Fifth Test match

Australia v South Africa 1931-32

Before proceeding to New Zealand, South Africa engaged in their concluding Test match with Australia and for the fifth time were defeated, Australia, although scoring only 153, winning in an innings with 72 runs to spare. For this game Australia brought in L. Nash, a Tasmanian fast bowler who jumped into prominence by taking seven wickets for fifty runs when the tourists played Tasmania. Short, but of powerful build, Nash made the ball rise in very awkward fashion, several of them getting head high. He and Ironmonger proved so effective on a pitch slightly on the soft side that in a little more than ninety minutes South Africa were dismissed for the sorry total of 36. This was not their lowest total in Test cricket for they had twice been got rid of previously by England for 30 - at Port Elizabeth in 1895-96 and at Birmingham in 1924. Their lowest score before this in Test matches against Australia was 80 at Melbourne in 1910-11. Cameron alone reached double figures and Ironmonger had the remarkable analysis of five wickets for six runs.

Before the day was over there were further surprises, Australia being got rid of for 153. The wicket appeared a little easier, but Bell, Quinn and McMillan were all able to get considerable work on the ball. Woodfull was out first ball, but Fingleton and Rigg put on 51, the only other stand being that between Kippax and Nash which produced 37. Australia's total was their smallest against South Africa, the previous lowest being 175 at Johannesburg in 1902-03. South Africa, 117 behind, lost one wicket for five runs before play ceased for the day, and on the Saturday no cricket took place, heavy rain during the night and a further downfall soon after two o'clock preventing any chance of a resumption. On the Monday, however, there came more sensational play.

The game was not proceeded with until quarter past two and then in less than an hour and a half the last nine South African wickets went down for another 40 runs. Thus South Africa were twice dismissed for an aggregate of 81, the lowest total for two innings ever recorded in the history of Test match cricket. The wicket was very difficult and Ironmonger once more proved practically unplayable. He dismissed six men for eighteen runs, thus having a record in the match of eleven wickets for 24. Five batsmen failed to score and only Curnow reached double figures.

The third wicket fell at 25 and then, with the sun coming out, the wicket became terribly treacherous, the last seven batsmen being dismissed for another 20 runs.

© John Wisden & Co