South Africa won by 17 runs and gained their first victory over England in their own country for 26 years. Never before had they beaten England in South Africa on a turf pitch. The match proved a personal triumph for Tayfield, although both sides deserve credit for making the game so exciting. The cricket followed the usual pattern of slow, cautious batting, but there was plenty of interest throughout.
Tayfield established a new record for a South African bowler in taking nine wickets in an innings of a Test Match. He also became the first South African to take 13 wickets in a Test against England.
England relied on the team which drew at Durban and South Africa made one change, Duckworth making his Test debut in place of Keith. The pitch, shorn of most of its grass in contrast to the previous game on the ground, looked ideal for batting and so it proved.
Winning the toss the first time, South Africa quickly showed their intention of going boldly for victory. Pithey did not last long, but Goddard again revealed his skill and Waite, promoted to number three, helped in the first century stand of the tour against M. C. C., adding 112 for the second wicket. Both were a little fortunate with snicks, but they batted well and set South Africa on the road to their good total. Waite scored faster than Goddard, who, third out, stayed four hours ten minutes.
A miss at slip by Insole off Loader cost England dearly. Insole, usually so good in the field, had not dropped a catch the entire tour, but he allowed McLean to escape when three and the hard-hitting South African stayed almost four hours. He had plenty of luck early in his innings when he was right out of touch, but later played splendidly.
On the second morning England made a good effort to swing the game, turning the overnight score of 234 for four to 251 for six, but McLean found a steady partner in van Ryneveld, who helped to add 58.
McLean was run out when seven short of his second century in successive Tests. South Africa's 340 was easily the highest score against the touring team, being the first time a side had reached 300.
England began shakily, both the opening batsmen being out for 40, but Insole, promoted to number three, continued his fine form of recent weeks and May at last found something like his touch in Tests. They put on 91 before an unusual incident ended the stand. Tayfield unsuccessfully appealed against Insole for lbw. The ball went into the hands of Goddard at slip, but Insole, thinking it had gone through, started for a run. Goddard had time to run forward and remove the bails before Insole could regain his crease.
This proved an unfortunate blow for England, who never mastered the attack. May, although not at his best, stayed three hours ten minutes before playing on in the last over before lunch on the third day.
Compton played a remarkable innings, being so tied down by the accuracy of Tayfield that his score at the end of two and a half hours to tea was no more than 13. England at that point were 176 for seven and in danger of following on, but Compton improved after the interval and the tail again proved defiant. Compton remained altogether three and a half hours. The last pair, Loader and Statham, stayed forty-eight minutes and put on 24.
South Africa failed to add to their lead of 89 in the one over bowled in their innings on the third evening. The stage was set for quick scoring on the fourth day, but great-hearted accurate bowling not only prevented this but turned the game so much that England stood a reasonable chance of victory. In two hours to lunch only 51 were scored and the opening partnership of 62 by Pithey and Goddard lasted in all two hours twenty-five minutes.
Trying to make up for lost time the South Africans ran into trouble, losing five wickets for 48 in two hours between lunch and tea. Slight improvement came, but when England went in three-quarters of an hour before the close they needed 232 to win.
Bailey was out just before time and England started the last day requiring 213 at a rate of 34 an hour. This was the most exciting day of the series. England for a long time looked almost certain victors before finally collapsing. South Africa's chief hope was Tayfield. He spun the ball just enough to be difficult and, as in previous Tests, bowled most accurately to a well-placed field.
England decided on a bold policy which nearly succeeded. Richardson and Insole scored 55 in seventy-two minutes for the second wicket and Insole found another good partner in Cowdrey. Twenty-five minutes after lunch England were 147 for two and another 85 were needed, but once the stand of 82 in an hour and forty minutes ended the batting broke down.
Insole's second excellent innings of the game lasted just under three hours. The loss of May and Compton for a single between them was a blow from which England never recovered. Cowdrey made a fine, determined effort and good hitting by Wardle put England in the picture.
At tea time the game was still open, England wanting 46 with four wickets left, but the end came fifty minutes later with Arthur Tayfield, fielding substitute for Funston, who hurt a leg, catching Loader on the long-on boundary off his brother's bowling.
Hugh Tayfield was deservedly chaired off the field. He bowled throughout the four hours fifty minutes on the final day, sending down 35 overs, and although heavily punished by the early batsmen he always looked menacing. Cowdrey, finding himself running out of partners, tried attacking him, but when he gave a return catch after staying three hours twenty minutes, the end was in sight.
After a closely fought and keen struggle South Africa went into the last Test with a chance of sharing the rubber -- an excellent effort considering they were two down after two matches.