Fourth Test

South Africa v Australia

At Johannesburg, February 3, 4, 6, 7, 8. Drawn. Seldom in the long history of Test cricket has rain come to the aid of a palpably beaten side with such split-second timing.

Australia, batting first after Simpson won the toss, struggled for almost four and a half hours for the lowest total of the series. Procter in his second Test further enhanced his status by taking four wickets. One batsman after another lost his wicket to injudicious strokes. The quality of the batting was completely out of character with the situation.

Nothing less than an outright victory could keep Australia in the picture and after the first innings débâcle their self-imposed task became one of gigantic proportions. On the first day play started late and at lunch the score was a carefully compiled 43 for one.

Shortly after the resumption three wickets fell without a run being scored and in the two-hour period to tea only 73 runs were added for the loss of six wickets.

The position from the Australian viewpoint deteriorated even further before bad light stopped play eighty minutes early, the last three wickets in a sensational day's play falling to Procter.

Denis Lindsay figured prominently throughout the remainder of the match. He came to the wicket at 120 when Goddard was dismissed after three and a quarter hours of patient application. The wicket-keeper hooked and drove all the bowlers with consummate ease. His 50 took only forty-eight minutes; his 100, crowned with a beautiful off-drive off Cowper, came one hour later -- the third fastest in post-war Tests and the fastest of the present series.

On his way to his third century of the series, Lindsay became the highest wicket-keeper scorer in a Test series, exceeding the 525 runs by the Indian, B.K. Kunderan, against England in 1963-4.

When play ended with South Africa 266 for seven, Lindsay had thrashed his way to 111 of the 146 scored whilst he was at the wicket, and added another 20 runs the following afternoon when rain prevented the resumption of play until 4 p.m. His 131 in two hours, forty minutes included four 6's and fourteen 4's.

The fourth day, with the outfield completely awash, was blank, but the fantastic powers of recovery of this ground enabled play to start promptly on the final morning.

Van der Merwe had declared 189 ahead, leaving Australia half an hour's batting on the third evening when Procter moved one in slightly and nudged Lawry's off-stump, making 13 for one at the close.

Three more wickets fell before lunch. Redpath was holding the fort and Chappell partnered him after the interval. The next two hours were fought on the basis of survival, the actual business of run-making being at a discount.

Redpath went after two hours, but Stackpole did not last long. Veivers gave the Australian supporters some comfort. He was going nicely until lured into touching one going away. That was seven for 148 and Lindsay's 20th wicket of the series.

Watson made the long return journey without the slightest contribution and Chappell, content to keep an end intact, was joined by McKenzie five minutes from the tea interval. Ominous rain clouds hovered overhead and news filtered through of torrential rain only a few miles away.

The Springboks, eager for the kill, took the field ahead of the umpires, accompanied by light rain and poor light. The batsmen appealed against the conditions but it was ruled that play should continue and Goddard resumed bowling. After he had sent down three balls the heavens opened and the umpires lifted the bails.

© John Wisden & Co