W. Gr. Grace, m a lengthy article—from which the following is an extract—m the English " Illustrated Magazine," .says :—
" Altogether ■ six Australian teams have visited England, and eleven English teams gone out to Australia, and results show that England has still more than one eleven capable of defeating the combined strength of Australia. The teams which visited us m 1886 and 1888 did not materially add to the reputation of Australia; but it must be remembered that on both occasions several players who were chosen to represent Australia were unable to join the team owing to business and and other engagements. When we make compassions of play, we have undoubted evidence that England has still a strong lead m batting, but that m bowling and fielding there is little to choose between the two countries. Murdoch, Giffen, M'Donnoll, the Bannerma,ns, and Moses have been a tower of strength ; but one does not require to search far m England to find a large number of players who have performed as great things as they. Sppfforth, Garrett, Palmer, Evans, Boyle, Turner, and Ferris are bowling names to compare with ours ; but we have only to place opposite them the names of A. Shaw, Morley, Lbhmann, Peate, Attewell, Briggs, and Barnes to make the scales hang evenly. In fielding there is littfe to choose between us, although I must m fairness say that at the present time the Australians can throw-in better than we can. . . . The game has a stronger hold m England to-day than at auy time m its history. For one eleven that could draw a crowd m the past we can show half a dozen or more who can do so at the present time ; and we have only to look at the averages of individual players, with bat and ball, to find that the deeds of twenty or thirty year ago have been surpassed. In batting the number of players, both amateur and professional, with an average of twenty and over, is far ahead of the number m 1860 and 1870. Securing an aggregate of 1000 runs m first-class matches during ihe season was thought a remarkable feat twenty years ago. We do not think so much of it now. Nine players accomplished it m 1886, and though 1889 was one of the wettest seasons we have had for years there were five players who exceeded that total Scoring 100 runs m one innings is another importantf eature of the play today. It was done by more than twenty players last year, and by some of them twice or thrice. And if we only remember how general is the improvement m bowling the performance becomes even more remarkable. County cricket is a very fair test of a batsman's powers. Well, m firstclass county cricket last year the century was scored forty times. That is surely evidence of the great strides we have made m batting. Next take the bowlihg averages. Capturing a hundred wickets j m first-class matches twenty or thirty years ago was another exceptional, and remarkable feat. It is not so surprising to-day. G. Lohmann captured over two hundred m 1888, and repeated the performance m 1889, and six others had considerably over a hundred to their credit the same year, . , . Spofforth, Steel,
and Turner among the gentlemen, A, Shaw, Lohmann, and BriggsamGng the professionals, have been the most prominent bowlers for years past. Spofforth's wonderful power lies m his variety. Whether he breaks six inches or twelve, he takes good care that the ball will hit the wicket should it beat the batsman ; and he keeps varying hia pace till he gets the batsman m two minds, and then treats him to a fast yorker. He has been more effective with fast yorkers than any bowler I know. A, G. Steel is another of the tantalising bowlers. Rarely do you get two balls m succession the same pace from him ; and if there is a weak spot m yonr defencehe keeps hammering at that until you make a mistake. The same may be said of TurnerHe is always well within his strength,- and ever varying his pace. Lohmann and Briggs work on the same lines. A. Shaw had the least break of the lot, except on sticky, wickets, but his wonderful; command of length more than compensated for it. All .of them bowl with their head. . . . There is no need to compare the wicket-keepers of the present with those of the past, but I cannot help saying that the doings; of Philipson, McGregor, Pilling, and Sherwin m 1889, without long-stops, are worthy of the highest praise. There is no need* to mention Blackham ; he is still at the top of the tree m that part of the game."
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Cricket Notes., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2479, 31 July 1890
Cricket Notes. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2479, 31 July 1890
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