Scotland v Australia 4 & 5 August 1938
by Cricket Scotland

Ground:Forthill, Dundee
Scorecard:Scotland v Australians
Event:Australia in British Isles 1938

DateLine: 2nd February 2013




Day 1:
When the first day's play concluded in the international match between Scotland and Australia at Broughty Ferry last night, the former were 146 runs behind, and there was every indication that another big beating awaited them. They were fortunate, as a matter of fact, that S. J. McCabe, who was captaining the Australians in the absence of Don Bradman, did not enforce a follow-on, and sent his own men to the wicket for a second time. His gesture should at least have the effect of prolonging the match, which yesterday brought out a crowd to Forthill that was worthy of the occasion. There were 8000 spectators present, the biggest attendance at a Scottish cricket international for many years.


The crowd wore naturally disappointed that Bradman did not play, or even put in an appearance. He had stayed at Perth the previous night, but it was learned that he had gone to London, and would probably rejoin his colleagues in Glasgow, where they play Scotland again to-morrow. But neither the most enthusiastic follower of the game, nor the keenest juvenile autograph hunter, could have complained that the match was dull.


They at least saw the flower of Australia's batsmen wilting at times against a buoyant Scottish attack, though the note of hopefulness inspired by the success of the home bowlers later disappeared when Scotland failed miserably in their turn at the wicket.


The Scottish innings provided an anticlimax to a day that was graced by ideal conditions for the game. Australia had occupied three hours and twenty minutes in getting past the 200 mark, and Scotland took their turn after the tea interval, with two hours still remaining for play. Hesitant, irresolute batting, apart from P. A. Gibb, the captain, and Alma Hunt, the Aberdeenshire professional from Bermuda, brought about their dismissal in ninety-five minutes, and the tourists went in again. It was not the fault of Gibb that they failed to do better, for he opened very well, and went out to punish loose balls, so much so that McCabe took off M. G. Waite and E. C. S. White, and introduced Fleetwood-Smith and O'Reilly, his 'heavy artillery'.


The first ball Gibb received from Fleetwood-Smith he dispatched to the boundary with a straight drive; but in the same over he cocked one up, and the ball was gratefully accepted by S. G. Barnes, who was fielding at short extra cover. Gibb had scored at a fine pace, however , for he collected his 26 runs, including three 4s, in twenty-seven minutes.


After he left, the Scottish "rot" started though, when K.R. Davidson, the Leeds player, followed him at 41 the crowd claimed that O'Reilly had sent down a no-ball.


Then the Australian bowlers simply played havoc with the Scottish batsmen, and the next four wickets fell with the addition of only 6 runs. Wass, the Golfhill professional, was caught behind the wicket by C, W. Walker after backing away from a spinner from Fleetwood-Smith; H.F. Sheppard gave W.A. Brown the easiest of catches to hold at short leg; D. Ballantyne was out to the third ball he got from Fleetwood-Smith, and Walker, the Ferguslie professional, was caught by his agile wicket-keeping namesake.


How small the Scottish total might have been had the same Australian bowlers been allowed to continue was a matter for conjecture, but at all events they were taken off in favour of Barnes and J. H. Fingleton, who were utilised for the first time on the tour when Scotland had just taken the total past the half century. Hunt and J. D. Martin (Watsonians) struggled gallantly to stem the tide that was flowing against them, the former twice earning the cheers of the crowd by hitting Fingleton for boundaries in one over.


Both Scots fell to brilliant catches, Hunt, who left at 85, had kept his end going for 41 minutes, and found the boundary three times, and the innings soon ended.


More encouraging was the sting in the Scottish attack earlier in the day, particularly the meritorious performance of J. S. Symon, the Perthshire player, in taking five wickets for 33 runs with his fast-medium deliveries. He kept an excellent length, and along with Hunt, was largely responsible for the somewhat subdued display of the tourists. With a little luck Scotland might have got the Australians out more quickly, for there were at least two chances which Gibb did not accept behind the wickets, comparatively early in the match.


For a while the Australians took no risks, they took an hour to get 43 runs, but after lunch McCabe, Fingleton, and Waite scored more quickly. Fingleton played some delightful late cuts, but he did not keep the fielders so busily employed as McCabe who hooked and drove beautifully during his sixty-seven minutes stay. There was a 6 besides nine 4s in his total o£ 62. McCabe was out to a lovely catch by Symon, who completed his individual triumph by claiming the wickets of O'Reilly and F.G. Ward in the same over.


Gibb handled his bowlers skilfully, Baxter, the fastest of the lot, was singularly unsuccessful on a wicket that seemed to favour him, while Symon, Hunt, and W. K. Laidlaw (Melville College. F.P.) sent down few loose balls among them. Hunt kept down the runs besides fielding finely, while Laidlaw spun the ball cleverly to keep the Australians thinking most of the time.


It seems too much to hope that Scotland's bowlers will fare so successfully in the Australians' second venture, which started last night, when the spectators got a short glimpse of the real form of C. L. Badcock before stumps were drawn. The match will be completed to-day.


Day 2:
Scotland emerged with more credit from their international match with Australia at Broughty Ferry last night than seemed likely at the end of the first stage of the match. They got a draw, finishing 260 runs behind the tourists, but, taking all things into consideration, the outcome of the match might have been different had S. J. McCabe enforced the follow-on on Thursday night or, even declared earlier yesterday, and not been so prodigal in the distribution of his bowling at a time when, had he cared, he could have won the match.


No fewer than eight of his eleven were given a turn with the ball, and towards the end of the match the changes were so frequent that someone in the crowd of 4000 spectators advised him to give S.G. Barnes (the wicketkeeper) a chance to show what he could do. Probably Walker would have been no less successful than C. L. Badcock, who was hit all over the field, and provided W. K. Laidlaw (Melville College F.P.) with the opportunity to get most of his big hits a 6 and seven 4s in the course of nineteen minutes towards the end of the match.


There was no sense of satisfaction that Scotland got a draw under such circumstances. The Australians could have won the match easily enough, but in spite of all the concessions they made, it was distinctly encouraging to find the Scots batsmen playing with so much additional assurance in the second innings. They had an early reverse when P. A. Gibb, the captain, was dismissed in the first over, but they revealed powers of recovery, and H. F. Sheppard, the Glasgow University man, and K. R. Davidson (Leeds) stayed together to add 51 runs, the most prolific Scottish partnership so far in the match, before the first ball that Fleetwood-Smith sent down got rid of the former, who had played a capital defensive innings.


Sheppard, who hit three 4s, played a very correct and patient innings, in spite of the chance that he gave to Badcock early on, and his stay of fifty-one minutes seemed to give his successors courage. Wass, the Golfhill professional, left at 70, and for a while Davidson and Walker (Ferguslie) made not the slightest effort to score runs, the pair adding only 10 in the forty minutes that followed the tea interval, though subsequently the Leeds player had the audacity to hit successive boundaries off Fleetwood-Smith, who was promptly rested to allow F. G. Ward to take his turn with the ball.


Perhaps the fact that the more famous Australian bowler had been rested gave the Scots pair some encouragement. At all events, as soon as the change was made, they improved their rate of scoring, with the result that the 100 mark was passed after one hundred and five minutes. After the addition of 15 runs, Davidson, who had played an invaluable innings lasting ninety nine minutes, and hit four boundaries as well as placing his strokes very well, mistimed one from Fleetwood-Smith, who had been brought back to the attack, and was out when Barnes, an extremely alert wicketkeeper , whipped off the bails. With only five runs augmenting the score, D. Ballantyne, the Peebles County player, got the ball on the edge of his bat in attempting a drive, and Badcock, sprinting round from cover-point, made a wonderful catch. Meantime, Walker, the Ferguslie professional, had been shaping well, and attempting, much to the liking of the crowd, to force the pace of scoring, but with thirty minutes still remaining for play, he lost another partner when J. D. Martin (Watsonians) merely poked at a ball from Ward, and turned it in the direction of Brown, who dived to grasp the ball inches from the ground and bring off a spectacular catch.


With but four Scottish wickets in hand, an exciting finish was in prospect, and it might have been forthcoming had not McCabe decided to take off Fleetwood-Smith and bring on Badcock, who is known as a magnificent batsman, but who has no pretensions as a bowler. Walker hit him for three 4s in the same over before falling a victim to the splendid stumping of Barnes, with the Scottish score at 140. Walker played a capital innings. He drove the ball strongly through the covers, and there were eight 4s in his total of 44, gathered in forty-eight minutes. He was most unlucky not to achieve the distinction of being the only Scotland batsman to reach the half-century mark.


Before the time arrived for stumps to be drawn, Laidlaw enlivened the proceedings by accepting the invitation to hit Badcock's variety of full-tosses and short-pitched balls. He was but nineteen minutes at the wicket, yet there were only two singles in his total of 26. He hit one 6 and seven 4s.


Earlier in the day the Australians had flogged the Scottish bowling, and with the assistance of some poor fielding, had taken their overnight total of 21 to 320 in two and a quarter hours. There was no inspired Scottish bowling spell as there had been on the previous day, though Laidlaw, the spin bowler, would have got much better figures than he did but for the fact that no fewer than six catches off his deliveries were dropped. A.D. Baxter, the former Grange player, also suffered from lack of support in the same direction, though in a lesser degree. Early in the play yesterday Badcock was missed at long-on by Hunt, the Aberdeenshire professional, and the incident had an unfortunate sequel, for the West Indian had to retire for the rest of the day, It seemed that one of the spikes on his boots had come into contact with, and damaged, a finger when he was trying to gather the ball from the ground. Davis (Forfarshire) fielded as substitute, but Hunt would have gone to the wicket for Scotland had the need arisen. The aggressiveness of the Australian batsmen can be judged from the fact that in the last 45 minutes of their innings they put on 149 runs. Among them there was a keen rivalry to hit 6s, and more than once the ball was driven out of the ground. Ward had three 6s and nine 4s in collecting 71 in less than an hour. J. H. Fingleton, more artistic and a delight to watch when he sent the ball ripping to the boundary with a deft late cut, had one 6 and nine 4s in his 69; and M. G. Waite had two 6s and five 4s in his 43, got in the astonishingly short period of 18 minutes.

(Article: Copyright © 2013 Cricket Scotland


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