Fourth Test Match

South Africa v England 1927-28

Played at JOHANNESBURG, January 28, 30, 31, February 1. South Africa won by four wickets. Having won the first two Test matches and drawn the third, England had only to avoid defeat in the fourth game to carry off the rubber. With full knowledge of this fact Deane, in order to prevent the visitors from playing for a draw if left with many runs to get in the last innings, decided, on winning the toss for the fourth time, that England should bat first. The form shown by the Englishmen in the previous encounters did not suggest that the task of saving the game would prove beyond their powers, but, so far from any question of South Africa being hard pressed to avert the loss of the rubber arising, the home players achieved success by four wickets. Thus for the first time since December, 1922, when they triumphed at Johannesburg by 168 runs South Africa beat England in a Test match.

Strength in bowling held the balance in favour of South Africa, whereas Geary's inability to play proved a severe handicap to England. A. E. Hall lent greater variety to the home side's attack. Indeed, Hall's slow left-hand bowling provided a much needed contrast to Bissett's pace and these bowlers so troubled the English batsmen that between them they captured seventeen of the twenty wickets, Hall's share being nine for 167 and that of Bissett eight for 113. As on the previous occasion when England were put in, Bissett secured a wicket almost at once and the visitors did not pull the game round until Wyatt played a particularly sound innings and Staples and Peebles offered a stubborn resistance adding 55 for the eighth wicket. Still the startling success which at the commencement of South Africa's first innings attended the bowling of Hammond, who disposed of Duminy and Morkel for seven runs, placed England well on top. Taylor, however, removed all danger of disaster overtaking the side. By restrained methods he gradually obtained a mastery over the bowling and then hit so freely that he scored 101 out of 170 in two hours and twenty-five minutes. In registering the first 100 made against the visitors during the tour, Taylor, though his innings was not faultless, gave a capital display of driving and leg-hitting. He added 90 for the fourth wicket with Catterall, the skill of these players in taking the sting out of the England attack having as its reward the success of the forcing batsmen of the side - Deane and Cameron who scored 89 together in forty-seven minutes, and Vintcent and Bissett, whose stand yielded 46 in twenty-two minutes.

Against a balance of 63 runs England, apart from Holmes, who a damaged finger notwithstanding, hit up 63 out of the first 83 runs, batted in disappointing style and South Africa were left only 153 to get for victory. These runs South Africa hit off in confident fashion, a skilful second wicket partnership of 71 between Morkel and Nicolson making the task on the fourth morning comparatively easy. Soon after the start of the home team's second innings Stanyforth received a severe blow under the right eye which compelled his retirement until the next day. In his absence Freeman kept wicket.

© John Wisden & Co