South Africa v England, 5th Test, Durban, 1938-39, 3rd day March 6, 1939

Nourse pushes South Africa past 500

Cricinfo staff

England 35 for 1 trail South Africa 530 (van der Byl 125, Nourse 103, Melville 78, Perks 5-100) by 495 runs

Paul Gibb edges through the slips. He made only 4 before nicking an inswinger © Cricinfo
There was some concern inside the England camp that overnight rain might have spruced up the pitch, and allied to low, gray clouds, conditions were expected to favour the bowlers. As it was, it turned out to be another day of grind for them, although South Africa's batsmen at least upped the tempo of the innings.

Dudley Nourse looked to have more intent, cutting and driving with ease to bring up his hundred, which received a rousing reception, in an even six hours before being yorked by Perks for 103. With Ronnie Grieveson, who made a polished 73 in his first Test innings, he added 103 for the seventh wicket.

After lunch the weather improved and Hedley Verity, aided by bowling into the breeze, began to extract turn. When Grieveson drove him for four to bring up the 500 it was the first boundary off his bowling since the opening day.

Perks finally breached Grieveson's defences to pin back his middle stump and complete his own five-for, and Verity polished off the innings with two deserved wickets. Chud Langton smashed one superb six, lofting Verity over the sightscreen, but was caught on the boundary by Eddie Paynter repeating the stroke.

After a day of rest, England looked a reinvigorated outfit in the field, with Paul Gibb and Paynter standing out for their tireless work.

When England batted, they lost Gibb, nibbling at an inswinger, early to a catch behind off the lively Bob Newson, but Len Hutton and Paynter showed every sign that they were willing to bat as studiously as the South Africans had. The first three-quarters of an hour produced ten runs and soon after tea Hutton appealed against the light. He was unsuccessful, but minutes later it began to rain.

South Africa's pedestrian progress made sense in view of the poor weather forecast, the thinking being they would make the most of the conditions while they were favourable. Their one worry was that Alan Melville, their captain, appeared to be limping heavily during the final hour.

Stats and Trivia

  • South Africa's 530 was their highest in Test cricket. It was also their longest (13 hours) and slowest (40.76 runs/hour) against England.

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