At Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, February 19, 20, 21, 23, 24. South Africa won by 307 runs. This match was vital to Australia if the series was to be saved. Each team made one change, Mayne replacing McKenzie, the man who had been the backbone of the Australian attack for many years. At the moment he appeared to be tired--physically and mentally--and totally unable to shake off the cloak of lethargy which appeared to envelop him. Lindsay regained his place as the Springbok wicket-keeper at the expense of Gamsy. Bacher again won the toss and South Africa's victory was no less convincing than in the first two Tests.
In the first innings only 77 runs separated the sides, the margin being in the Springboks' favour. Connolly's two for 45 in an unbroken 26 overs was a magnificent effort and, as usual, the main burden of the visitor's attack was shouldered by the Middlesex professional and Gleeson. The latter, with eight wickets, brought his total to 16 in three Tests.
Richards again played well for 65, but Pollock, who survived two straight-forward chances, was completely out of touch. The positions were reversed in the second innings when Richards floundered, whereas Pollock drove, cut and pulled with complete assurance. Irvine, improving with each Test, reached the seventies in each innings, though not without his moments of anxiety in the early stages--particularly against Gleeson. Barlow registered his second hundred of the series during a fighting five hours which included one 6 and twelve 4's and was his sixth Test century and the 22nd of his career.
In the Australian first innings Walters (64) and Sheahan (44) propped up the batting which otherwise had a very sparse look. Prospects were not very bright when the Springboks topped 400 and Bacher left his opponents another formidable target--this time 486 in eight hours, ten minutes. Any hopes the Australian supporters may have cherished of a typical back-to-the-wall action never materialised. Stackpole went at 11; Barlow repeated his familiar two-wicket breakthrough and both Chappell and Lawry left with the total 43. Procter produced two beautiful deliveries and clean bowled Walters and Sheahan at 73. The fourth day ended with the Australians 88 for five and heading for their third defeat in a row.
Redpath was still there with 50 to his credit and the result of the match appeared to hinge on the support he received from his colleagues and Freeman in particular. The score mounted to 122 when Sheahan, acting as runner for the injured Freeman, attempted an impossible second run and Freeman paid the penalty. Mayne, Redpath and Gleeson went in quick succession and four wickets had fallen in eleven minutes for only four runs. Connolly spent a carefree half hour before holing out, for Goddard to capture a wicket with his final delivery in international cricket.