South Africa v England, 5th Test, Durban, 1938-39, 2nd day March 4, 1939

South Africa press on at their own pace

Cricinfo staff

South Africa 423 for 6 (van der Byl 125, Melville 78, Nourse 77*) v England

Dudley Nourse cuts for four on his way to 77 not out © Cricinfo
The pitch showed no signs of deteriorating as South Africa again took no chances in taking their score to 423 for 6, somehow achieving an even slower rate of scoring than they had managed on the first day.

Doug Wright made an early breakthrough for England when he had Bruce Mitchell bowled off his pads for 11, but Pieter van der Byl and Dudley Nourse dug in for the day, with the first hour producing only 17 runs. van der Byl, who took 45 minutes to open his account yesterday, took another 32 minutes to do so today.

Ken Farnes managed to extract some life from the surface and struck van der Byl several times on the body, but the pair weathered the storm and by lunch South Africa were 271 for 3. In 105 minutes they had managed to add 42 runs.

The immediate post-lunch period produced a flurry of wickets. Reg Perks brought one back into van der Byl to bowl him for 125, his runs coming in seven hours and 18 minutes, and four runs later Ken Viljoen flicked at a ball outside off stump and nicked to Les Ames. At 278 for 5, England were eyeing a quick end to the innings.

But Nourse was joined by Eric Dalton, and in their contrasting styles they pressed on. Dalton briefly broke the shackles by lofting Wright for the day's first six, and he was the only batsmen to show any real attacking intent. With Nourse he added 90 for the sixth wicket before being well held low down the leg side by a diving Ames off Farnes.

As the light closed in Farnes and Perks cut their pace but there was still another early finish, with Nourse and Ronnie Grieveson's seventh-wicket stand worth 55.

Stats and Trivia

  • van der Byl's innings of seven hours and 18 minutes was the longest by a South African in a Test
  • Ronnie Grieveson's 73 was the highest score in a first Test innings by a player chosen to keep wicket

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