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From nearly every point of view, the ninth South African tour of England proved disappointing. England soon settled the rubber by winning the first three Tests and, though the last two were drawn and showed the visitors in a more favourable light, the team returned home with almost nothing to reveal for their efforts.
Several factors told against the side of fifteen players who had two experienced leaders in D.G. McGlew, the captain, and Dudley Nourse, the manager. The tour began under a cloud with the Apartheid troubles in South Africa and antagonistic feelings over the same question in Great Britain. Indeed, at one stage it was suggested that the tour should be cancelled and M.C.C. gave the South Africa board the option of doing so, but they decided to come and, all things considered, this proved a wise decision. Unfortunately, it was a wet summer. There were demonstrations of a minor character outside the majority of the grounds where the South Africans played as well as on their arrival at London Airport.
On top of all this, the South Africans soon found themselves embroiled in a throwing controversy regarding the legitimacy of the action of Griffin, one of their two genuine fast bowlers. To add to their troubles the two opening batsmen, McGlew and Goddard, failed to come up to expectations in the Tests and none of the young players really did themselves justice.
From the financial angle the tour was a failure. Whereas the South Africans took back a profit of £36,000 from their previous tour of England in 1955, this time their share of the gates did not quite cover their expenses of £35,000. The big fall in attendances was not due entirely to anti-apartheid motives. The weather and television kept people away. Indeed, Nourse said at the end of the tour that, when the weather is bad or doubtful, it is not surprising that people will not risk five shillings for cricket when they can sit comfortably at home and watch not only cricket, but racing, boxing, athletics and any other sport that happens to be taking place.
When one examines the results of earlier tours of England by South Africa the over-all achievements of McGlew's side compare favourably with those of their predecessors. They won 14 of their first-class fixtures and only the 1955 combination, with 15 wins, and that of 1935, with 17 wins, did better. The record of Alan Melville's team of 1947 was almost similar to that of 1960: Played 28, Won 14, Drawn 9, Lost 5. They, too, lost three Tests and drew two.
Lack of sunshine was undoubtedly the biggest handicap for not only did it affect the batting of the stalwarts, but it had a particularly adverse effect on the development of the younger men like Carlstein, Pithey and Wesley.
Like most other cricketing countries South Africa found themselves lacking in enterprising batsmen. They possessed only one capable of demoralising an attack and he was McLean, on whom far too much responsibility rested. Beginning with 207 in his first innings at Worcester, McLean played many dazzling innings, including South Africa's solitary century in the five Tests, 109 at Old Trafford, and as Nourse remarked, how different things might have been if only the side had had two more men like McLean.
Their troubles in the Tests began with Statham and Trueman. The two England fast bowlers shared 52 wickets in the five games; Moss, the third pace man, took nine in two matches; Dexter got five and only 13 wickets fell to the England slow bowlers.
South Africa's misfortunes extended even to the toss which was won by Cowdrey, the England captain, in all five Tests, but this may have been a blessing in disguise, for twice England took the risk of batting when the conditions were more difficult than later in the proceedings.
Not for the first time South Africa gambled on a fast bowler with a doubtful action. In 1951, McCarthy escaped official disapproval on the part of the umpires. Indeed, until 1960, no visiting cricketer to England had been called for throwing. History was made at Lord's during the match against M.C.C. in May when F.S. Lee and John Langridge no-balled Griffin three times for throwing. A week later at Trent Bridge two more umpires, Bartley and Copson, called him eight times for the same offence in the Nottinghamshire match.
After that Griffin went to A.R. Gover, the former Surrey and England fast bowler, for an intensive three-day coaching course which took place on the ground of the Spencer Cricket Club, Wandsworth. He came through the Whitsun match against Glamorgan at Cardiff and the first Test at Edgbaston without being faulted, but the trouble recurred when he was bowling against Hampshire at Southampton, both umpires, Parks and Elliott, calling him six times in all for throwing.
Matters finally came to a head in the second Test at Lord's. In England's only innings, Lee called Griffin eleven times for the same offence. Buller, the other umpire, had no opportunity during the Test to pass judgment on his action, but he was at square-leg in the exhibition which followed when McGlew put on Griffin. Buller looked at him from that position, then crossed to point, and on returning to square-leg called him four times, the bowler completing the over under-arm.
Altogether seven first-class umpires condemned Griffin's action as unfair and he was no-balled for throwing 28 times in four first-class matches apart from the exhibition game. At the conclusion of the first Test, when Griffin bowled without venom, Mr. Foster Bowley, vice-president of the South African Cricket Association, who was present at Edgbaston, telephoned his board, after a discussion with members of the team (McGlew, Goddard and Waite), suggesting that another player should be sent, but this was turned down. Then, following the controversy which raged at the end of the second Test, Mr. Geoffrey Chubb, the President of the South African Cricket Association who had recently arrived in England, announced that it had been decided that Griffin would continue as a member of the touring team, but for reasons obvious to all he would not bowl any more while in this country.
Amidst all his troubles, Griffin not only celebrated his twenty-first birthday during the Edgbaston Test but a fortnight later he performed the hat-trick -- the first in a Test for South Africa and the first in any Test at Lord's. A.R. Gover said that he found that Griffin's main trouble, apart from any bent arm, was an early opening up at the wicket, and a tendency to bowl from the edge of the crease. This had the effect of getting the right shoulder in front of the left at the moment of delivery. There was little or no follow-through and to get his speed there was a late acceleration of the bowling arm which caused the umpire's doubt as to the fairness of the action. When he changed his style and turned his left shoulder to the batsman on arriving at the wicket there was loss of pace as revealed in the Edgbaston Test. At Lord's Griffin put all he could into his bowling and slipped back into his old way.
Despite the ineffectiveness of Griffin and his withdrawal from the attack, South Africa were not let down by their bowlers. Except at Lord's and The Oval they always dismissed England for less than 300. They were greatly indebted to Adcock, one of the most hostile bowlers in present-day cricket. That he went through such a strenuous tour without breaking down was due to the trouble he took to attain a perfect standard of physical fitness some months before he began his exacting task. He easily headed the bowling with 108 wickets at 14.02 runs each and his 26 wickets in the five Tests equalled the South African record set up by his colleague Tayfield on the previous tour of England.
Tayfield, if almost innocuous in the Tests -- his 12 wickets cost 37.83 runs each -- got through a tremendous amount of work during the tour which earned him 123 wickets. Goddard, the vice-captain, again showed his usefulness as an all-rounder by scoring 1,377 runs and taking 73 wickets, but he had not advanced as expected after his most promising tour of 1955. Brought up in modern cricket, he lacked initiative. More use might have been made of Fellows-Smith, Pothecary and McKinnon as bowlers, especially earlier in the tour. Perhaps Pothecary, who shared the new ball with Adcock after the withdrawal of Griffin from the attack, was the biggest disappointment.
A glance at the batting averages in the Tests compared with those for all first-class matches reveals the main weakness of the team. Waite, who headed the Test figures, played four innings of 50 and he also kept wicket competently, completing 100 victims behind the stumps in Test cricket, but generally the fielding fell a long way below the standard set by the sides led by J. E. Cheetham.
If lack of determination and concentration could be levelled against most of the younger players no such accusation could be attached to O'Linn. This was his first experience of Test cricket, but some years previously he had spent two seasons with Kent and he showed that, with perseverance, even an ordinary county cricketer could succeed in a higher circle. A stocky left-hander, he played one memorable innings of 98 in the Nottingham Test and could generally be relied upon to keep up his end in a tight situation. Early in the tour Pithey, a tall right-hander, displayed promise for he began with scores of 76 and 96, but illness compelled him to miss some matches and he never regained his confidence.
Wesley, a squat left-hander, chosen for his aggressiveness, proved too uncertain in defence against the best bowlers. Statham dismissed him first ball in each innings of the Trent Bridge Test, but he came up smiling in the very next match and made his highest score --90 - against Leicestershire at Leicester. Carlstein, a tall right-handed batsman, looked, at the age of 21, to be the most promising of the young brigade. When the sun shone at Southampton he played a sparkling innings of 151 against Hampshire and he seemed to possess both the ability and the right temperament to succeed. Duckworth disappointed as a batsman, but was a fine deputy wicket-keeper as O'Linn also proved when called upon in an emergency in the third Test.
For the first time in a Test series, the matches were played with the leg-side field limited to five men, including only two behind the popping crease. This was a concession by South Africa for it curbed Goddard's customary leg-stump attack but only rarely did the batsmen on either side make real use of the scope offered. McLean, was seen to advantage in this respect at Edgbaston and Old Trafford, and Cowdrey and Pullar at The Oval.
McGlew and his players, Griffin in particular, comported themselves splendidly both on and off the field. It was a trying tour and they made a host of friends. Before the team flew home, Dudley Nourse paid a tribute to the British sporting public for giving them a hearty welcome wherever they went and for extending such liberal hospitality.
Match reports for
Marylebone Cricket Club v South Africans at Lord's, May 21-24, 1960