Fifth Test

Australia v South Africa

The careful play of both sides reflected the fact that the series depended on this match.

When the last ball had been bowled, Australia were probably grateful that progress had been so tardy, for otherwise the rubber might well have gone against them.

South Africa were left to score 171 to win but, having been held up by a last-wicket stand of 45 in an hour and a quarter, they had only eighty-five minutes in which to get the runs.

Goddard showed enterprise when putting Australia in, but by relying on five bowlers of medium pace or above, caused the over-rate to suffer. These bowlers, and Partridge in particular, swung the ball in a heavy atmosphere, causing concern to all except Booth, who stood out as the one batsman with the necessary technique.

Rain and bad light, did not help, so that three hours had been lost when the second day ended with South Africa still only 40 for one in reply to 311.

South Africa could not match the brightness of the sun which shone throughout the Monday and in the end they were to regret batting for almost ten hours for a lead of 100. Bland taking nearly five and a half hours over 126 (one 6, thirteen 4's).

Even so, the advantage remained on their side and had Waite behind the wicket not baulked first slip by diving across to try to catch Burge and Booth early in their innings, the end would no doubt have been different.

South Africa still had a good chance, too, when Australia lost their ninth wicket at 225, but the valuable stand of 45 between Veivers and Hawke proved the deciding factor.

© John Wisden & Co