1934 revisted: last time England beat Australia at Lord's
Thursday 21 July 2005
So much for superstitions. On the way to the third day of the second Test against Australia in 1934, Hedley Verity's car ran over a black cat. The England bowler found the owner and apologised before continuing to Lord's, where he became the only bowler in Test match history to take 14 wickets in a day. His performance earned England what is still their only Test victory over Australia at the home of cricket since 1896.
The series was the first since the "bodyline" tour of Australia in 1932-33. Tensions were still high: when the Australians arrived they were told not to talk to the press about anything, Bert Oldfield even refusing to tell reporters whether he had been sick when their ship crossed the Bay of Biscay.
England had lost at Trent Bridge, Clarrie Grimmett and Bill O'Reilly spinning Australia to victory with 10 minutes to spare, but were bolstered for the second Test by the return of their captain, Bob Wyatt. Batting first, England scored 440 thanks to centuries by Leslie Ames and Maurice Leyland. By the close of play on the second day (a Saturday), Australia were comfortably placed on 192 for 2, but heavy rain over the weekend helped to turn the match around.
Verity, the greatest slow left-armer of his age, bowled with great accuracy as Australia's last eight wickets fell for 92 runs in just over two hours. He proved just as unplayable when Australia followed on and finished the day with 14 wickets for 80 runs (and 15 wickets in the match) as England won by an innings and 38 runs.
Don Bradman was dismissed by Verity for 36 and 13, but Australia's master batsman was to have the final word. Having scored 304 at Headingley in the drawn Fourth Test (after the third was drawn at Old Trafford), Bradman scored 244 and 77 at The Oval as Australia won by 562 runs to reclaim the Ashes.
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