Fourth Test Match

South Africa v Australia 1969-70

Bacher, in his first series as captain, was determined on a clean sweep for the first time in South Africa's history; whereas victory for the Australians could only salvage a portion of their damaged prestige. South Africa's only change was Trimborn for Trevor Goddard, who had announced his retirement from first-class cricket. McKenzie, after a three week lay-off on medical advice, returned to replace Freeman.

Bacher's lucky coin worked the oracle for the fourth time in succession and Richards and Barlow gave vent to their appreciation by recording the only century opening partnership of the series. Barlow's innings was virtually without blemish, but Richards was dropped at 55 and again at 77. After toiling for three and a half hours, the great-hearted Connolly dismissed both batsmen within five minutes of each other, and Gleeson's 50th wicket of the tour was the valuable scalp of Graeme Pollock. The idol of Port Elizabeth had been dismissed for a single and three Springbok wickets had fallen for two runs in fourteen deliveries.

Gleeson suffered through at least three dropped catches, but Connolly, whose six for 47 was his best performance in 28 Tests, captured his 100th Test innings when Traicos touched one to Taber for the wicket-keeper's fifth catch of the innings.

Procter, Pollock and Trimborn gradually made their way through the Australian batsmen but once again Redpath and Sheahan, both of whom played the short rising deliveries with confidence, put up stout resistance. Sheahan made the top score with an impressive 67 and his dismissal earned Pollock his 50th wicket in Tests against Australia, whose 212 was their highest first-innings total in the four Tests.

When South Africa batted a second time good bowling and tight field setting forced the opening batsmen to fight for every run. Richards again played the dominant part and after Barlow's dismissal ran amok and punished all the bowlers. He reached his second Test hundred out of 159 in three and a quarter hours, giving his first chance at 111, and with his score at 118 brought his total for the series to 500. A quarter of an hour later, after four hours at the crease, he played a tired stroke to Mayne and South Africa were 199 for two. Richards hit two 6's and twelve 4's. Graeme Pollock failed for the second time in front of his home crowd.

On the fourth day, with 235 for three on the board, Bacher and Irvine resumed the quest for runs. The Springbok captain had the misfortune to dislodge a bail after reaching his highest Test score, but Lindsay, celebrating a life at 13, found his touch and proceeded to overhaul Irvine. When Gleeson came on, the wicketkeeper took 4 off each of the last five balls of an over and reached 50 in forty-eight minutes. Two overs from Gleeson produced 35 runs and the two-hour morning session added 162 runs to the total. After lunch, by which time the wind had increased to gale force, any hope a fieldsman might have had of positioning himself under a lofted ball had disappeared. In these conditions Irvine scored his maiden Test hundred, after lives at 86, 99 and 101, in two hours, fifty-one minutes.

When Bacher declared with an unassailable lead of 569, Australia's fate was sealed. Peter Pollock pulled a hamstring in his second over but it made little or no difference for Procter and Barlow had removed the top four batsmen for 134 by the end of the fourth day. Australia's fate now rested on the shoulders of the not-out batsmen, Walters and Sheahan. Both played attractively, taking the total to 189 before Trimborn removed Sheahan. Walters had the misfortune to chop a ball from Procter on to his wicket and from that success the Springbok fast bowler, despite a severe attack of 'flu, took four wickets in a row for his best performance in seven Tests. Connolly averted the hat-trick, but Trimborn soon took his wicket and South Africa had administered the coup de grĂ¢ce.

© John Wisden & Co