Toss: England. Test debuts: England - W.Barber, J.Hardstaff (jr), J.M.Sims, D.Smith.
An eleven differing considerably from that the England Selectors first had in mind might have forced a win but for some solid batting by Wade and Cameron on the last afternoon when the wicket, following a shower, was easier than at any previous time in the match. From England's point of view, nothing afforded more satisfaction than two fine innings by Hammond who in the match scored 150 for once out, and the promise shown by Denis Smith and Mitchell, of Yorkshire, who with Hardstaff, Barber and Sims made a debut in Test cricket in England. Mitchell, an emergency choice, rose to the occasion with admirable batting in two sharply contrasted innings realising 130 runs.
When on Saturday England were dismissed for 216 runs they were held to have failed. On Monday, however, the game swung round in their favour in truly dramatic style, the turning point coming with the appearance of Wyatt in the attack for the first time. About one o'clock, with Rowan and Viljoen batting really well in a third wicket partnership, South Africa were no more than 98 behind, but Wyatt in his fourth over disposed of Viljoen at 120 and the seven remaining wickets fell for 51. England, with a lead of 45, in the second innings forced the game in most effective fashion. In neither of the two preceding Test matches of this series were South Africa's bowlers faced with such boldness and genuine batting skill. Wyatt came in for strong criticism because when England were 322 runs on and rain caused half an hour's delay, he withheld a declaration. He may have overlooked the psychological effect of forcing his opponents to the wicket after their bowling had been hit to all parts of the field. England went on batting, lost four more wickets for 17 runs and then South Africa were left to get 340 in rather more than four hours and a half in order to win - a task that required an average scoring rate of about 75 runs an hour.
South Africa, in working their way out of a very threatening position, were helped only a little by an interruption through bad light. The chief reason for their success in forcing a draw was the stubborn batting of Wade and Cameron from before five o'clock until the last ball of the match. It was not generally known at the time that one ball from Hammond hit Cameron's wicket without dislodging a ball.
Following the announcement of the England team - thirteen players were invited - an extraordinary run of injuries occurred, Sutcliffe, Hollies and Clark all having to drop out. To make matters worse, not much more than an hour before the time of starting the game, news reached the Selectors that Leyland had developed lumbago. Deciding that another batsman must be brought in, the Committee instituted a search for Mitchell, of Yorkshire, who was finally discovered at home in his garden and rushed by car to Headingley. It was one of the romances of cricket that Mitchell, as already mentioned, played two most praise-worthy innings; his fielding too was magnificent. J. C. Clay stood down and James Langridge acted as England's twelfth man. South Africa's team showed two changes, Balaskas (injured) and Nourse being replaced by Vincent and Viljoen.
Dealing with the chief details of the play, it must first be recorded that during the early part of Saturday's cricket, the wicket looked moist, suggesting it had been over watered. Wyatt fell third ball of the innings, but Barber--strong on the leg side--and Smith carried the score to 52. Third out at 78--he hit a ball on to his pads from which it shot up for the wicket-keeper to catch-- Smith pulled and cut by sound strokes and batted with discretion and assurance for an hour and a half. Hammond, forcing even good length balls and hitting powerfully to the off side, stayed two hours and added 69 with Mitchell, whose stern, watchful duel with the bowlers lasted over three hours. Mitchell's strong point was defence but at times he glanced the ball to leg very skillfully. England's last six wickets fell for 69. South Africa lost Bruce Mitchell for 21 and at the close of the first day's play the tourists were 190 behind with nine wickets in hand.
On Monday, when Siedle was badly run out, Rowan alone played England's bowling at all well. Neat footwork and beautiful off drives featured his innings of nearly three and a half hours. His dismissal by Hammond--a low catch taken on the slip fieldsman's left side with both hands--was a memorable incident of the match. Sent in to open England's second innings. Smith and Mitchell pushed the score along in most refreshing style and their stand of 128 in under two hours encouraged the following batsmen to go all out for runs. Hammond was at his very best on Tuesday morning and never relaxing his punishment of the bowling he hit 87 in 105 minutes, with a 6 and fourteen 4's among his figures, and took out his bat when Wyatt declared.
England's bowling limitations soon became obvious when South Africa entered upon the last innings. Bowes kept a steady length and put life into his deliveries and Sims, very keen, also bowled well. At quarter past four when bad light caused half an hour's delay South Africa had lost three wickets for 106. Mitchell, bowled at 111 by Hammond, whose services Wyatt hardly called upon enough, revealed admirable defence for two hours and three-quarters; afterwards, Wade and Cameron could not be tempted to take the least risk. Cameron batted with remarkable restraint and good runs were ignored, the obvious policy of these two batsmen being to prevent England having another new ball. Wyatt resorted to full tosses, many of which the wicket-keeper caught, and when Barber, with his second ball in Test cricket, had Cameron stumped and the match ended, South Africa were within 146 of victory and had half their wickets in hand.
During the three days, 56,000 people were present, 40,353 paying at the gates and the takings amounting to £5,821.