Match reports


Bowlers were the slaves in a tedious game restricted to four days by heavy rain which washed out the fifth

Bowlers were the slaves in a tedious game restricted to four days by heavy rain which washed out the fifth. On a pitch containing no life defence became the general watchword. With little prospect of dismissing their opponents cheaply, the fielding sides thought principally of keeping down the runs, and few of the batsmen showed willingness to take risks. As a result the scoring rate through four full days in which 1,130 runs came from 508 overs at a wicket cost of 56.5 was no higher than 47 runs per hour. Notwithstanding the dull play, the gates had to be closed on three of the four days, throughout which the weather was gloriously fine, and the total attendance figures of 116,000, with receipts of over £26,000, reached the highest in any Test between the two countries.
When Brown lost the toss for the eleventh time in fourteen Tests, he allowed South Africa first use of turf that his bowlers soon found to be much too slow in pace to offer encouragement. Before the innings had been in progress long England discarded an attacking field. Subsequently such a policy was not attempted by either side. Although Bailey strained his back, Bedser gave England hope when he beat Waite at 40 and so equalled M. W. Tate's 155 Test wickets, but for the next four hours the bowlers conceded 198 runs to E. Rowan and van Ryneveld, in the biggest second-wicket stand for South Africa against England. Apart from an ill-judged run when 71, Rowan gave the fielding side no chance on the Thursday when he scored 160, his only Test century in England, out of 282 for three.
Two more records went on the second day. South Africa passed their previous best total in Test cricket and Rowan achieved the biggest individual Test score by a South African. He might have been caught when 203 and 231 but otherwise made no error of stroke-play in an innings of nine hours, ten minutes, the same time as spent by Nourse over his double century in the Nottingham Test. Probably Rowan would have enjoyed indulging in bouts of aggression as much as these would have pleased the spectators, but carrying so much responsibility, he adhered rigidly to his set purpose of building a big total. His concentration and stamina provoked only the warmest admiration and so much was he ready to punish bad balls, but only those, that 112 of his runs came from boundary hits.
After X-ray examination and an injection to deaden the pain, Bailey managed to bowl four overs at half-pace before leaving the field. When, with extra work thrown upon them, England's bowlers showed signs of tiring, the way was clear for McLean and Mansell to attack. Their innings were the two most aggressive of the game.
In an effort to check the flow of runs, Tattersall and Hilton dispensed with a slip for McLean, but he drove and pulled with such power that he repeatedly pierced the deep-set fields and his 67 included one huge 6 off Hilton and eleven 4's. Even when Hilton placed six men in an arc between mid-off and square third man, McLean found gaps there through which he crashed his off-drives. After reaching 50 in seventy minutes, Mansell became more careful. Most of his nineteen 4's resulted from drives. England missed the fielding of Ikin at short square-leg where three chances were dropped.
Ninety minutes remained for play when England began batting after tea on Friday. Hutton, missed when six, and Lowson, his new Test opening partner and county colleague, stayed to the close. Next day they continued the good start until A. Rowan trapped Lowson with a cleverly-flighted off-break. Lowson made a most satisfactory Test debut, but that of May, the 21-year-old Cambridge batsman, was still more impressive. His equanimity from first to last, his subordination of self for side even after completing a century, and his sound technique stamped him as a player well above the ordinary. Hutton, who batted five hours, left immediately after the completion of the 102nd hundred of his career, but May presented watchful defence and polished strokes for six hours twenty minutes before A. Rowan, always the best bowler, beat him in the air.
The second half of the innings brought considerable credit to Bailey, whose efforts largely resulted in South Africa's lead being confined to 33. Bailey defied the torn fibres in his back so well that when wickets started to fall at the other end he drove, hooked and cut powerfully. His share of a last-wicket stand of 60 with Hilton was 48. Bailey's innings again emphasised his value as a Test all-rounder. England spent eleven hours, or thirty-five minutes longer than South Africa, over their runs. Instances of South Africa's tactics were that the leg-break bowler, van Ryneveld, who bowled Hutton, was given only eight overs, Nourse's hasty resort to deep defence when at one point Hutton drove Mann for three 4's in quick succession and a similar act when Hilton pulled A. Rowan for a mighty six.
In the second innings E. Rowan showed more freedom, but Waite, possibly tired after such a long vigil behind the stumps, obtained only 25 in two hours before the close of play. The rain on Tuesday robbed Rowan of the opportunity of the remarkable feat of a double and a single century in the same match.