Obituary, 2006

Denis Lindsay

ESPNcricinfo staff


LINDSAY, DENIS THOMSON, who died of cancer on November 30, 2005, aged 66, was a wicketkeeper-batsman best remembered for one great series. In 1966- 67, he made 606 runs (still a record for a wicketkeeper) and took 24 catches in South Africa's first series win over Australia. In the First Test, at Johannesburg, he hit 69 and what Wisden called a "pulsating" 182, with 25 fours and five sixes, as his side turned round a deficit of 126 to win easily. Two more centuries followed - 137 in the Third Test, and a brilliant 131 in the Fourth, the hundred reached with a six off Bob Cowper's off-spin. Graeme Pollock wrote: "I don't think I have ever seen a batsman in such complete control... He loves to hook, but he would also go down the wicket to one of the quickies bowling with the new ball and hit the ball straight back over the bowler's head. That is something you don't expect to see in a Test match."

Lindsay might in other times have become a global star - but he played only two more Tests. After two lean seasons at home, he was (to Australian astonishment) left out of the first two of the four Tests against them in 1969-70, South Africa's final series before exclusion. But he came back, signed off with a 60 at Port Elizabeth that included five consecutive fours off John Gleeson, and he conceded no byes in the last four Tests he played. Lindsay's firstclass career had started in his native Benoni in December 1958, but he was held back at Test level by the evergreen John Waite, and made only one tour as firstchoice keeper, to England in 1965. He also came to England in 1961 with the Fezelas - a powerful young South African team - and enlivened the climax of the Essex match by thumping leg-spinner Bill Greensmith for five successive sixes for victory. Lindsay, whose father Johnny and great-uncle Neville also played for South Africa, later became an authoritative match referee, overseeing seven Tests and 59 one-day internationals.

© John Wisden & Co.