Gaining the upper hand on the opening day, England won the first Test match by ten wickets - an easy success due to the batting of Sutcliffe and Tyldesley, the bowling of Geary and the allround play of Hammond. The batting of both sides proved strangely inconsistent. Catterall alone in South Africa's first innings showed ability to play Geary's skilful bowling with any confidence. Eight of the Englishmen scored only 13 runs between them and of South Africa's second innings' total of 170, Vintcent and Coen scored 80 together in a ninth wicket partnership. Geary, combining accurate length bowling with appreciable break, presented such difficulties that South Africa soon discounted their good fortune in batting first.
Catterall made a gallant effort to retrieve the fortunes of the side. Placing his strokes with excellent judgment all round the wicket, he obtained 86 out of 137 in two hours, amongst his figures being ten 4's. Holmes being dismissed before scoring, the start of England's innings proved as disastrous as that of South Africa, but in Sutcliffe and Tyldesley the touring side had two batsmen who rose to the needs of the occasion in such brilliant style that four hours and a quarter elapsed before the home bowlers again met with success. Throughout that time the pair batted without serious fault and by adding 230 runs set up a new record for a second wicket partnership in Test matches between England and South Africa. Tyldesley, the more enterprising of the two, scored 122 of that number and by a nice variety of well-timed strokes sent the ball to the boundary 16 times. In contrast, Sutcliffe had as many as 47 singles in his 102. Hammond, afterwards hitting briskly, England, despite a sensational collapse, established a lead of 117 and so set South Africa a substantial task to save the innings defeat. Hammond in the course of three overs and five balls, secured three wickets without a run being scored off him. Geary, who brought his record for the match to twelve wickets for rather less than 11 runs apiece, rendered Hammond able support and the total being no more than 38 when the seventh man left, defeat in a single innings for South Africa looked imminent. Vintcent and Coen, however, saved the situation and to win England had to go in again to get 54 runs.