Third Test match

South Africa v England 1938-39

At Durban, January 20, 21, 23. England won by an innings and 13 runs. They made the most of Hammond's continued luck in winning the toss and completely outplayed the South Africans. Only five England batsmen were called upon: the South Africans made only three scores of over thirty and those in the follow-on.

Paynter, Hammond and Farnes contributed most to the England victory. With an innings of 243, Paynter created new records for the highest individual total in Test matches, between the two countries, and for the highest innings in any Test in South Africa. He also became the first England batsman to score a double-century against Australia and South Africa. Hammond, who helped Paynter in a partnership of 242, managed his attack capably, and set a grand example in the field by his vigilance and reliability at slip where he held five catches. Three were off the fast deliveries of Farnes who bowled in both innings with verve and accuracy. The pitch, most of the time, was easy-paced, although after the first afternoon intermittent rain left the turf moist. The South Africans contributed to their own downfall by fielding errors - mistakes behind the stumps by Wade being particularly expensive. Only Mitchell, who scored a gallant century in the second innings, Rowan and Viljoen showed anything like their normal batting form.

The weather was warm and sunny for the start of the England innings. Gibb early received a life behind the wicket, and Hutton, with the total 38, was beaten by a ball which swung from the off. Paynter began freely and at the lunch interval the score was 101 for one. Powerful drives and hits to leg afterwards showed Paynter to advantage. Gibb persisted in his role of dour defender, but enjoyed the satisfaction of helping Paynter in a century stand for the second wicket for the third Test in succession. Gibb hit only two 4's in a stay of two and a half hours during which he scored 38 out of 115. Hammond did not take long to find his form and after tea, taken at 225 for two, he and Paynter attacked the bowling. Glorious drives and strong sweeps to leg sent Hammond's score along quickly, and with Paynter hitting hard, Melville could do little more than set a defensive field to keep down runs. Rain, which stopped cricket for ten minutes, did not upset the batsmen and when a heavier downpour brought play to an end a few minutes before time for drawing stumps the total had been increased to 373 for two. The second hundred of the partnership came in 42 minutes; Paynter left off needing three runs for his double-hundred and Hammond a single for his century.

Paynter and Hammond duly reached their objectives next morning. The England captain went on cutting and driving faultlessly till he edged an outswinger to slip. Hammond's innings lasted just under three hours and contained sixteen 4's. Paynter, when 223, reached 1,000 runs for the tour, and he added another twenty before losing his wicket. The left-hander snicked a rising ball, which flew to slip where Melville, leaping high, brought off a magnificent onehand catch. In his great innings, extending over five and a half hours, Paynter hit twenty-five 4's.

On Paynter's dismissal, Hammond declared, and then, on a wicket far from awkward, South Africa adopted a back-to-the-wall policy which played into the hands of the England bowlers An opening stand of 60 by Mitchell and Van der Byl prefaced a breakdown. The batsmen showed no liking for the fast bowling of Farnes, and the spin of Wright and Wilkinson completed their discomfiture. From 60 for no wicket the score went to 65 for four; at tea the total was 97 for six and the end of the innings was not long delayed. Following-on 366 runs behind, South Africa needed a big effort to reach safety. They lost their first wicket this time at 46, but Mitchell found his form and, with seven boundaries among his strokes, claimed 53 out of a score of 73 for one when play finished.

On the last day South Africa went down fighting, but never possessed a real chance of thwarting their opponents. Overnight rain did not materially affect the wicket, yet several batsmen found difficulty in countering fast and turning deliveries. Mitchell, Rowan and Viljoen were exceptions. Mitchell, who drove confidently, completed a splendid hundred, and his only error closed a meritorious innings lasting a little over three hours. He snicked the last ball of the second over sent down by Farnes after lunch, and Ames, well back, held the catch near the ground. Rowan made sure defence his sheet-anchor and he succeeded so well in his self-imposed task that he did not hit a boundary during the three and a half hours he defied the England attack. He was third to leave at 223, and only Viljoen did much afterwards. He started slowly, but, made many stylish off-drives before leaving to a brilliant catch in the slips. Another effort by Hammond, this time with the left hand, sent back Dalton. Although the light became poor, the batsmen did not appeal. The eight wicket fell at 345, one run later silly-mid-on dived forward and caught Gordon and Farnes finished the match by getting Wade leg-before. The game attracted big crowds, 12,000 people, who paid £1,200 - a ground record - watching play on the second day.

© John Wisden & Co
 
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