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Match reports

England v South Africa 1907

Played at Leeds, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, July 29, 30, 31.- The second Test Match was the only one of the three that had a definite result, England winning in the end by 53 runs

Played at Leeds, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, July 29, 30, 31.- The second Test Match was the only one of the three that had a definite result, England winning in the end by 53 runs. A less satisfactory test game has seldom been played. The wicket was soft before the start, and on the second day especially cricket had to be carried on with extreme difficulty between the showers. On the whole the Englishmen had no great reason to congratulate themselves on their victory. They certainly had the best of the luck as regards the ground and, though this is a point on which we would not venture to express an opinion, it was freely stated that the umpiring told against the South Africans in the last innings. With the ground as it was, it was clearly a mistake to play Knox for England in preference to J.N. Crawford. The fast bowler was no more than a passenger on the side, bowling only four overs in the match. There was no particular advantage in winning the toss, but when at lunch time on Monday, 34 euns had been scored in forty minutes for the loss of Fry's wicket, England seemed to have opened well. However a dismal collapse followed, nine wickets going down after the interval in less than an hour and a quarter for an addition of 42 runs. Faulkner enjoyed his greatest success during the tour. Disguising his break with the utmost skill, he made the ball turn so much both ways that the batsmen were almost hopeless against him, the result being that he took seven wickets in eleven overs at a cost of only 17 runs. Hirst alone showed any capacity to cope with him on the slow pitch. In comparison with most of the batsmen Hayward played exceedingly well. On paper it was not much for him to score 24, but he showed very skilful defence, stopping among other good balls a tremendous break back from Vogler. Out for such a paltry score as 76 England had of course an uphill task for the rest of the day. Everything depended on Blythe, none of the other bowlers being able to take advantage of the state of the ground. Still if all the catches had been held there would not have been much to choose on the first innings. Four chances were allowed to escape, and though none of them had any serious consequences the blunders naturally proved somewhat demoralising. As events turned out the South Africans stopped in till ten minutes to six for a total of 110, thus leading on the first innings by 34 runs. They were only twenty behind with half their wickets in hand, but when the seventh wicket fell they were still 17 runs behind the England total. Happily for the Englishmen Blythe did not fail them. He was not quite so accurate in length as he might have been, but he made the ball do a good deal and though two catches were missed off him he took eight wickets for 59 runs. But for him the match might have been irretrievable lost on the first day.
Twenty-five minutes remained for play and R.E. Foster felt much concerned as to what he should do. However, after some consideration, he determined to keep to the previous order and sent in Fry and Hayward. This policy answered admirably, the two batsmen playing with great skill and scoring 25 runs without loss before the call of time. Cricket on the second day was carried on under extreme difficulties. Four times between eleven o'clock and half-past one rain drove the players from the field, but between the showers England's score was carried to 110 for four wickets. After lunch the weather was so bad that nothing further could be done. At half-past two the umpires announced that even in the most favourable circumstances play would be impossible until late in the day and eventually a brief but heavy storm caused stumps to be drawn at ten minutes to five. So far as it went the cricket was full of interest. The South African bowlers were much handicapped by having to use a wet ball, but they triumphed over this disadvantage in a remarkable way, not only keeping their length surprisingly well but getting on a lot of spin. Fry played superbly, his innings of 54 going far to secure England's ultimate victory. He made his 54 out of 100 and was batting altogether for an hour and a quarter. Running no undue risks but seizing every fair opportunity, he made a number of good drives, always picking on the right balls to hit. He gave no chance, but he had a lucky escape on the Monday evening, playing a ball from Faulkner to his wicket without removing the bails. Tyldesley, though not by any means up to Fry's form, scored an invaluable 30.
So much rain had fallen, the wicket being under water at six o'clock on Tuesday, that everyone thought the start of play would be delayed on the third morning. Thanks, however, to a fine night and a bright windy morning, play was quite practicable at eleven o'clock. Run getting proved a very hard matter and with the game twice stopped by rain England only increased their overnight score to 162, the innings being all over by a quarter to one. Gordon White and Faulkner bowled uncommonly well, getting on any amount of leg break. Foster made a great effort for his side, his score of 22 being of far more value than it looks on paper. In second wicket down on Tuesday he was out ninth after batting for seventy minutes.
The South Africans wanted 129 to win and the task seemed by no means impossible. However, they made a bad start, losing two wickets for 10 runs before rain came on at twenty past one and stopped play till after luncheon. A third wicket should have fallen, Braund missing Hathorn at slip. Play was not resumed till five minutes to three and then the South Africans soon found themselves in an almost hopeless position, Nourse, Hathorn and White being so speedily got rid of that five wickets were down for 18. Sinclair raised the hopes of his side by punishing Blythe for a dozen runs in one over, but at 38 he was caught at slip. After this Faulkner and Snooke made a determined effort to save the game, but though they showed strong defence they could not get the ball away. Faulkner, after exercising the sternest self restraint for an hour, was tempted at last to hit out at Blythe, and skied the ball to forward point where Foster caught him. From the moment he left the result was never in doubt, the last four wickets falling in less than half an hour and the innings ending at a quarter to five for a total of 75. Tyldesley caught Vogler at long off in a wonderful way. He had to run some distance for the catch and fell over, but contrived to keep the ball off the ground. Blythe, who bowled himself almost to a standstill, clearly won the game, taking seven wickets for 40runs. Altogether he took fifteen wickets, a feat that has only once been equalled in Test Matches- by Rhodes for the M.C.C.'s England team at Melbourne in 1904.