England v Australia
North Marine Road, Scarborough: 29th June – 2nd July 1963
“Where are you?” – Australian fielder, Liz Amos
At the historic Scarborough Ground, the second Test was marred by weather. Not rain, not bad light, but mist. The players had a difficult time with visibility, with the hare like Liz Amos at one stage trying to return the ball to the wicket keeper, but unable to see where to throw.
“Poor Lizzie couldn’t see where to throw, and all you could see of her was her socks!” – Muriel Picton
The match was also marked by the outstanding sportsmanship of England captain, Mary Duggan, who, at the closing stages of the match could have easily pulled her team off the field when Australia was in sight of victory, but chose not to. Vice-captain Muriel Picton was adamant that the England captain displayed impeccable adherence to cricket’s values.
“Mary Duggan showed a lot of sportsmanship by having her team out there playing. It would have been in her rights to have called it off earlier.” – Muriel Picton
It had been raining just prior to the Test and it was thought the first day might be washed out, and indeed play was delayed, but at 2.00pm Duggan won the toss and batted, top scoring with 44 in the mist, in a team total of 167. It had been tough going, with tight bowling and good field placement by the Australian captain. Miriam Knee again proved to be the most difficult customer and picked up 5-35 from 27 overs, including the wicket of Heyhoe, again. Helen Lee took 3-24 from 19 overs.
If ever an Australian captain needed to get the team off to a good start, this was it and it was rough going on a lively wicket as Mary Allitt and Lynn Denholm commenced the innings early on day two. After struggling early, Denholm fell LBW to Dorothy Macfarlane when the score was 13. A mere six runs later and Jan Wady fell for 2 in exactly the same way. More trouble when Buck went for 11, Amos 10 and Wilson for just 2. At 5/51, the skipper was playing a lone hand, but she was joined by the allrounder, Miriam Knee.
“Allitt, an occasional cut through slips, seemed strokeless — no back lift, no follow through and seemingly no footwork. Except for a few nibbles outside the off peg, her batting consists of leaning forward from the hips and dragging her bat forward to meet the ball, but meet it it did for 282 minutes!” – WCA Magazine Vol 28 #6
While Allitt played the sheet anchor role, much to the chagrin of the English, it was Miriam Knee who wrested things back in Australia’s favour. She batted cautiously at first, but cashed in hard on anything loose and then plundered her way to 82 before being run out when the score was 176. Not only had Knee helped rescue the innings, with her captain she put the team ahead of the England score. The partnership was worth 125 runs and was at the time a sixth wicket partnership record for Australia.
Allitt continued on while England fumbled in the field. Dropped catches and missed runouts were fielding lapses that England could ill afford. Allitt eventually fell for 76 while the tail of Thompson, Picton and Lee made merry as Australia ended with 276 and a sizable lead of 107 runs with a day to play. With Knee and the tail, Allitt had guided her team to the ascendancy.
The third day began with… more mist. England eventually had to face the music after play got underway at 1.15pm and Lorraine Kutcher broke through twice to dismiss Driscoll and Macfarlane, while Miriam Knee, having an outstanding allrounder’s match accounted for Cecilia Robinson. If England were wobbling at 3/27 it wasn’t much better at 4/52, but the ever steely blade of Rachael Heyhoe steadied the ship momentarily but she too went after a dogged stay for 26 runs, a surprise victim to part timer Hazel Buck. Jackie Elledge came in and hit a Buck full toss straight to Pat Thomson at square leg and England were in disarray at 6/79.
Light and mist, mist and light. Both caused stoppages in play. Australia were desperate to clean up the tail, with all the big guns having come and gone. England hung on for grim death as both batters and fielders struggled to see in the unusual conditions. Knee ended up with 3-22 from 29 overs and if anyone could feel aggrieved at England staving off victory at 9/93 it might be Knee herself. But it isn’t the case, Miriam applauding the fact that England captain Mary Duggan allowed play to continue in the conditions.
“You couldn’t see!” – Miriam Knee
Knee could see. They didn’t have Player of the Match back then, but top scoring in the match with 82 and taking eight wickets one doubts that Miriam had too much trouble with the mist. The captain, Mary Allitt had also shown the Test match form that had previously eluded her.
England 167 (Duggan 44, Knee 5-35, Lee 3-24) and 9/93 (Heyhoe 26, Knee 3-22, Buck 2-3, Kutcher 2-23) drew with Australia 276 (Knee 82, Allitt 76, McFarlane 3-46)