 100 not out in Sydney in 1958-59. The celebrations were short lived when Cowdrey (113) hooked into the hands of Peter Burge off Garth McKenzie, who then had Barrington (35) was lbw to a ball that cut back. Tom Graveney might have given England a real lead, but his was run out by a cracking throw from Neil Harvey for 41 and the last 4 wickets fell for 16 runs as Davidson (6/75) returned the clean up the tail; Fred Titmus caught behind, Fred Trueman skying the ball to O'Neill, Brian Statham having his stumps turned over and Len Coldwell edging to Benaud in the gully. Alan Smith was left 6 not out and England were out for 331, a lead of 15 runs when they had looked set for far more, or far worse.
Australia - Second Innings
The irrepressible Trueman made one skid a little to Simpson, and his appeal for l.b.w. echoed round the ground. The umpire was not of the bowler's opinion. Back went Trueman, and his next ball, a lovely yorker, knocked the middle stump out of the ground. This is always a magnificent sight to the onlooker. The batsman does not see it and he naturally feels less elation.
The pitch looked good - apart from the odd ball it played well throughout the match - and Australia had the simple task of batting England out of the match, then getting them out on a wearing wicket. Bill Lawry and Bobby Simpson hit 30 runs in 34 minutes when the top of the innings crashed. Simpson had his middle stump removed by a Fred Trueman yorker and on the next ball Norm O'Neill was snatched in the slips by Colin Cowdrey after the ball had gone past him. This was not a novel experience, four years before he had been caught by the same fielder, in the same position, off the same bowler, on the same ground for the same first ball duck. Neil Harvey came in for the hat-trick and drove the ball for two, but went for a fourth run and had his wicket thrown down by Geoff Pullar, Peter Burge was bowled by Brian Statham (2/52) and Australia were 69/4 - only 54 runs ahead. Lawry was dropped off a difficult one handed chance to David Sheppard before stumps and Australia came in with 105/4. Lawry (57) and Brian Booth (103) stayed into lunch the next day, the angular Victorian left-hander dominating the strike and made no effort to make runs before his was torpedoed by round-arm Ted Dexter shooter with the last ball of the morning, having made 16 runs in the last two hours. Booth struggled towards his century as Fred Titmus bowled with a leg-side field to cut off his strokes and the off-spinner had Alan Davidson caught by the keeper Alan Smith before Trueman returned with a new-ball spell either side of tea. He removed Richie Benaud, Ken Mackay and Garth McKenzie for 6 runs in 15 balls in what David Sheppard called "the finest sustained and accurate fast bowling I have ever seen". Barry Jarman hung around for Booth to both reach his century and to be caught by Trueman off Statham. Australia were all out for 248, leaving England to make 234 to win in just over a day.
England - Second Innings
Experienced players like Tom Graveney and Brian Statham sat at the radio with me, eager to know what was happening but far too involved in it to be able to bear seeing each ball being bowled. This does not happen very often in my experience, but in this particular Test, the game swung so constantly from one side's favour to the other's that for those of us who were a living part of it, but not actually on the field at the time, the only way to not become over excited was not to look!
Alan Davidson almost had David Sheppard out for a pair in the first over, instead it was Geoff Pullar who was caught in a stunning dive by Barry Jarman off Garth McKenzie's first ball and Ted Dexter came in at 5/1 instead of sending in a nightwatchman. He survived that day and returned with Sheppard needing another 225 runs to win on the fifth day. It rained overnight, but the wicket was well covered and play began on time. Sheppard and Dexter settled down for the long haul and apart from McKenzie making the ball lift in the first few overs they were not troubled. Davidson lost his verve and bowled efficiently rather than dangerously. By lunch the Reverend was outscoring his captain, having made 44 of 90 balls to his 41 off 127. After lunch it was more difficult. Benaud dropped Dexter in the gully on 44 and he reached his fourth 50 of the series. It was Dexter's sixth successive 50 in Tests, equalling Patsy Hendren's England record; having made 85 and 172 against Pakistan and 70, 99, 93 and 52 against Australia, but he was dismissed by Sheppard, who pushed the pull to cover and set off for a run, leaving a hesitant Dexter to be run out by Benaud. Colin Cowdrey came in at 129/2 and took 30 minutes to score, then edging McKenzie (1/58) knee-high to "the Claw" at second slip, only to see it dropped. Sheppard edged a cut from Davidson between Jarman and Simpson at second slip, the keeper leapt at the chance and missed, so spoiling Simpson's line of sight. After this they moved slowly, but surely towards their goal in a stand of 104. Benaud (0/69) lacked control and Sheppard drove him to the boundary to bring up his first century in Australia. Davidson (0/53) was too exhausted to take the new ball, which was given to Ken Mackay (0/34) and in the end it was divine intervention that gave then their third wicket, Sheppard, who had dropped two catches, been dropped on a pair and run out his captain now took a risky single for the winning run and was run out by Bill Lawry for 113. Ken Barrington came in to stand at the bowler's end while Brian Booth gave Cowdrey (52 not out) the winning run.
The presence in the pulpit of David Sheppard, the centurion of Melbourne, has filled the Anglican cathedral of every state capital from Perth to Brisbane.
England won the match by 7 wickets to take a 1-0 lead in Australia for the first time since 1936-37. David Sheppard received great praise for his century, Fred Trueman less so for his 8 wickets, much to his disappointment. Trueman now had 227 Test wickets to equal Richie Benaud behind Brian Statham with 234, only two short of Alec Bedser's Test record of 236.
Third Test – Sydney
11th-15 January 1963
"It's horses for courses, skipper." I told him. "It's madness to go with three pace bowlers on that pitch. One of us has to be dropped if we are to stand a chance of winning. I'm loyal to my country, drop me if you like, you can always put yourself on as a third seamer if need be." Ted discussed the matter with the other selectors and the decision was to ignore my advice, and play Len, Brian and myself. It was a farce. The pitch didn't have a blade of grass on it and I was reduced to bowling off-cutters, but I couldn't pitch them slow enough to have much effect.
Regardless of the advice of his bowlers Ted Dexter preferred to continue with the successful bowling attack from Melbourne, and may have been swayed by the Australians who dropped Peter Burge and Ken Mackay in favour of debutants Barry Shepherd and Colin Guest. Mackay was a loyal - if dour - servant of Australia and a great man in a crisis, but public opinion was vocal against his stonewalling and he and Burge were unfairly blamed for the defeat at Melbourne. The inclusion of the energetic captain of Western Australia pleased the England team, who had tried to play him into the Tests, but kept getting him out. Colin Guest was a fast-medium bowler who was brought into to support Alan Davidson and Garth McKenzie instead of Mackay. That Richie Benaud was content with three pace bowlers and the leg-spin of himself and Bobby Simpson on his home ground signalled that the wicket was not as flat as Trueman thought. Dexter was never a man to favour spinners and was disinclined to include the out-of-form David Allen or Ray Illingworth in the team. John Murray's neatness behind the stumps was finally recognised and he replaced the much criticised Alan Smith as wicket-keeper. Peter Parfitt was back in the England team as Tom Graveney had picked up a viral infection.
England - First Innings
Alan Davidson led their attack in this and other Tests. He had a beautiful action, run-up and delivery and, besides being pretty fast, he made the ball swing into the batsmen very late. Often, our batsmen had to make a hurried stroke against him because they thought it would not swing. Then when they got used to the fact that it did, he would send one down that didn't! But we found that the great thing about Alan was to keep him from getting a wicket in his first four or five overs. If this happened, he was inclined to lose enthusiasm and with it went his fire. Unfortunately for us, this seldom happened.
England batted after Ted Dexter won the toss and he soon came in as David Sheppard edged the ball off Alan Davidson into the hands of Garth McKenzie. He played a subdued innings against Davidson's swing and McKenzie's lift and added 61 in 79 minutes with Geoff Pullar before he was out cutting Richie Benaud to Bill Lawry at short-leg for 32. He was replaced by the in-form Colin Cowdrey who added another 67 with Pullar who constantly looked like getting out, without doing so. He batted over half the day for 53 when he hooked Simpson to Benaud, who took a nice low catch. Ken Barrington and Cowdrey were the most difficult batsmen to dismiss, though Davidson though Dexter was the most difficult to bowl to, and looked set to stay as they took England past 200/3. It was here that the English batting imploded, Cowdrey was caught at the wicket off Simpson for 85, and the part-time spinner had Peter Parfitt was caught by Lawry sitting in his hip-pocket for 0. Benaud now took the overdue new ball and Davidson (4/54) whipped in a couple of in-swingers to trap first Barrington (35) and then John Murray (0) lbw and England were 221/7. The "Fighting Freds" Titmus (32) and Trueman (32) saw out the day with a stand of 35, despite Titmus being dropped by Barry Jarman and by Brian Booth in the deep, which they took to 52 the next morning when Simpson got Trueman and Brian Statham with successive balls, but missed his hat-trick and Titmus saw his stumps sent cartwheeling by Davidson to end the innings on 279. Simpson's 5/57 remained his career best Test bowling and Benaud's 1/60 took him to 228 wickets to match Ray Lindwall's Australian record. Another record was the gate, which on the first day produced £12,534 and 5 shillings. The attendance of 54,476 was a new record for a Friday and second only to the Saturday of the Second Test in 1928-29 when over 58,000 people saw called some bloke called Don Bradman serving drinks as 12th man. Bradman was now one of the selectors, as was the Australian captain Jack Ryder.
Australia - First Innings
Whereas the English faster bowlers could bang nothing out of the pitch Titmus held the attack together in an admirably-sustained spell from the Randwick end, floating the ball away with the help of a long-leg wind and turning it at times almost sharply. Looking back I'll make bold and say that if Allen had had the chance of bowling with Titmus in partnership the result could very well have gone the other way.
Australia's first wicket cost England dearly. After 32 dull minutes Bill Lawry edged a chance off Len Coldwell (1/41) which John Murray took just off the grass in a dive that tore his shoulder ligaments. Lawry was out for 8, but Murray had to be taken off the field for medical treatment and Peter Parfitt took over behind the stumps (both he and Tom Graveney, who he replaced, were reserve wicket-keepers for their county). He did a reasonable job, but took no catches and few Test teams expect to do well in these circumstances. Norm O'Neill had failed in the number three spot so Neil Harvey came in and was missed in the slips by Cowdrey on 2 and lofted a gentle catch off Fred Trueman to David Sheppard at extra-cover on 37. Sheppard "saw it all the way into my hands - and out of them. If ever I have wanted that secret trap-door and underground route to the pavilion it was then", Brian Statham shouted "Bad luck", Trueman's comments are unprintable, but are usually translated as "Pretend it's Sunday Reverend, and keep your hands together", Harvey hit 64 runs out of 160 in 170 minutes with only two boundaries in what Johnny Moyes thought was the worse innings of his career. He was the first victim of the Cockney off-spinner Fred Titmus (7/79) who in eight overs dismissed Harvey, Bobby Simpson, Norm O'Neill and Brian Booth for 5 runs as Australia slumped from 174/1 to 212/5 by the end of the day. "Most males in the Australian population knew how to hit Titmus out of the attack but the selectors kept filling the Australian XI with the minority who did not", his flighty off-spin down the leg-side shackling the batsmen. Harvey was bowled, Simpson was caught off a cut by Ken Barrington for his third Test 90 (and the sixteenth first-class 90 of the season), O'Neill was bowled when he started a drive and changed his mind and Booth prodded one to Trueman at short leg. Barry Jarman came in as a nightwatchman, but was run out for a duck first thing in the morning, overbalancing after pushing the ball to David Sheppard at forward short-leg, who threw down the stumps. Titmus continued his good work, Alan Davidson (15) was caught at short-leg hitting across the line, Richie Benaud (15) was caught and bowled and Garth McKenzie (4) was quickly lbw. Only Barry Shepherd (71 not out) hit out at the bowlers, with 8 fours and a towering six off Titmus, the last scoring stroke of the innings. Brian Statham (1/67) bowled Colin Guest in his only Test innings after a last-wicket stand of 39 and Australia were out for 319, a lead of 40 far behind what was expected or wanted. The wisdom in the press box thought Australia needed to be 150 runs ahead seeing as they would bat last.
England - Second Innings
However, it was a superb spell by Alan Davidson with the new ball in England's second innings that turned a hitherto evenly-poised game towards Australia. 'Davo', with his late swing and cut, was a superb bowler at his best, and this was about it ... Soon after lunch on the fourth day it was over, and England had gone - oh, so mildly.
Alan Davidson (5/25) and Bobby Simpson combined to ruin England's reply. Beginning at medium pace ‘Davo’ was chopped onto the stumps by an awful looking stroke from Geoff Pullar and tormented Ted Dexter, who played and missed his first four balls. Dexter was out, caught in a superb leaping dive by Simpson off the shoulder of his bat and David Sheppard followed a ball and edged it into Simpson's willing hands. Richie Benaud (1/29) brought himself on before tea and Colin Cowdrey became Simpson's third victim to leave England 37/4. Ken Barrington (21) and Peter Parfitt (28) hung until Barrington was bowled by Garth McKenzie (3/26). The England batsmen had now given up making runs and made only 49 from the last 31 overs of the day. Fred Titmus stayed in for 44 minutes for 6 runs until caught by Brian Booth off Norm O'Neill (1/7). John Murray came in with a strapped shoulder and bravely batted out the day to 86/6. He continued the following morning to make 3 not out in 100 minutes with effectively one hand. McKenzie and Davidson sportingly bowled straight to the injured keeper and settled the matter at the other end. McKenzie dismissing Pullar, caught by O'Neill, and Trueman, caught behind by Barry Jarman. Davidson clean bowled Brian Statham and had Len Coldwell lbw and England were out for 104. It was their lowest score at the Sydney Cricket Ground since 1901-02 and gave them a lead of only 64.
Australia - Second Innings
Those who saw it will never forget the sight of thousands of small boys invading the ground when yet another two runs were needed. One youngster managed to get away with a stump, but when he realized the position he restored it, while Simpson waved frantically at the pavilion to have another produced.
There was a 25 minutes delay due to bad light and Fred Trueman (2/20) showed some late fire with the wickets of Bill Lawry and Neil Harvey, but Ted Dexter brought himself on and conceded 27 runs off 26 balls so that the teams would not have to return the next day to finish the game. The last few overs were played in the rain and it rained for most of the fifth day, so England might have drawn the match with a little application. As it was Australia made 67/2 to win by 8 wickets. Bobby Simpson made 34 not out to add to his 91 and 5/57 in the first innings.
There was not one innings that will be remembered in years to come; not even one that left behind pleasant memories after the day was over. This Test will be remembered - if, indeed, it is recalled at all in after years - because the fortunes changed so rapidly and because of the deed of individuals, chiefly the bowlers. Some, but only a few, came out with their reputations enhanced.
Australia won by 8 wickets to even the series 1-1. In the end it was the fast bowlers Davidson and McKenzie who wrecked England's chances, but Dexter's decision to take only one specialist spinner would be long remembered as costing England the Ashes. Fred Titmus (7/79) became the seventh England bowler to take seven wickets in a Test innings in Australia after Tom Richardson (8/94), George Lohmann (8/35 and 8/58), Wilfred Rhodes (7/56 and 8/68), Doug Wright (7/105), Frank Tyson (7/27) and Brian Statham (7/57). A total of 166,626 people came to watch the match, including 20,781 on the last day for a total gate of £39,924 17 shillings.
Fourth Test – Adelaide
25th-30 January 1963
Australia had the ill-luck early in the England first innings to lose Davidson with a thigh strain. Thereafter Benaud seemed, not unnaturally, more interested in saving the game than winning it. England were the thrusters, and if their catching had not continued to let them down Australia might have been out early on the last day, so giving Dexter and company a fair chance of victory against an attack reduced to McKenzie, Mackay and three leg-spinners.
The Adelaide Oval is traditionally a dull, lifeless wicket with bounce so low that even the fastest bowlers rarely rise it above stump height and batsmen found it difficult to get the ball away. On this occasion frequent light rain helped freshen it up slightly for the pacemen and it resolutely refused to turn. England dropped their injured wicket-keeper John Murray and Alan Smith returned to the team. Tom Graveney was well again and replaced the out of form Peter Parfitt and the off-spinner Ray Illingworth was brought in for the fast-medium bowler Len Coldwell. Once again Fred Trueman advised the opposite, he thought an extra seamer would be better at Adelaide, but was ignored; in any case the spinners struggled on a pitch that refused to turn. Typically the selectors chose the out of form Illingworth over David Allen because of his superior batting. Barry Jarman was also dropped as Australia's first choice keeper Wally Grout was fit to play against after breaking his jaw in November and the paceman Colin Guest was dropped in favour of Ken Mackay in what would be his final Test. Richie Benaud now had 228 Test wickets, Fred Trueman 229 and Brian Statham 235, just one behind Alec Bedser's Test record of 236. Richie Benaud won the toss for the third time and chose to bat.
Australia - First Innings
It was Neil's last season and it was a shame that his amazing career should end in an uncharacteristic outburst of bad temper against Ted Dexter. I never did get to the bottom of the row but perhaps it was just because he and Ted were total opposites as people. All I know is that his press comments on Ted lost him a lot of friends. These attacks upset the MCC players more than anything else that happened on that tour, and for Neil to retire from the game on this sour note was disappointing for those who had played with an against him, and for the public who had enjoyed his performances. For all this, you couldn't help admiring some of Neil's knocks, including his sixth Test century against England. He was nearly always exciting to watch because he was the sort of batsman who was supremely capable of winning or saving a match. He was also good to bowl to because he gave you a chance; he played shots and he took risks. And his fielding was quite brilliant; in this series, it was easily the best on either side. He stopped some wonderful shots in the covers and took some terrific catches. It was just sad to see such a talented man consumed by such bitterness.
Fred Trueman opened the bowling and soon had Bill Lawry writhing as he made the ball lift off the rain-freshed wicket, but it was Brian Statham who struck first. He had Bobby Simpson out first ball, caught behind by wicket-keeper Alan Smith for a first ball duck to match Alec Bedser's record of 236 Test wickets. Ted Dexter crowded close fielders round the batsmen as Trueman and Statham continued their attack, but he noticed that their footmarks were indenting the soft pitch and after 45 minutes he replaced Trueman with Ray Illingworth and Statham with Fred Titmus. They failed to turn the ball, it wouldn't turn throughout the match, but the Yorkshireman almost had 3 wickets for 1 run. Lawry was bowled for 10, Illingworth (1/85) coming round the wicket with a straight ball to remove his off-stump. Neil Harvey had just made 231 not out against South Australia, his last innings in the Sheffield Shield, and was full of confidence. On 11 he snicked the ball to slip where Colin Cowdrey dropped a sharp chance and swung the following ball was to square-leg, where David Sheppard dropped an easy chance. On 26 he gave Cowdrey another chance in the slips, the waist-high ball dropped with his left hand off Dexter. Cowdrey finally took a catch to remove Brian Booth (34) off Titmus (2/88) after lunch for 101/3, but England failed to dismiss the out of form Norm O'Neill when he pushed a ball from Titmus close to Dexter's left hand at square-leg. Having survived Harvey and O'Neill set about the English bowling in the most attractive batting of the entire series. They added 194 for the fourth-wicket in 171 minutes and at five runs an over. O'Neill swept Titmus to the boundary, followed by two drives to either side of the wicket, and more from cuts through gully and point. Harvey danced down the wicket to hit Titmus for four three times in an over, and became the fourth batsman to pass 6,000 Test runs after Wally Hammond, Don Bradman and Len Hutton. He drove Illingworth through the covers in the last over before tea to bring up his 21st Test century, his 6th against England. But Dexter kept the suffering spinners on until the new ball arrived after tea. Trueman and Statham were exhausted and made no impression with the new ball, so Dexter bowled himself with Illingworth chipping in with medium-paced seamers from his youth. At the end of the day the tired batsmen gave themselves out to the tired fieldsmen, O'Neill reached his century in 169 minutes, the fastest of the series, with 14 boundaries, but was caught for 100 by Cowdrey off Dexter (3/94). Harvey cut the ball to Cowdrey off the England captain for 154 with 18 boundaries to leave Australia 302/5. Alan Davidson and Barry Shepherd took them to 322/5 overnight, but the England bowlers recovered in the morning and Australia crashed to 393 all out, losing their last 5 wickets for 71 runs. Brian Statham (3/66) had Shepherd caught in the gully by Trueman for his record 237th wicket to become the biggest wicket-taker in Test cricket. Trueman (1/54) had Ken Mackay caught behind by an agile Smith, Richie Benaud was bowled by Dexter, Davidson (46) was bowled by Statham and the unsafe hands of David Sheppard held onto a long, high skier from Garth McKenzie in the deep.
England - First Innings
... in came Freddie Trueman who appeared determined to knock the cover off the ball. He blasted some very quick runs, which included two straight sixes off the mortified Richie Benaud. Freddie can always be counted on to surprise you. After the towering first six, he appealed against the light! Even for fiery Freddie, that was cheek of the highest order. Richie and I both burst out laughing and, needless to say the appeal was not upheld. Test cricket can have its lighter moments. Freddie's response was to crash another giant six about 20 yards deeper, but unfortunately, he tried to do it again and was caught by Benaud off Mackay at extra cover.
England came in to bat in the afternoon and Geoff Pullar didn't play his bat to a Garth McKenzie in-swinger and was clean-bowled for 7. Ken Barrington came in instead of Ted Dexter, who was resting after bowling 23 overs in the Australian innings. Barrington lacked his usual assurance and mishit Alan Davidson three times to the boundary on successive balls before hitting him again with the fourth ball, after which Davidson retired with a torn thigh muscle. David Sheppard (30) was stumped by Wally Grout trying to drive Richie Benaud (1/82), giving the captain his 229th Test wicket to pass Ray Lindwall and become Australia's greatest Test wicket-taker. England reached tea with 87/2, but Barrington (63) was bowled by the first ball from Bobby Simpson (1/40) and McKenzie (5/89) removed Colin Cowdrey caught behind (though he thought that it had hit the grass) and Tom Graveney to Brian Booth at leg-slip. Dexter was now left with Fred Titmus at 165/5, but the England captain fought back by driving Simpson to the fence, lifting him for six twice in an over and reaching his 50 off McKenzie in the last over of the day. There was rain on the rest day and the morning of Australia Day, which earned the South Australian Cricket Association £3,000 in insurance and helped bind the wicket, enabling the fast bowlers to lift the ball, but preventing the pitch from breaking up or taking spin. Play began at 1:45 pm with Titmus unsuccessfully appealing against the light and glancing the ball past the seagulls and bird-fancier Bill Lawry at the cathedral end. They played on in a light drizzle and Titmus hit Benaud and Mackay for fours, but when Dexter tried the same against McKenzie he was caught by leaping wicket-keeper off a rising ball. The wet outfield made the ball damp and heavy, and thus useless to spinners, so McKenzie bowled unchanged from the river end except for one over before taking the new ball. With Davidson still absent Ken Mackay took over from the other end. Ray Illingworth gave Grout his fourth dismissal of the innings, and his third catch off McKenzie and Alan Smith skied Mackay to Lawry to reduce England to 275/8. Fred Trueman joined Fred Titmus and "The Fighting Freds" thumped 52 runs in 37 minutes. Trueman hit Mackay for four, heaved his first ball from Benaud into the stands and appealed for light. When this was turned down he hit Benaud to the leg boundary for four and over long-on for another six, followed by a four off Mackay before the ball flew off the shoulder of his bat to Benaud at mid-on to be out for 38, one short of his highest Test score. Titmus made his first Test 50, but was given the light and the last 45 minutes were lost, three hours in the day. Mackay (3/80) bowled Brian Statham in the second over of the fourth day to have England out for 331, 62 runs behind Australia. Titmus was left on 59 not out to give him an average of 200.00 at the Adelaide Oval.
Australia - Second Innings
Our plan this morning was for O'Neill and I to go for runs, and had we been successful I would have closed. But O'Neill got out. After that I toyed with the idea of closing and giving England five minutes batting before lunch, but decided against it. If we had had Davidson to bowl today it would have made a big difference to the whole outlook.
The out of form Bill Lawry hung on grimly for an hour for 16 runs before he was caught in the slips by Tom Graveney off Fred Trueman, who took advantage of the freshened pitch and hit Bobby Simpson with a nasty rising ball. Neil Harvey cut Brian Statham for four and was caught by Ken Barrington in the gully when he tried it off the next ball. This left Australia 42/2 at lunch, but Simpson and Brian Booth added 86 runs in the afternoon session and opened up after tea. Booth hit Fred Titmus for six and overtook Simpson despite his 75-minute start. Their stand was ended in an eventful over from Ted Dexter (3/65); a diving Barrington missed Booth on the first ball, and the batsmen ran a single; Simpson was caught behind on the second ball, having made 71 in 237 minutes, Norm O'Neill took a single off the third ball and Booth hit a boundary off the fifth ball only to be taken by wicket-keeper Alan Smith for 77 with the last ball of the over. Dexter struck again before stumps, Barry Shepherd spooning a catch to Titmus at wide mid-off and Trueman had Ken Mackay caught at slip by Graveney in his last over with the old ball. O'Neill and Richie Benaud saw out the new ball and Australia finished the day at 225/6, a lead of 287 runs. Trueman and Statham fired down the new ball in the morning, but Titmus dropped Benaud on the first ball of the day. O'Neill was out to Trueman, caught by Cowdrey at slip, and Garth McKenzie became Smith's fifth catch of the match, taken off Statham. Alan Davidson came in for 14 balls before he was bowled by Statham (3/71) and Benaud and Wally Grout added 35 for the last wicket before the captain was caught for 48 by Barrington off Trueman (4/60). Benaud had refused to declare before lunch and make a game of it, but with the Ashes at stake and Davidson unable to bowl he dared not take the risk. As it was Australia made 293, setting England 356 to win in just over four hours.
England - Second Innings
A freak catch by wicketkeeper Grout dismissed Sheppard. McKenzie had bowled the opening over from the river end; then Sheppard played forward to Mackay's first ball and edged it to second slip. There Benaud went into contortions; he knocked the ball forward, knocked it a second time as Simpson, from first slip, poised to spring at it. Simpson then plunged to the ground, out of the way, he thought. Grout sprawled over Simpson and clutched the ball as it fell. A circus performance!
- Tom Goodman
David Sheppard and Ray Illingworth both suffered from throat infections from the previous day and while Sheppard came to play after seeing a doctor, but Illingworth was sent back to the hotel to recover. Even if Dexter had wanted to go for the runs England's dismal start would have curtailed his ambitions. David Sheppard was caught - eventually - by Wally Grout on the first ball of the second over from Ken Mackay (1/13) to give him his 50th Test wicket and Geoff Pullar edged the ball to Simpson in the next over from McKenzie (1/63) to reduce England to 4/2. Ken Barrington and Colin Cowdrey saw the innings safely through the next hour and a half, adding 94 before he was run out by Norm O'Neill for 32. Barrington looked completely assured and began sweeping the Australian spin bowlers as Benaud, Simpson and O'Neill all tried their arm. Dexter was out to one-handed catch by Simpson off Benaud with 100 minutes to go and Ray Illingworth was recalled from the hotel in case he needed to bat, but he was not needed. A ball from McKenzie struck a nerve in Tom Graveney's arm, but after he recovered he settled down to a polished innings to accompany Barrington to his hundred. This was reached with a pull for six off Simpson over long-on, his seventh Test century and his first against Australia. Strangely, the stonewalling Barrington would bring up a Test century four times with a six and he hit another in the same over. Benaud brought in the new ball and gave it to Bill Lawry who nearly knocked Barrington's cap off with a beamer that went for 4 byes followed this with 4 wides, as extras were not counted against the bowler in those days this counted as a maiden. Barrington finished with 2 sixes and 16 fours in his 132 not out and he and Graveney (36 not out) played out the day with an unbeaten partnership of 101 to take England to 223/4.
But the last day was to prove curiously frustrating for a crowd of 22,000. There were some compensating thrills: two remarkable catches; a memorable fielding display by O'Neill; the cheap dismissal of Dexter; a highly competent century by that batting tradesman, Ken Barrington, who reached three figures with a hit for six ...
- Tom Goodman
The Adelaide Oval had produced another draw to leave the series tied on 1-1, but the three hours lost on Australia Day would have probably have given England enough time to make the extra 133 runs required for victory, but it would have been an historic victory if they had. Ted Dexter said afterwards "Australia never had a hope of bowling us out - not on this pitch and with their attack so depleted". This took some of the heat off Richie Benaud whose reputation for "go-ahead", entertaining cricket had taken a severe blow by his refusal to declare on the last morning. The truth was that the Australian bowling attack depended heavily on the injury-prone Alan Davidson and Benaud with the young McKenzie and two batting all rounders in support. Without any turn in the pitch to help Benaud or Simpson Australia were in great trouble. With the retirement of their two premier bowlers Garth McKenzie would have to carry the Australian bowling through the 1960s.
Fifth Test – Sydney
15th-20 February 1963
This deadly dull and absolutely frustrating match left keen cricket followers soured and depressed. A thoroughly bad match unworthy of the occasion, for was it not in effect a "final" to decide the destination of the Ashes? ... This Test was a setback to cricket in Australia. Its lack of sparkle and of the element of combat caused a general revulsion of feeling among cricket followers throughout the country, who were influenced to forget what good points the season had brought forth.
- Tom Goodman
For the first time since 1936-37 the Ashes were in dispute in the final Test of a series in Australia. Unfortunately the Fifth Test was to be played on the lifeless wicket at Sydney, though critics later pointed out that Norm O'Neill was able to play strokes, and that Neil Harvey, Ted Dexter and even Ken Barrington were able to play strokes on similarly lifeless wickets before in the series. Mindful of the Third Test three spinners were selected for the England team for the first time in an Ashes Test; Fred Titmus, Ray Illingworth and David Allen, along with Ken Barrington as a part-time leg-spinner. However, the opener Geoff Pullar was dropped due to an injured knee and Illingworth was brought in as a batsman more than a spinner and he bowled only 15 overs in the match and opened the second innings. Allen was distrusted by Dexter for all that he had been was England's first choice spinner and would take himself to the top of the England bowling averages as a result of this final Test. In any case it appeared that Dexter intended to catch Australia on a spinning wicket, especially if he batted first and caught them on the last day. Richie Benaud was the New South Wales captain and knew the Sydney Cricket Ground better than anyone, but his bowling options were limited. Alan Davidson had recovered from his thigh strain and Garth McKenzie was showing great promise, but the medium-fast seam bowler Neil Hawke was brought in to give them support and rest Davidson. Ken Mackay was dropped in his favour, which weakened the Australian batting, but they still had nine first-class centurions. This left Benaud as Australia's sole specialist spinner, with help from Bobby Simpson and perhaps Norm O'Neill. Peter Burge had made 163, 34 not out, 33 and 54 not out for South Australia in the Sheffield Shield and was brought back into the team at the expense of Barry Shepherd. Dexter won the toss for the second time at Sydney, which hadn't helped him in the Third Test, and decided to bat.
England - First Innings
By taking nine and a half hours to make their 321 on winning the toss England could point to the difficulty of forcing the ball away from so turgid a pitch and so dusty an in-field and finally across a slow, lush, green carpet. Naturally suspicious of player's alibis, I was very much on their side this time - up to a point.
With Geoff Pullar unable to play Colin Cowdrey opened for England again, a role he did not relish and after making two runs he was out, mis-hitting a ball from Alan Davidson to Neil Harvey at backward short-leg, who darted forward to take it at grass height. David Sheppard became Neil Hawke's first Test wicket, catching a full blooded cover drive off his own bowling. This made England 39/2 after 108 minutes and with Ken Barrington entrenched at one end the crowd were looked to Ted Dexter to produce some excitement. The wicket was dead and the sky was clear, so there was no chance of the ball swinging and the famous Sydney Hill was becoming restless, Barrington raising his cap when he was jeered and a slow hand clap started around the ground as Dexter played himself in. This was briefly curtailed when Barrington glanced a full toss from Garth McKenzie for four and Dexter hit three fours off Bobby Simpson. Norm O'Neill caught Barrington on the pads and appealed, but no else joined in and the Englishman stayed put. Australia were running through 14-15 overs an hour, the fastest so far in the series, but with such defensive play the effort was wasted. Dexter was out after lunch edging O'Neill (1/38) to Simpson at first slip for 47 and Tom Graveney almost went the same way to Benaud. At 5:15 pm the batsmen appealed for light, but were turned down and five minutes later he glanced McKenzie (1/57) off his legs, but "Harvey, anticipating, shot out his left hand; he somersaulted and momentarily stood on his head, then he rolled over and sat up, still clutching the ball." Barrington usually woke up when his century was in sight, and a sweep of Simpson was dropped by Brian Booth, but a drive found its way to the boundary and a single brought up his hundred and a surprisingly generous round of applause from the stadium. He drove Benaud straight to Harvey in the covers, who bruised a finger taking his third catch, out for 101 after 320 minutes. Ray Illingworth and Fred Titmus lasted until stumps, with England 195/5 after a full day's play. The second day continued in the same dull way, or perhaps worse as only three boundaries were hit between the two sides. Illingworth (27) and Titmus (34) produced, long, slow innings occasionally interrupted by drizzle before they were both caught by Wally Grout, one off Davidson and the other off Hawke (2/57). Even Fred Trueman played a subdued innings before he was caught by Harvey off Benaud for 30. Alan Smith was bowled by Simpson (1/51) and David Allen and Brian Statham finally livened things up with a last wicket stand of 28 in 35 minutes until Benaud caught Allen off Davidson (3/43). England's 321 had taken them nine and a half hours, an innings more akin to saving a lost cause than trying to win a match.
Australia - First Innings
- Tom Goodman
Australia had less need than England to increase the scoring rate as a draw would save the Ashes, but the burden of batting last meant that they should overhaul England's total by 50 runs because of the danger of being spun out on the last day. Bill Lawry and Bobby Simpson looked keen enough with 28 runs in the first half hour even though Fred Trueman hit Simpson on the shoulder with a beamer. He had Lawry caught behind for 12 and welcomed Brian Booth with a bouncer and a yorker that nearly bowled him, followed by a lbw appeal from Brian Statham. After this it was the turn of the spinners Fred Titmus and David Allen who bowled 90 over between them in the innings at a rate of 16-17 an hour and with great accuracy. Titmus bowled Booth in his second over, appealed for leg before wicket against Norm O'Neill before he had scored and had Simpson caught by Trueman at leg-slip to give him 2/10 off 8 overs and to leave Australia 71/3. Neil Harvey had been lowered down the order because of his bruise finger and Peter Burge came out for a few minutes before play ended at 5:38 pm. In the Sunday press conference Ted Dexter thought that England would have a good chance of winning and that three days would be enough to force a win, a minority view. On the Monday morning O'Neill was full of confidence after his century at Adelaide and refused to be tied town, or to submit to the flat wicket. He struck 6 fours in the morning session, and Burge 3, compared to the miserly 3 boundaries made on Saturday. He cause was helped by England's shoddy fielding, wicket-keeper Alan Smith failed to stump O'Neill off Allen on 70 and dropped Burge off Statham on 63. O'Neill went after lunch, driving Allen into the outstretched hand of Tom Graveney at short mid-on for 73, having added 109 with Burge. This brought Neil Harvey to the crease in his farewell Test on his home ground to great applause and welcomed by the England team, as was Alan Davidson. Rain now interfered with play and there were two 20–25 minutes breaks, which upset his concentration, even so he added 51 with Burge before being caught by the substitute fielder Peter Parfitt off Statham (1/76) for 22, Colin Cowdrey being off the field with an eye infection and Trueman was off with a strained thigh. Dexter (1/24) tried to bowl around the wicket to Davidson, who had tried to have the sightscreen moved over, only to find that it could not go that far to the left, so Dexter went back to bowling over the wicket, but the palaver had unsettled the batsman and he holed out to Allen. Richie Benaud hit a Dexter bouncer to the boundary and dominated the strike for the last two overs to make 13 not out, leaving Burge on 98 and Australia 285/5, still 36 runs behind. Burge took four overs to reach his hundred the next morning, in slower time than Barrington, and was lbw trying to sweep Titmus for 103. Garth McKenzie was caught and bowled by Titmus, but Neil Hawke hung on for an hour adding 44 with Benaud (57) before they were both caught by Graveney to give Titmus 5/103 off 47.2 overs and Allen 2/87 off 43 overs. The Australians were not riled so much by the crowd as the English batsmen had been, partly as O'Neill and Benaud had been making strokes, but also by the interest in seeing whether they could lead in the first innings. This they did, a total of 349 giving a slim lead of 28 runs.
England - Second Innings
Barrington had just missed his second century of the match, and in that he was unlucky, but his innings had been marred because on this last day he had added only 37 runs in 107 minutes. He had batted in all for 263 minutes, and his 94 runs included only two fours; but Benaud’s defensive field-placing had contributed to that…Trueman clouted McKenzie’s first two deliveries high to the fence, missed the third ball and was well caught by Harvey, at mid-off, off the fourth. With the last ball of the last over before lunch, and inevitably his last ball in Test cricket…
- Tom Goodman
England began their second innings after an early lunch taken on the fourth day, David Sheppard and Ray Illingworth making 40, the highest English first-wicket stand since the first Test. Alan Davidson bowled unchanged for two hours, bowling medium-paced cutters off a long run up to waste time. Garth McKenzie bowled one over and Neil Hawke two before they were replaced by Richie Benaud, bowling into a cold breeze which saw most of the crowd depart. Sheppard was dropped by a sleepy McKenzie at fine short-leg, where the excellent Norm O'Neill had just been taken off with another throat infection. Benaud (3/71) took the first three wickets. Illingworth (18) driving the ball to Hawke in the covers, Sheppard (68), lifting the ball to Neil Harvey for his fifth catch of the game and Ted Dexter (6) who was stumped trying to hit his opposite number over the fence. Ken Barrington had played a watchful innings from the other end, adding 97 with Sheppard, and Colin Cowdrey ended the day at 165/3 after four hours, a lead of 137 over Australia with one day's play left. Quick runs were vital for setting up a victory – Dexter had vowed to declare at lunch come what may – and Cowdrey brought up his 50 with two boundaries and a three, but edged the new ball off Davidson to Benaud at second slip after making 53 in a stand of 94. Barrington touched a rising ball from McKenzie to Wally Grout for a 94 that contained only two fours. It was his fourth consecutive Test 50 and he would make 126 and 76 in New Zealand to equal the record of Patsy Hendren made in 1928-29 and Ted Dexter at the beginning of the series. Davidson (3/80) picked up Tom Graveney and Alan Smith and McKenzie (2/39) dismissed Fred Trueman when he hit two fours and gave Harvey his sixth catch of the game with his last ball in Test cricket. Lunch was taken and Dexter declared, England had collapsed from 239/3 to 268/8 and this gave his bowlers four hours to take 10 wickets for 240 runs.
Australia - Second Innings
The crowd booed, barracked and slow-clapped but the Australians refused to try for a result. It was disappointing but, somehow, inevitable. Winning or losing the Ashes was even then such a huge event that no captain wanted to take unnecessary risks.
Richie Benaud may have been prepared to go for the runs, but Fred Trueman (1/6) bowled Bobby Simpson with his fifth ball and Bill Lawry dug himself in to make 18 not out in the two hours between lunch and tea. Neil Harvey came in at number three, but struggled to 28 when he was bowled by well flighted ball from David Allen. Norm O'Neill took 17 minutes to open his score, cut two fours off Ken Barrington and another off Fred Titmus until he tried to force a ball down the off-side and was caught by Alan Smith off Allen, who then bowled Brian Booth with a shooter for a duck and Australia went into tea at 75/4 with Allen on 3/23. During tea Benaud told Lawry and Burge to "stay in" and they needed little encouragement to do so. Lawry dragged out his innings to 45 not out in four hours regardless of cat-calls, hoots, jeers and the rattling of beer-cans. At one point, Lawry hit two fours in succession, prompting the crowd to yell "lightning does strike twice!" Burge at least hit the bad balls and made 52 not out when time was called. They have saved a potential disaster for Australia, but were booed off when they left the field on 152/4 and their actions - as ordered by their captain - won them few friends and was bad for Australian cricket.
If there had been no Ashes and £1,000 a man for winning today's game, I daresay there would have been a result. the fact that these matches are played in a series is a damper. The fact that the Ashes must be fought for is a further damper. I believe that if a series is drawn, then the Ashes should at least go into pawn so that no one holds them.
I am extremely disappointed with the overall picture of Test play, which was not the kind of cricket I want to watch. People who pay to see a Test are entitled to see a real match, not a tactical tie-up. I think it is a fair result that neither England or Australia won the series. I can't get out of my head why Test matches are so different from State matches, where I think England played pretty well. It is all so different from what we visualised. After all this talk of brighter cricket I think we should get back to playing cricket. Perhaps a little more action and less talk.
The Fifth Test was drawn and Australia retained the Ashes by sharing the series 1-1. Both captained were criticised by the press and public for such a dismal ending to the series and the reputations of Richie Benaud and Ted Dexter as attacking captains were badly tarnished. Brian Statham ended the series with a record 242 Test wickets, with Alec Bedser, Fred Trueman and Richie Benaud tied on 236. Statham did not tour New Zealand, but Trueman did and he overtook his new ball partner to become the first man to take 250 Test wickets. Ted Dexter made 481 runs (48.10), the most by an England captain in Australia, beating Archie MacLaren's 412 runs (45.77) made in 1901-02, a total that has yet to be exceeded. Ken Barrington made 582 runs (72.75), the most by an Englishman in Australia since Wally Hammond’s 905 runs (113.12) in 1928-29.
1962-63 Test Series Averages
source This was the last tour to use the old divisions of amateurs and professionals in English cricket so the convention remainded of gentleman amateurs having their initials in front of their surname and professional players with their initials after their name, if used at all. The Australians all remained amateurs until the Packer Revolution, even though they played like professionals.
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- p166, Moyes and Goodman
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- p. 128, Moyes and Goodman
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- p. 117, Moyes and Goodman
- pp. 117-119, Moyes and Goodman
- pp. 142-143, Moyes and Goodman
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- pp. 145-149, Moyes and Goodman
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