After a most interesting struggle, South Africa won the first Test match by 28 runs. Chapman seemed to have done England good service by sending his opponents in but the fortune of the game fluctuated a lot and playing the last innings on a matting wicket proved fatal to the tourists. Beyond question Tate, Voce and Peebles, in disposing so cheaply of all the African batsmen except McMillan, received help from the pitch. The ninth wicket fell at 81 and then McMillan and Newson added 45 - 17 more runs than the final margin against England.
Facing such a moderate total as 126, England might have risked a forcing game, but Wyatt took forty-five minutes to get eight runs out of 33 and four more wickets went down before the close of the first day, when the total had reached 167. This favourable position - 41 ahead with five wickets in hand - could not be maintained. Much depended upon Hammond, who was not out 45, but he soon paid the price of excessive caution and the last four wickets realised only 17 runs. Nupen and Vincent both bowled finely and the opportunity - afforded by their admirable work - to pull the game round was followed up by consistent batting. Mitchell and Catterall, becoming partners with two wickets down for 50, put on 122 by thoroughly good cricket. Strangely enough Mitchell did most of the scoring, Catterall, who fell to a clever slip catch, being unusually restrained. Viljoen and Cameron also batted well and South Africa finished the second day 236 ahead with three wickets in hand. The close of the innings for three more runs, thanks to Voce, left England a slightly lighter task than had appeared probable but the brief spell of cricket also indicated increasing difficulties for batsmen. Peebles, falling lame, was in the second innings quite unable to repeat his accurate length and varied spin of Wednesday and Tate and White failed. Nupen, again in deadly form with the ball, enjoyed the chief share in gaining for South Africa after some most exciting cricket a sensational victory. Had Deane been persuaded to play, Nupen would not have been in the team. Brought in to captain the side, largely because of his experience, Nupen not only showed sound judgment in this capacity but, by his skilful bowling, twice changed the appearance of the game - the second time with such effect that success was the reward. Appreciating the conditions when England went in to get 240, Nupen called upon Catterall - not regarded as more than an ordinary club bowler - to start the attack with Newson. The cheap dismissal of Wyatt and Leyland speedily confirmed the wisdom of this choice.
The experiment of opening with Catterall having been justified in such striking fashion, Nupen thereupon took the ball. A catch in the slips just afterwards disposing of Hendren, England quickly found themselves engaged in an uphill fight. Turnbull, hitting freely, with Hammond a restrained partner, made 61 in an hour and a quarter, but the game, from a promising position when he left at 131, went all against England. Hammond, after batting admirably for two hours and twenty minutes, was brilliantly stumped at 164. Showing much patience, Hammond hit only four 4's. Could he, after losing Turnbull, have adopted forcing tactics the game might have had a different ending but, against the splendid bowling of Nupen and Vincent, he preferred to avoid risks. Tate was twice nearly bowled by Vincent before bringing off some powerful drives and pulls, and when he fell to Mitchell's third catch of the innings at slip, he remained to run for Peebles, who made a few hits before the dismissal of Duckworth - appropriately enough by Nupen - finished the match. Nupen, after Catterall's early successes, took six wickets and, in the whole match, had the fine record of eleven for 150.