Third Test Match

SOUTH AFRICA v NEW ZEALAND 1953-54

Toss: New Zealand. Test debuts: South Africa - R.J.Westcott; New Zealand - W.Bell, I.B.Leggat

New Zealand accomplished their best performance of the Test series by making the highest total in the history of their country's Test cricket and enforcing a follow-on, but South Africa found little difficulty in playing out time for a draw. Twice during their innings the New Zealanders broke their record for any wicket in a Test against South Africa. Rabone and Chapple, cautious and sound, made 126 for the first wicket, but Reid and Beck exceeded this with 174 for the fifth partnership.

The pitch, slow and easy, gave not the slightest encouragement to the bowlers, yet the opening stand lasted for three and a quarter hours. At times the slow scoring irritated the crowd, but the batsmen laid sound foundations and on the second day Reid and Beck scored rapidly. In two hours between lunch and tea they added 165. Reid, batting chancelessly for three and three-quarter hours, used a wide range of strokes and hit two 6's and eighteen 4's. Beck, playing in his second Test, suffered the mortification of being run out one short of a hundred. Beck enjoyed four lives, and in all ten chances were missed by South Africa, although they excelled in ground fielding.

After their gruelling time in the field, the South Africans laboured when they went in, and none of the early batsmen faced the tall MacGibbon and Rabone with much confidence. McGlew, by stern defence, however, managed to stay for four and a half hours before falling to a splendid low catch by Sutcliffe which was typical of the way the touring team held their chances. Cheetham, displaying strong leg-side strokes in his highest Test innings, dimmed New Zealand's hope of victory, and he was helped by Tayfield in a defiant ninth-wicket stand of 95. Even so, South Africa were compelled to follow-on, but with time running short and the pitch remaining favourable to batsmen they easily saved the match.

© John Wisden & Co