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English cricket team in Australia in 1920–21

An England team toured Australia between November 1920 and March 1921. The tour was organised by the Marylebone Cricket Club and matches outside the Tests were played under the MCC name. The tour itinerary consisted of 13 first-class matches, including a series of 5 Test matches against Australia in which The Ashes were at stake.

Tour review

The tour was the first to have Test status after the First World War.[1] It followed tours by the Australian Imperial Forces cricket team which played a number first-class matches in England, South Africa and Australia immediately after the war. The last Ashes series had been the 1912 Triangular Tournament held in England that year.

Although the tourists were relatively successful in their first-class matches against the Australian state teams, losing only one, the Test series "resulted, as everyone knows, in disaster"[2] and England became the first team ever to lose every match in a five-Test series.

Wisden commented that the chief cause of England's failure was the bowling, because all of the bowlers used were expensive and recorded high averages.[2] Much has been made of Australia's ability to recover from the effects of the war more quickly than England and Wisden commented that "English cricket had not had time to regain its pre-war standard".[2]

Test series summary

First Test

17–22 December 1920
267 (114.5 overs)
HL Collins 70
JW Hearne 3/77 (34 overs)
190 (59.1 overs)
FE Woolley 52
JM Gregory 3/56 (23.1 overs)
581 (192.3 overs)
WW Armstrong 158
CH Parkin 3/102 (35.3 overs)
281 (102.5 overs)
JB Hobbs 59
C Kelleway 3/45 (15.5 overs)
Australia won by 377 runs
Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Umpires: RM Crockett and AC Jones

Second Test

31 December 1920–4 January 1921
499 (137.3 overs)
CE Pellew 116
H Howell 3/142 (37 overs)
251 (87.3 overs)
JB Hobbs 122
JM Gregory 7/69 (20 overs)
157 (f/o) (67.2 overs)
FE Woolley 50
WW Armstrong 4/26 (15.2 overs)
Australia won by an innings and 91 runs
Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Umpires: RM Crockett and DA Elder
  • Australia won the toss and elected to bat.
  • 2 January was taken as a rest day
  • RL Park (AUS), and JWH Makepeace and H Howell (both ENG) made their Test debuts.

Third Test

14–20 January 1921
354 (108 overs)
HL Collins 162
CH Parkin 5/60 (20 overs)
447 (132.1 overs)
CAG Russell 135*
AA Mailey 5/160 (32.1 overs)
582 (185.5 overs)
C Kelleway 147
H Howell 4/115 (34 overs)
370 (106.2 overs)
JB Hobbs 123
AA Mailey 5/142 (29.2 overs)
Australia won by 119 runs
Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
Umpires: RM Crockett and DA Elder
  • Australia won the toss and elected to bat.
  • 16 January was taken as a rest day
  • EA McDonald (AUS), and PGH Fender (ENG) made their Test debuts.

Fourth Test

11–16 February 1921
284 (99.2 overs)
JWH Makepeace 117
AA Mailey 4/115 (29.2 overs)
389 (112.1 overs)
WW Armstrong 123*
PGH Fender 5/122 (32 overs)
315 (117 overs)
W Rhodes 73
AA Mailey 9/121 (47 overs)
211/2 (64.2 overs)
JM Gregory 76*
CH Parkin 1/46 (12 overs)
Australia won by 8 wickets
Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Umpires: RM Crockett and DA Elder
  • England won the toss and elected to bat.
  • 13 February was taken as a rest day.
  • A Dolphin (ENG) made his Test debut.

Fifth Test

25 February–1 March 1921
204 (70.1 overs)
FE Woolley 53
C Kelleway 4/27 (20 overs)
392 (91.3 overs)
CG Macartney 170
PGH Fender 5/90 (20 overs)
280 (101.2 overs)
JWHT Douglas 68
AA Mailey 5/119 (36.2 overs)
93/1 (34.2 overs)
W Bardsley 50*
ER Wilson 1/8 (6 overs)
Australia won by 9 wickets
Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Umpires: RM Crockett and DA Elder
  • England won the toss and elected to bat.
  • 27 February was taken as a rest day
  • ER Wilson (ENG) made his Test debut.

Summary of other first-class matches

England touring party

The England touring party consisted of 16 players led by Essex all-rounder Johnny Douglas.

When the party was originally selected, Reggie Spooner was invited to be the team captain but he was obliged to stand down for domestic reasons. Vallance Jupp had been selected too but was unable to travel. Jupp's withdrawal was shortly before departure and meant that his replacement Bill Hitch had to catch a later boat than the main party. There was another withdrawal when Jack Hearne was taken ill during the Second Test and could not play again that season.[2]

There was a controversy over Rockley Wilson who sent match reports by cable to the Daily Express. As a result, MCC resolved at a meeting the following May to bar players from reporting on matches in which they were involved.[2]





Australian players in Test series

Australia used 14 players in the Test series. Eight players took part in all five matches including the captain Warwick Armstrong.






The English team had a stopover in Colombo en route to Australia and played a one-day single-innings match there against the Ceylon national team, which at that time did not have Test status.[3]


  1. ^ "Cricket's darkest day". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 1922
  3. ^ "Ceylon v MCC 1962". CricketArchive. Retrieved 3 July 2014.

Further reading

  • Bill Frindall, The Wisden Book of Test Cricket 1877-1978, Wisden, 1979
  • Chris Harte, A History of Australian Cricket, Andre Deutsch, 1993
  • Ray Robinson, On Top Down Under, Cassell, 1975
  • Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 1922

External links

28 September 2019