Fifth Test match

South Africa v England 1927-28

Played at DURBAN, February 4, 6, 7, 8. South Africa won by eight wickets. Keeping up the excellent batting form shown in the two previous games, South Africa outplayed England in the last Test match and winning by eight wickets, saved the rubber in brilliant style. Each country thus gained two victories with one contest drawn. Rain preventing any cricket on Saturday, South Africa undoubtedly accomplished a great performance in overcoming England in three days of actual play. The same position regarding the rubber as in the fourth Test existed and Deane, beating the English captain in the toss for the fifth time in succession, again put England in to bat, Holmes was dismissed almost at once and, following that encouraging start, South Africa went all out for victory, their tremendous keenness culminating in almost inspired cricket on the last day, when Bissett, bowling at a tremendous pace, obtained seven wickets for 29. This sensational piece of bowling naturally determined the result. South Africa had to make only 69 runs to win and, these being hit off for the loss of two wickets, there were scenes of wild enthusiasm at the finish.

Stanyforth, as well as Geary, being incapacitated by injury, Stevens led the English team and Elliott kept wicket. In an endeavour to obtain a satisfactory opening partner for Taylor South Africa re-introduced S. Coen, who had performed with moderate success in the first Test, this change being so successful that for only the second time in the whole series of Test games the home team were given a comparatively good start. In marked contrast England suffered a severe misfortune in the double failure of Holmes, who, again finding the fast bowling of Bissett too much for him, fell in the first over of each innings without scoring. In the first innings, Sutcliffe and Tyldesley faced a serious situation with such determination and skill that their partnership realised 130 runs. Though playing a stern and watchful innings, Tyldesley scored 100 out of 177 in two hours and three-quarters. With 240 on the board and only three men out, England had recovered their ground, but at that point the fortunes of the game underwent a complete change. Nupen, in his last spell, bowled to such excellent purpose that he took five wickets for seven runs and the innings closed for the addition of only 42.

South Africa had four wickets down for 95 but Catterall, after a careful start, drove finely and Cameron, enjoying some luck in being missed when 5 and 39, hit Freeman for three 4's and a 6 off successive balls, the vigorous stand between these men yielding 136 runs in ninety minutes. Catterall's faultless innings lasted two hours and a quarter and included two 6's and fourteen 4's. When leading by no more than 50 runs, Deane declared, his bold policy having as its reward the quick dismissal of Holmes. This time England failed to recover, their batsmen cutting a sorry figure before Bissett and the side being all out in two hours and three-quarters. With a high wind to help him, Bissett proved almost unplayable. At times he made the ball kick most awkwardly and Wyatt, owing to an injury, had to retire for a time.

© John Wisden & Co