First Test Match


At Newlands, Cape Town, January 22, 23, 24, 26, 27. South Africa won by 170 runs. They made an excellent start to the four-match series by inflicting the first defeat on an Australian team in sixty years of Test cricket at Newlands. Bacher, who won the toss, must have viewed his captaincy debut with satisfaction. In addition to a sound fifty he handled his rampant attack with skill and matched Lawry with intelligent field placing. Four new caps were introduced by the Springboks-- Richards, Irvine, Gamsy and Chevalier--and each in his own sphere justified his place. Barlow reached his fifth Test century--his fourth against Australia in eleven Tests--after five hours of industrious application. In all he batted six hours--one 6 and eleven 4's--but in common with Goddard, Richards and Pollock he had his moments of good fortune and made the most of dropped catches.

Australia began on a sensational note. With the total only five, Lawry and Chappell gave Peter Pollock his first two wickets of the series within the space of four deliveries. Then it was Procter's turn, for he combined with Barlow to dismiss Stackpole and Redpath--and the board read 39 for four. Sheahan joined the procession which gave Chevalier a wicket with his fifth Test delivery and right on time Taber was leg-before-wicket to Seymour. Australia, six down for 92, was almost unbelievable and yet the pattern persisted throughout the series when a similar collapse occurred in at least one innings of each Test.

Walters (73) played his best innings of the tour and was the only batsman to give an indication of his true ability. The second innings developed into a two-man show and in their battle to stave off defeat Lawry and Redpath received little support from their colleagues. The reason for Australia's surprisingly poor effort could only be attributed to an inane desire to play at rising deliveries outside the line, or a failure to get behind the ball. A natural sequel was for the South African bowlers to persist in this lucrative type of delivery which was supported by brilliant catching in the area behind the wicket.

Of the attack, McKenzie was unrecognizable as the man South Africa feared three years earlier. Connolly, however, was most impressive and his seven wickets were due reward for his intelligent variation of pace and swing. The spinners, Mallett and Gleeson, had a good match and no batsman at Newlands could claim to have mastered them. Luck was not on their side and it was a tribute to their skill, and to Lawry's superb field placing, that they confined the top South African batsmen to a run off every third delivery.

© John Wisden & Co