South Africa v England, 5th Test, Durban, 1938-39, 9th day

Everlasting Test goes down to the wire

Cricinfo staff

March 13, 1939

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England 316 and 496 for 3 (Edrich 219, Gibb 120, Hammond 58*, Hutton 55) need another 200 runs to beat South Africa 530 and 481
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Bill Edrich runs the ball down to third man during his double hundred © Cricinfo
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The weekend's rain followed by heavy rolling meant that when play resumed on the Monday, the pitch was pretty much in pristine condition, although, quite naturally for a ninth-day surface, there were the odds signs of wear which became more apparent as the day went on.

Bill Edrich and Paul Gibb continued where they had left off, and aside from a confident leg-before shout against Edrich in the second over, England were not troubled. In the morning session the pair took their stand to 253, adding 78 in the session.

Gibb fell half an hour after the break for 120, his marathon innings containing only two fours, and Wally Hammond, as he had done in the first innings, started shakily before settling into a familiar groove.

Edrich added only two runs after tea, falling to a topspinner from Eric Dalton that took his middle stump. His almost chanceless 219 contained 25 fours.

Hammond and Eddie Paynter looked at ease until the light started to fade in the final hour, and when Hammond failed to pick up a faster delivery from Norman Gordon he successfully appealed against the light.

Although England are well placed, the state of the pitch and the promise of more rain will give South Africa renewed hope, especially as their spinners were getting increasing amounts of turn in the later stages of the day.

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