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The tour in South Africa during December 1905 and January, February, and March 1906 was, as regards first-class cricket, a sad failure. The general result-seventeen wins, five defeats, and four drawn games-looks exceedingly well on paper, but unfortunately most of the victories were gained in matches against odds to which no interest attached. Everything else in the tour was naturally subordinate to the five Test Matches with South Africa, and of these the Englishmen won the fourth and lost the other four-three at Johannesburg and one, in a single innings in the last fixture of the tour, at Capetown. Of course nothing that was done could compensate for these defeats and the team left the Cape somewhat crestfallen. As to the merit of the play that brought about the South African triumphs there was little difference of opinion. Indeed several of the Englishmen - notably P. F. Warner, Captain Wynyard, and Denton - were loud in their praise, and did not hesitate to say that, at any rate on the Johannesburg ground, the South Africans were a great side. Their strength seems from all accounts to have lain in their batting - very good down to almost the last man - and in the spin and quickness off the ground of their bowlers, most of them of the leg-break type. Vogler, Sinclair, Snooke, and Schwartz we know as bowlers in England, but on one or two occasions Faulkner, who has never yet been seen in this country, was more difficult than anyone else. Of the batsmen Gordon White was clearly the best, and a high opinion was formed of the left-handed player A. D. Nourse, who was half expected at one time to come over to England last summer and appear for Surrey under his birth qualification. Whether the South Africans will be able to reproduce the same form on English wickets is a question to which the forthcoming summer will provide an answer.
The English team, though short of a fast bowler and deficient in steady batting, looked good enough all round for the work before them, but in the Test Matches only F. L. Fane and J. N. Crawford as batsmen, and Lees and Blythe as bowlers earned distinction. For the most part the English batting in these all-important games was lamentable. Warner actually played ten innings for 89 runs, and Hayes six innings for 69. It should be mentioned that Hayes, owing to ill-health, stood out of two of the big matches. Such figures in view of what the same men did during the season at home look quite comical. Even Denton, who was very good during the tour as a whole, could only show an average of seventeen in the Test Matches. The English side consisted of:
The team went out under a guarantee, the South African authorities taking the whole financial risk. In the five Test Matches the South Africans always had the same eleven.
PLAYED 26 - Won 17, Drawn 4, Lost 5.
PLAYED 5 - Won 1, Lost 4.
December 2, 4, 5, at Cape Town, v. Western Province - English Team, 365; Western Province, 96 and 142. English Team won by an innings and 127 runs.
December 7, 8, at Worcester, v. Eighteen of Worcester and District - English Team, 362; Eighteen of Worcester and District, 107 and 203. English Team won by an innings and 52 runs.
December 9, 11, 12, at Cape Town, v. Western Province - English Team, 272 and 43 for no wicket; Western Province, 81 and 233. English Team won by ten wickets.
December 15, 16, 18, at Kimberley, v. Fifteen of Griqualand West - English Team (twelve), 373 and 9 for no wicket; Fifteen of Griqualand West, 174 and 207. English Team won by eleven wickets.
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