Toss: England. Test debuts: South Africa - J.E.Pothecary.
England won with a day to spare and, with three successive victories, settled the rubber. Again there was no disputing England's superiority in fast bowling and close fielding. On the other hand, South Africa again found the dice loaded against them. McGlew lost the toss for the third consecutive time; Waite dislocated the little finger of his left hand when keeping wicket early in the afternoon of the first day so that he batted at number eight instead of three and, after the touring team followed-on 199 behind and were battling bravely, McGlew was run out in unfortunate circumstances which caused a heated controversy.
The Nottinghamshire County Club deserved to be complimented on solving the problem of their hitherto docile pitch. More use of the heavy roller and less watering produced a dry, hard surface so that the ball came through at a good pace and the bowlers acquired reasonable lift from a decent length. As at Lord's, England left out R.W. Barber from the chosen twelve; South Africa introduced Pothecary to Test cricket in place of Griffin.
South Africa did extremely well on the first day for, although Cowdrey at last regained form for his country, they put down half the wickets for 154 before a stand of 75 by Barrington and Illingworth held them up. At the close seven wickets had fallen for 242. England, 82 for one at lunch, could claim to have begun satisfactorily, but Adcock bowled Dexter first ball after the interval. While Pothecary was steady and commanded respect, Adcock, Goddard and Tayfield proved a resolute trio and despite Cowdrey staying two hours and fifty minutes for 67 (eight 4s), England never mastered the attack.
A fine return by McLean from the deep ran out Parks and then came the partnership between Barrington and Illingworth. At length Tayfield held a hard return and disposed of Illingworth. With five minutes left, Goddard surprised Barrington with a ball which lifted and O'Linn, the efficient deputy wicket-keeper, seized the catch. Barrington (seven 4s) gave an almost faultless display lasting three hours fifty minutes.
More fine bowling by Goddard marked the beginning of the second day. A dull morning gave way to a clear sky, but the cricket scarcely matched the brilliant sunshine. Apart from a few gay strokes by Trueman, the England tail were in stubborn mood. Walker took ninety-five minutes to make 30 and England occupied seventy-five minutes adding only 45. Goddard achieved a fine performance in taking five wickets for the third time in a Test innings in England.
Whereas the England innings occupied seven hours, South Africa were dismissed in two hours fifty minutes for 88, their lowest total in England for 36 years since making 30 at Edgbaston in 1924. It was also the lowest total of a completed innings in any Test at Trent Bridge. The batsmen were powerless against an attack consisting solely of fast bowlers. Statham and Trueman were in deadly form. The collapse began when McGlew, fending a rising ball from his head, was caught by Parks off his glove from the last delivery of the first over. The early loss of their captain on top of the injury to Waite proved a demoralising blow to South Africa. O'Linn was brilliantly caught at short square leg and then Goddard and McLean unwisely attempted a sharp single to Dexter at cover and Goddard paid the penalty.
When Statham, bowling for the first time at Trueman's end, promptly sent back McLean and Wesley with successive balls, half the side were out for 33 and South Africa's fate was sealed. Fellows-Smith alone gave any trouble and the batsmen remained helpless when they followed on at 4.45 p.m. This time Fellows-Smith went in at number three, but in forty minutes Goddard, Fellows-Smith and McLean were put out for 34 before bad light followed by rain ended cricket sixty-five minutes early.
McGlew, O'Linn and Waite won the admiration of the crowd of 11,000 on Saturday for the tenacious way they faced the bowling and took the Test into the fourth day after it had looked to be almost over on Friday evening. This was a noble fight in the best traditions of cricket and emphasised once more that a game is never lost until it is won.
For the first time on the tour, McGlew gave of his best. He looked a class batsman again and was receiving all the help he needed when, with the stand having put on 91 in two hours, the South African captain was run out. The left-handed O'Linn played a ball from Moss to extra cover and went for a reasonably quick single. Moss dashed across the pitch to chase it and McGlew ran into his back. He stumbled and darted for the crease, but Statham had picked up and with unerring aim hit the stumps.
Cowdrey and the other England players near the broken wicket promptly appealed and Elliott, the square-leg umpire, signalled out. Elliott's decision was correct because Moss had not deliberately baulked McGlew. McGlew never hesitates when given out, but as he hastened towards the pavilion the crowd voiced their disapproval of the circumstances of his dismissal. Three times Cowdrey called to him to come back, and when he did the England captain asked the umpires if it was possible to change the verdict, but they were adamant.
There was an incident at Christchurch in March 1951believed to be unique in Test cricket. Washbrook was given out leg-before but Hadlee, the New Zealand captain, stopped Washbrook on his way out and told the umpire that he felt certain that Washbrook had hit the ball on to his pad. Washbrook was allowed to continue his innings and Wisden reported that the ethics of this action caused considerable discussion.
O'Linn did not allow the departure of his captain to affect him, but soon after lunch Statham again took two wickets with successive balls, Carlstein being caught at second slip and Wesley brilliantly snapped up by Parks diving low with the left hand. Wesley had the misfortune to be out first ball in both innings -- a king pair.
This meant six wickets were down for 122, but O'Linn found another worthy helper in Waite and even Trueman and Statham with the new ball did not deter them. They put on 109 in two and a half hours before Moss, England's best bowler that day, had Waite leg-before, the ball keeping low. O'Linn continued to battle away in his own peculiar style. Perseverance and concentration were his main assets, but he hooked, cut and drove past cover with flashing strokes until, looking for the shot that would have given him a well-deserved hundred, he was splendidly caught high with the right hand by Cowdrey at second slip. Excepting the first half-hour, O'Linn batted through an innings of six hours and his sure judgment in choosing the ball to punish earned him fifteen 4's.
England wanted only 49 to win and Cowdrey and Subba Row made 25 in the last half-hour on Saturday. Then the weather intervened and nothing could be done before 3 p.m. on Monday. Heavy clouds still threatened to stop the game and when the scores were level both Cowdrey and Dexter fell. South Africa sent down 19 more deliveries before Barrington made the winning hit, a chance to Goddard in the slips. So ended yet another controversial Test.