First Test match

England v South Africa 1935

Played at NOTTINGHAM, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, June 15, 17, 18. Drawn. In the first Test match ever played at Trent Bridge between England and South Africa, a saturated wicket prevented cricket on the third day and the visitors escaped from a very threatening position. The game was left drawn with South Africa 147 runs behind and one wicket down in their second innings.

Wyatt, repeating his success of 1929 in hitting a three-figure score in a Test match against South Africa, and Nichols, who bowled with a tremendous zest on Monday when he took seven wickets for seven runs apiece, were outstanding successes for England. Twelfth man in three of the 1934 Tests against Australia, Nichols proved to be not the only bowler capable of making use of the conditions on the second day, when Wyatt, very reasonably expecting that the wicket would be awkward as it dried, declared first thing. Fortunately for the touring team, the pitch never became diffcult but the ball always required close watching and following the luncheon and tea intervals the batting definitely broke down and South Africa followed on 164 behind.

After the withdrawal owing to injury of Denis Smith of Derbyshire, one of the twelve players picked for the match, Iddon, of Lancashire, was asked to be present at Trent Bridge and he gained a place at the exclusion of I. A. R. Peebles. To Mitchell-Innes fell the rare distinction of playing for England when still an undergraduate. Hardstaff was England's twelfth man. To the general surprise, South Africa omitted Bell, the bowler who it was thought, had been kept back for the important matches, and included Tomlinson, the slow bowler.

England on Saturday scoring 384 for seven wickets, established themselves in a position making their defeat almost impossible, but on a beautifully easy wicket several of the batsmen did not push along as fast as they should have done when the shine had gone from the ball. Wyatt adequately fulfilled the role of opening batsman. He and Sutcliffe stayed together until a few minutes before lunchtime, and put 118 runs on then board. Not before nearly half-past five did Wyatt's carefully played innings close. With Leyland, England's captain set up a new fourth wicket record for England and South Africa Tests, the 122 by Hayward (T.) and A. J. L. Hill at Johannesburg in 1895-96 being surpassed by the addition of 139. Tha partnership lasted practically two hours.

Only in the later stages of his innings did Wyatt reveal any strong desire to force runs. He gave the impression of hitting the ball into the ground, but he put the full weight of his body into some on-drives and when cutting the slow bowlers showed sound execution of stroke. After an early escape in the gully Wyatt was laborious at times, but he hit seventeen 4's while scoring 149 out of 318, during a stay of almost five hours. Leyland, fifth out at 325, proved the one piece of forcing batting, and looked best when stepping back to force the ball past mid-off. Sent in before Robins - a much criticised procedure - Iddon in the last hour made some effort to hurry the score along but South Africa's fielding never deteriorated very much, Viljoen, Nourse and Rowan saving many runs and Wade, by his swift and certain work close in at mid-off, being a real inspiration to his team.

After rain during the weekend, Siedle on Monday afforded emphatic proof of his strength in defence. That Wyatt expected the wicket to suit spin bowlers became evident when he put Verity on at 15 and kept him on until the total had reached 156. After Mitchell, at 42, was bowled by a ball that sent one of the bails fully 30 yards behind the wicket, Rowan batted with discretion and much confidence in a stand with Siedle productive of 56 in 80 minutes but a minor collapse following the luncheon interval , taken at 98 for one, South Africa had four men out for 120. Siedle, after playing with commendable skill and steadiness for about three hours, began to take some risks and failing completely in an attempt to pull Verity and possibly to force Mitchell-Innes to field deeper than silly mid-on, was bowled. Fourth to leave, he hit six 4's and scored the bulk of his runs on the leg side. Hard driving by Cameron forced Wyatt to experiment frequently with his bowlers, but Wade, scoring no more than 18 in an hour and three-quarters, watched the ball closely, and South Africa at tea, with half their wickets in hand needed no more than 39 to dispel the danger of the follow-on.

After the interval Nichols began a series of successes. Cameron. who hit eight 4's in scoring 52 out of 78 in an hour fifty minutes, left in the third over following the resumption and from this success Nichols carried almost everything before him. With the fifth ball of the same over, he had Vincent lbw and Tomlinson snicked the next ball hard at Ames at the wicket - a very diffcult and unaccepted chance. Taking the new ball, Nichols claimed two wickets in one over and so secured all the last five wickets that fell after tea for 24 runs.

Nichols in this spell sent down 7.5 overs (4 maidens) for 13 runs and 5 wickets. Eight of the runs were palpable snicks to the boundary by Tomlinson. He bowled with great pace and accuracy, putting tremendous effort into his deliveries and frequently bringing the ball back sharply from the off. In the follow-on he secured his seventh wicket of the day by getting Siedle caught at backward short leg, but Mitchell and Rowan played out time.

Rain fell without cessation for some ten hours during Monday night and showers next morning kept the ground saturated, but the decision to abandon the match was not taken until four o'clock. On two days of play the total attendance was 21,584.

© John Wisden & Co