Australia v England
St Kilda Cricket Ground, Melbourne: 10th – 13th January 1969
At the St Kilda Ground in Melbourne, Rachael Heyhoe won her second successive toss and once more chose to bat first.
The two Victorian opening bowlers, Anne Gordon and Joyce Goldsmith, removed the openers cheaply – there would be no repeat of Bakewell’s first Test heroics but Heyhoe again proved to be a thorn in the side of the Australians and peeled off another half century, while Edna Barker proved why she was so highly acclaimed by scoring an even 100.
Gordon kept chipping away and was rewarded with her first five wicket hall in Test cricket but England proved stubborn to remove, an unbeaten ninth wicket partnership of 40 runs before Heyhoe declared, 8/254.
Once again the Aussie newcomers struggled while Lynn Denholm batted bravely from the other end. Elaine Bray, Dawn Newman and promoted in the order, Olive Smith, all went cheaply to leave Australia 3/28 at stumps.
Jan Parker went early on day two for a duck. Australia was 4/29 when Miriam Knee came to the crease. She soon lost Denholm for 29, leaving Australia in a most precarious position at 5/53.
Bakewell and Moorehouse had ripped through the top order, but Knee played a patient guiding hand, and aided by Joyce Goldsmith, who clearly batted well above her station, carved a way to safety before another collapse. They lost Goldsmith for 36, then the skipper, Picton fell for a duck. Miriam Knee then was out for 96, frustratingly short of her century, but personal glory meant much less than the team’s situation.
“Betty Wilson was very generous. She said to me as I went past. She said, ‘oh Mim why didn’t you get your 100. I would have loved you to have got a hundred along with me’.” – Miriam Knee
It was great praise from the former champion. And falling short?
“I did fall for the full toss and tried to hit it over the fielder’s head which would have given me the thing but got caught. I didn’t feel anything (about falling short of 100). I was just so thrilled to have helped the team.”
Wickets continued to tumble before a 10th wicket partnership of 30 by Anne Gordon and Patsy May helped Australia reach 216 all out.
England were now in the box seat and Heyhoe went looking for quick runs to force Picton into a difficult run chase for Australia, but once again Anne Gordon was brilliant and took another five wicket haul. Heyhoe declared at 7/143. Of the fifteen English wickets to fall, Gordon had taken 10 of them, and thus a 10 wicket Test match haul. Miriam Knee was an absolute miser. 26 overs, 1/26.
It left Australia the tantalizing prospect of scoring 181 runs, but with only 37 overs in which to do it. Did Picton go for it? It sure looks that way, but wickets fell steadily and the skipper was not out when stumps were drawn, with Australia 5/108 and the Test drawn.
Honours were even. Could Australia have gone on to win? 73 runs with five wickets in hand. Hard to tell, but Heyhoe certainly had a grip on the match from the coin toss. Perhaps a change of result in the toss in the final Test and maybe Picton might be calling the shots. Anne Gordon feels the England captain could have been more adventurous.
“They declared at 182 leaving 119 minutes for Australia to get the runs – but it ground on to another draw with Australia 5-108. This was disappointing as the entertaining cricket played by both teams on the first two days drew in quite a lot of the public and speculation by the Press – which we needed at that time. However, it fizzled to another frustrating draw – had it been a more “sporting” declaration England may have pulled off a win, as we started off trying to chase down the runs but it was obvious in losing 5 wickets trying to chase the runs that we did not have enough time.”
Gordon’s ten wicket haul and Miriam Knee’s allround effort were a portend of things to come from this Australian team.
England 254 (Barker 100, Heyhoe 54, Gordon 5/61) and 7 dec 143 (Moorehouse 39*, Gordon 5/57) drew with Australia 216 (Knee 96, Goldsmith 36, Bakewell 4/49, Moorehouse 3/40) and 5/108