If yesterday’s On This Day reflected a truly awful day at the WACA, then today’s version is much more upbeat. We journey back 30 years to the “Can’t Bat, Can’t Bowl, Can’t Field” tour, and Day 2 at the Perth cauldron. England had had a magnificent Day 1 to reinforce their 1-0 lead in the series. Resuming at 272/2, with Broad Senior on 146 and Mike Gatting on 11, England looked poised for a mammoth score. But not all went according to plan early on. Gatting went with three runs added to his and the start of play score, and although Gower and Broad put on a 58 run stand for the 4th wicket, both Broad (164) and then Ian Botham (0) went in quick succession.
Enter Clifton James Richards, Surrey legend, and second test cap man. This was to be his day, as he and David Gower took the Aussies apart on a sound batting deck. The partnership was to tally 207 runs, when Gower was dismissed for another brilliant century (136), and Jack Richards was the last man out for 133, as England declared on 592/8. England then had time to bowl a few overs at the home side, and Dilley sorted out David Boon for 2, to leave them 19/1.
The match would subsequently be drawn, as Australia passed the follow-on score, England batted quite curiously on Day 4, and never looked like having enough time to bowl the hosts out on Day 5.
The Almanack reports on Day 2 as follows:
Australia lost their faint chance of recovering lost ground on the second morning when, shortly after Gatting had cut C. D. Matthews to gully, Broad was dropped by Ritchie at third slip in Lawson’s best spell of the innings. Broad added only 15 more before Reid had him caught at the wicket, his innings having spanned 435 minutes and included 25 fours; but by then Gower, given the easiest of starts by C. D. Matthews with two loose balls on his legs, was in full stride with 35, pulling and off-driving with severity and perfect timing. After Botham, pushing on the off-side, had been caught off Reid at second slip, Richards in his second Test played with the such assurance that Gower was content to let him dominate a sixth-wicket stand of 207, during which Richards became the first Surrey player since J. H. Edrich to make a hundred for England in a Test. They had been together 212 minutes when Gower (277 minutes, nineteen fours) was caught at cover after completing his sixth hundred against Australia and his second at Perth. Half an hour later, with a declaration imminent, Richards (sixteen fours) was caught at mid-off, 2 runs short of the highest score by an England wicket-keeper against Australia – A. P. E. Knott’s 135 at Trent Bridge in 1977. Australia’s attack, with the exception of Reid, was short of both accuracy and penetration, Richards relishing especially the off-spin of G. R. J. Matthews in a four-hour innings well attuned to England’s aims.
They were fun days…. Tomorrow we go back into time. A fair old way back, but a very significant one.
All the above and more can be found here..