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The last test of W. G. Grace

W. G. Grace was an old veteran of England Cricket team who played for them till the age of 51. Grace played his last match against Australia and announced his retirement after his poor performance in the game.

Last updated: 01.06.2019
W. G. Grace | Sports Social Blog

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As the new century was approaching, the greatest cricketer of the 19th century was also nearing his retirement. W. G. Grace was already past fifty and slowly but surely the physical fitness required for playing this game was beyond him. But Australians were in town and he was keen to play against them for one last time.

The first test of the series started in Tent Bridge, Nottingham. This was the first test match on this ground but the crowd was angrier than happy as one of their favorites and Nottingham great Arthur Shrewsbury was not picked. Except for Grace who was already 51, the England team had quite a few great batsmen Like Ranji and CB Fry. Also for England, the young left-arm spinner Wilfred Rhodes was making his debut. Rhodes would go to become one of the greatest bowlers ever produced by England and would carry on playing test cricket till he is 52, even a year more than Grace.


The coincidence of Grace’s last test and Rhodes’ first test was a perfect example of passing the baton of greatness. But there was another debutant in this match, although for Australia. The tall, handsome Victor Trumper also made his debut in this match. Trumper who would go on to become the greatest Australian batsman before Don Bradman had a quite start, unlike Rhodes who was on his groove from the beginning.

But let’s get back to the veteran Grace. He was not a popular figure due to Shrewsbury’s exclusion and was also very slow while fielding and running between the wickets. After Australia posting 252, the opening combination of Grace and Fry added 75 runs, of which Grace struggled to score 28. There was a collapse and England conceded a lead of almost 60. Once, Australian captain, Joe Darling declared with 230 for 8, Grace again came to bat and this time produced an even poorer performance to score just one. There was another collapse but England could save the match, thanks to an unbeaten 93 by Ranji. After the match, W. G. Grace announced his retirement from test cricket and Stanley Jackson became England’s next captain.

The two debutants had a mixed outing. Trumper scored 0 and 11 in two innings whereas Rhodes followed up with 4 for 58 in the first innings with 3 for 60 in the second innings to finish with 7 wickets.

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