Australia 4 South Africa 0

The Australian team in South Africa 1935-36

For the first time Australia, in their season of 1935-36, sent a team direct to South Africa and, as with the sides captained by Joe Darling, H. L. Collins and W. W. Armstrong, who broke their return journeys from England at the Cape for a few matches, the players led by V. Y. Richardson met with uninterrupted success apart from three drawn games. All the thirteen victories were gained with ease, ten in a single innings. Three of the five Tests ended in this decisive fashion; the first with a margin of nine wickets, while rain prevented a finish to the second. This splendid work was accomplished by these fourteen players:

  • V. Y. Richardson ( South Australia) (captain).
  • B. A. Barnett ( Victoria).
  • W. A. Brown (N.S.W.).
  • A. G. Chipperfield (N.S.W.).
  • L. S. Darling ( Victoria).
  • J. H. Fingleton (N.S.W.).
  • L. O'B. Fleetwood-Smith ( Victoria).
  • C. V. Grimmett ( South Australia).
  • S. J. McCabe (N.S.W.).
  • E. L. McCormick ( Victoria).
  • L. P. O'Brien ( Victoria).
  • W. A. Oldfield (N.S.W.).
  • W. J. O'Reilly (N.S.W.).
  • M. W. Sievers ( Victoria).
  • Manager: S. H. D. Rowe ( Western Australia).

Nine of the team visited England in 1934. The retirement of W. H. Ponsford and W. M. Woodfull and the inability of D. G. Bradman to make the trip afforded opportunities for batsmen of less renown to show their worth and the averages indicate clearly how Fingleton, McCabe, Brown, Chipperfield, Darling and O'Brien rose to the occasion. Consequently the absence of three of England's most tiresome opponents did not matter. Most important was the manner in which Fingleton and Brown opened the innings. In the second Test they put up 105; they began the third with a stand for 233 and made 162 together in the concluding match of the rubber at Durban. Fingleton made centuries in three consecutive Test innings, so equalling the achievements of Herbert Sutcliffe for in England in Australia in 1924-25 and of C. G. MacArtney for Australia in England in 1926. When either of the opening batsmen did little, McCabe performed well by helping in valuable second wicket stands - for 161 in the first Test with Brown, and for 177 in the second Test (second innings) with Fingleton. Naturally such heartening starts in batting paved the way for large totals which necessarily lightened the task of the bowlers in attacking opponents faced with an uphill struggle. In such circumstances Grimmett and O'Reilly used their skill in flighting and spinning the ball with bewildering effect off batsmen who at times seemed quite demoralized. To such a extent did these two slow bowlers monopolise their deadly use of the ball that in the five Tests they shared 71 out of 98 wickets, While in the whole tour they dismissed 187 batsmen, seven other bowlers taking 102 between them. Grimmett carried off chief honours on the great occasions and he set up two records. His 44 wickets is the largest number taken by any Australian bowler in a series of Tests and this figure raised his aggregate to 216, surpassing the 189 credited to S. F. Barnes whose career for England closed in 1914 when, for the M.C.C. team under J. W. H. T. Douglas in South Africa, he took 49 wickets in the Tests. Grimmett's total comprises 106 wickets against England, 77 against South Africa, 33 against West Indies. O'Reilly claimed slightly better figures than Grimmett's for the whole tour. McCormick, the fast bowler, gave most assistance and it is noteworthy that in the five representative games Richardson called upon no more than six men, of whom Chipperfield alone failed to get a wicket. Fleetwood-Smith injured a finger and could not play during the last two months of the tour.

In winning the rubber Australia suffered just one check when in the second contest A. D. Nourse by scoring 231 - the highest individual innings for South Africa in any Test match - set a fourth innings task impossible of accomplishment. A storm saved South Africa and left McCabe not out 189 - the highest score by an Australian throughout the tour. Only once were the Australians led on the first innings, then by merely 16, in the second match with Natal whose slight advantage received in reply the highest of Fingleton's six centuries - 167. For the most part the Australians fielded. In their usual dashing style. Oldfield maintained his form behind the stumps and he played an innings of 132 at Kimberley. Barnett, his deputy, kept wicket well. Victor Richardson carried out the duties of leader admirably and his skill in placing the field contributed largely to the dominating influence obtained over the batsmen by the slow bowlers.

To find explanations, if not excuses, for the losing country is neither consoling to their players nor complimentary to the winners, but with regard to the complete subjection of South Africa at home it must be said that they faced the conquerors of the mother country immediately after their own exacting, if successful, tour of England. Never before had South African players gone through practically a full year of cricket. Beyond question reaction overtook them and the blow caused by the sad death of H. B. Cameron saddened their hearts. Besides the loss of such a fine wicket-keeper and batsman as Cameron, South Africa were handicapped by the ill health of X. Balaskas who did not appear until the third Test, while A. J. Bell, D. S. Tomlinson and C. L. Vincent, of the others back from England, could not give time to cricket. Allowing for all this, the failure of South Africa to find a team capable of revealing the fighting qualities that won them the rubber during the preceding summer was alike surprising and disappointing. Apart from the phenomenal innings of 231 by A. D. Nourse, not one century was hit for South Africa in the Tests; in fact the next highest score by any other batsman was 72 not out. Nourse got another century for Natal and his State colleague R. L. Harvey hit a hundred in each match at Durban, but these four centuries compare poorly with the 21 three-figure innings played by Australians. In bowling and fielding, too, South Africa failed to approach their England form and the necessity of altering the representative eleven drastically made the duty of H. F. Wade, the captain, all the more difficult. E. Q. Davies, a fast bowler, could not repeat for South Africa the success he enjoyed for Eastern Province. Mitchell in the course of nine balls dismissed four men for 5 runs in the second Test, but in the whole series Langton proved most effective with 12 wickets, and the lowest bowling average was 32. The averages tell their own tale of Australia's supremacy - all the more unexpected in its completeness because four years before in Australia the South African team under H. B. Cameron gave a creditable account of themselves, if they did lose all five Tests.

Match reports for

1st Test: South Africa v Australia at Durban, Dec 14-18, 1935
Report | Scorecard

2nd Test: South Africa v Australia at Johannesburg, Dec 24-28, 1935
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3rd Test: South Africa v Australia at Cape Town, Jan 1-4, 1936
Report | Scorecard

4th Test: South Africa v Australia at Johannesburg, Feb 15-17, 1936
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5th Test: South Africa v Australia at Durban, Feb 28-Mar 3, 1936
Report | Scorecard

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