First Test Match

NEW ZEALAND v SOUTH AFRICA 1952-53

There was never any doubt about their superiority. They displayed batting and bowling form far above that of New Zealand and the fielding bore no comparison. Whereas South Africa held their catches and reduced the value of many hits by splendid ground work, New Zealand threw away countless runs by poor fielding. This weakness did much to determine the result. Sluggishness in the field on the first day, and even worse form on the Saturday, in no small way contributed to the fact that New Zealand faced a score of 524 for eight wickets declared.

For this commendable total South Africa were indebted mainly to McGlew. Returning to the side after one month's absence through a broken finger, he hit 255 not out, the highest individual score for South Africa in Tests. His innings contained many polished strokes, and not until reaching 175 did he give a chance. Murray also batted well, helping McGlew put on 246 for the seventh wicket -- another Test record for South Africa. It beat the 123 by H. G. Deans and E. P. Nupen against England at Durban twenty-five years earlier. New Zealand's only encouragement came during a fine spell of bowling by Blair, a newcomer and the only pace man included. On the first day he dismissed Waite, Endean and McLean at a personal cost of eight runs.

South Africa's attack always appeared capable of earning victory, with the medium pace swing bowling of Watkins and the off-spinners of Tayfield particularly dangerous. The one batsman who threatened to master them was Sutcliffe, although even he was not at his best. Leggat helped Sutcliffe in an opening partnership of 71, but nine wickets fell on the third day for the addition of 92. Following on 352 runs behind, New Zealand again fell victims of accurate bowling and keen fielding and they could not improve on the first display. In fact they were dismissed for 172 in each innings.

© John Wisden & Co