South Africa v England, 5th Test, Durban, 1938-39, 7th day March 10, 1939

England retain a glimmer of hope

Cricinfo staff

England 316 and 253 for 1 (Gibb 78*, Edrich 107*)need another 443 runs to beat South Africa 530 and 481

For the first time in the match England had the better of a day's play, and when bad light ended play for the seventh successive day, they were still in with an outside chance of a remarkable victory. Despite the authorities waiving admission charges, only a few hundred turned up to watch.

The one wicket that South Africa did take - that of Len Hutton for 78 - owed more to batsman error than anything else as he dragged on an unmemorable offbreak. That aside, the pitch remained almost perfect for batting and South Africa's bowlers toiled as fruitlessly as England's had on the first day.

The highlight of the day was the hundred made by Bill Edrich. In six innings in this series to date he had made 22 runs, and most people believed he had used up all his chances. But a hundred in the previous tour match had ensured he got another chance. Wally Hammond took a gamble in sending him in at No. 3 as opposed to his usual No. 5, and it paid off.

Edrich unleashed some sublime drives, used his feet to negate any spin and reached his century in three hours and 13 minutes. Under pressure, he rose to the challenge superbly.

Paul Gibb played his supporting role with understated ease, bothered more by the drizzle which clouded his glasses than any of the bowlers. By the close he had put on 175 with Edrich, aided by the ragged nature of South Africa's fielding, especially in the afternoon.

Stats and Trivia

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