Second Test 1934/35

Australia v England

Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney: 4th – 8th January 1935

5000 Sydney-siders turned up to watch the second Test and paid a handsome £201 all up for the gate. Margaret Peden won her second successive toss, and if nerves about batting had entered her head she didn’t show it as the Aussie skipper chose to bat first.

The selectors made two changes to the team which lost the first Test. Injured wicket keeper Hilda Hills was replaced by Rene Shevill, sister of Essie Shevill. Rene’s twin sister Fern Blade was dropped for a different sister, Barbara Peden, younger sibling of the captain. This gave two sets of sisters in a Test match for the first time.

First Test heroine, Essie Shevill, batted patiently for 47 minutes to score a duck. According to England skipper Betty Archdale, “Shevill distinguished herself by taking 47 minutes to make a “duck.” Naturally this amused the crowd, but actually her innings served the very useful purpose of tiring our bowling.”

Shevill’s 47 minute duck was just the sort of thing the team needed. Australia were again struggling at 3/22. Kath Smith batted brightly for 47, including 6 fours, but was the first of Mary Spear’s two victims,Australia now 4/66. Joyce Brewer made a stubborn 34 in nearly two hours, and the tail batted bravely, the Aussies scoring 162. For a short while, this was the highest team total in Test cricket. The spin twins from Victoria, Peggy Antonio and Anne Palmer, put on 33 for the last wicket. Oddly, Margaret Peden chose to bat at number eight. Her sister Barbara, playing in her first Test, made 12. Myrtle Maclagan, again the main destroyer, finished with 4/33 from 33.2 overs.

The consensus from the time puts Peden as the most astute cricket brain in the land, with vice-captain Kathleen Smith not far behind. It then begs the question why the brains trust persisted with pace bowling when the evidence was quite clear that spin was doing the trick? Peden opened with pace, using Nell McLarty and Smith. Admittedly Smith got the first wicket, but not until Maclagan and Snowball had put on 145.

Perhaps one should spend less time musing about bowling changes and spend more applauding the wonderful batting. Betty Snowball’s innings of 71 was splendid, but she was put in the shade by Myrtle Maclagan who scored Test cricket’s first century. Scored in 183 minutes, including 5 boundaries, she was eventually out to Peggy Antonio for 119. She had really put her stamp on this series with both bat and ball, dominating the first Test and here only halfway into the second. Archdale declared at 5/301.

England’s spinners again dominated. Hazel Pritchard had the unfortunate honour of recording the first pair of ducks in Test cricket, surely by now completely bamboozled by Myrtle Maclagan, who started the rot; but it was yet another of England’s battery of slow bowlers causing the main damage. Joy Partridge collected 6/96 as Australia were rolled for 148. Three of those wickets were stumpings to the ever efficient Betty Snowball.

England lost two wickets getting the required 10 runs, but to be fair, Archdale opened the innings with two of the lower order batters; England victors in the second Test by eight wickets.

Peden’s humour was on show despite the loss. “It was an improvement by Australia, for the Brisbane Test was lost by nine wickets.”

Australia 162 (Smith 47, Brewer 34, Maclagan 4-33) and 148 (Shevill 36, Partridge 6-96) lost to England 5 dec. 301 (Maclagan 119, Snowball 71, Smith 3-42) and 2/20 by eight wickets