Fourth Test


At Cape Town, January 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Drawn. Toss: South Africa. Test debut: D. J. Cullinan.

A slow-scoring series reached its nadir as the teams averaged 1.83 runs an over in a match which at times came close to being a travesty. South Africa clinched the series 1-0 by drawing and this was clearly their solitary ambition in spite of positive pre-match statements; the win money for drawn Tests was being added to the series-winners' pool, which gave South Africa an incentive to be negative. However, India batted even more slowly, their sights seemingly set only on a first-innings lead. They fell short by 84 runs after ten and a quarter hours of drudgery. A pitch lacking pace and bounce was another guilty party.

South Africa occupied the crease for most of the first two days as they compiled the first total of 300 in the series. A shaky start was partially redeemed by Rhodes and Cullinan, who added 99 in 40 overs for the fifth wicket. The innings meandered even more on the second day: McMillan, who was dropped twice, was in 69 overs for 52.

India's innings crawled along on the third day; hourly run-rates of 31, 21, 30, 18, 22 and 26 brought 148 runs in a six-hour day. Their most substantial stand, 85 in 58 overs, came from Manjrekar and Prabhakar. Manjrekar was two when he swept a ball from Henry into the grille of Hudson's helmet at short leg, where it was no longer in play under Law 23. Prabhakar batted nearly five and a quarter hours for 62.

There were two bursts of wickets, interrupted by a livelier stand between Tendulkar and Kapil Dev, but it was too late to help anyone. Srinath dismissed Hudson and Cronje before the close of the fourth day and contributed another fiery spell on the last day, but South Africa plodded on again, extracting only 71 runs from 59 overs before tea. Wessels made a token declaration 20 minutes after tea and the match was given up as early as possible. During the drinks break on the third morning, cricket and ANC officials had Joined the players on the field to mark the death of Dr Danie Craven, the president of the South African Rugby Union.

Man of the Match: J. Srinath. Man of the Series: A. A. Donald.

Close of play: First day, South Africa 189-5 (J. N. Rhodes 61*, B. M. McMillan 4*); Second day, India 13-0 (A. D. Jadeja 4*, M. Prabhakar 7*); Third day, India 161-5 (S. R. Tendulkar 9*, S. L. V. Raju 2*); Fourth day, South Africa 48-2 (K. C. Wessels 29*, P. N. Kirsten 7*).

© John Wisden & Co