Second Test match

England v South Africa 1929.

Like that at Birmingham, the second Test match was drawn but the cricket a proved vastly more interesting, the game being brimful of incident and varying fortune. England made two changes, O'Connor of Essex and Robins of Middlesex superseding Duleepsinhji and Fender, while South Africa had to take the field without Vincent and Quinn, their two left-handed bowlers, and Taylor, who were suffering either from injuries or illness. The loss of three such players could not fail to be seriously felt but, as it happened, Bell, who came into the side, a accomplished a great bowling performance, taking the last six England wickets after Morkel had led off with the first four. White being again successful in the toss, there seemed every reason to anticipate England would stay in all day and run up a big score.

Nothing could have been more sensational than the first half hour's play. Morkel, bowling from the Pavilion end, obtained such pace off the ground that the first three England wickets fell for 18 runs. Killick was bowled middle stump at eight, Hammond caught at second slip and O'Connor bowled first ball. Hendren went in and hit Morkel for three 4's, but the total was only 39 when the South African should have taken his fourth wicket, Sutcliffe, with his score at 14, being missed by Mitchell at slip. The consequences of that blunder were, from the South African point of view, deplorable, for Sutcliffe, after he and Hendren had added 93 in seventy-five minutes, went on to make a hundred. Leyland, batting in first-rate style, helped Sutcliffe to put on 88 in just over an hour. Apart from the one chance, Sutcliffe batted in his finest style, the manner in which he placed the ball on the off side in scoring most of his ten 4's being delightful in its accuracy and perfect timing. Leyland was eighth out at 252, his best strokes being powerful and well kept down drives past cover point. Larwood driving admirably, England's total just topped the 300 - a fine recovery. Bell, who sent down 30 overs, maintained an excellent length and owed most of his success to his ability to make the ball swerve.

Going in for an hour, South Africa scored 57 for one wicket, Catterall being bowled first ball. Mitchell and Christy by good batting staved off all idea of a collapse and altogether before Mitchell was beautifully stumped next morning, put on 82. Another wicket should have fallen at 108, Duckworth failing to stump Morkel when 12, and for this mistake a high price was paid. Christy's admirable innings ended at 125, when he backed-up too far. Hard driving marked his batting. Following Deane's dismissal at 126, Morkel and Cameron added 63 in eighty minutes. Soon afterwards, England had two substitutes in the field, both Hammond and O'Connor having strained themselves. By this time, the wicket - at no period perfect - was quite nasty, several batsmen having been struck by rising balls. Morkel's fine display, lasting over three hours, ended at 237. He hit only three 4's, but his defence against a lot of steady bowling was very good indeed. After the fall of the ninth wicket at 279 Owen-Smith, cleverly getting most of the bowling, hit with fine power while Bell kept up his end to help in a partnership which produced 42 runs in twenty minutes Owen-Smith played wonderfully well, showing rare judgment in picking the right ball to hit.

England, going in again at quarter to five in bad light, lost two wickets for 49 runs before a second appeal against the conditions at twenty-five minutes to six was successful. Next morning, with the ball flying a good deal, Ochse had five slip fielders but Leyland and Hendren carried the score to 83, Leyland mean-while being missed when 27 by Morkel at slip. Hammond went in, with Crawley as a substitute runner, but could do little and O'Connor also batted but England had five men out for 117 before half-past twelve and stood in grave danger of defeat. Then came another astonishing change. Leyland batting with the nerve and skill of a veteran, found the perfect partner in Tate, who hit so furiously that in seventy, minutes 129 runs were added before Leyland left. Leyland's driving on the off-side was magnificent. Tate went on hitting and when in less than two hours he had completed his hundred - his first in a Test match - White declared at ten minutes past three.

South Africa were left with 293 to get to win. Catterall again failed, but Christy and Mitchell added 51. Robins going in at the Pavilion end broke up the partnership and at once it became apparent the change should have been tried earlier. Making the ball turn a lot and quickly, Robins had all the bats. men in trouble, and when at twenty-five minutes past five South Africa had lost five wickets for 85 victory for England seemed certain. A most unfortunate accident followed, Cameron being hit on the head by a fast rising ball from Larwood and being knocked senseless to the ground. Cameron was carried off and Owen-Smith joined Morkel, but the unhappy incident had damped every-body's spirits and all real interest vanished. With four runs added, the players, owing to defective light, went in at a quarter to six, and not a murmur of dissent was heard.

© John Wisden & Co