Fourth Test Match

England v South Africa 1924

Played at Manchester, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, July 26, 28, 29.- England having already won the rubber, interest in the fourth Test match was naturally discounted and, as things turned out, the game was utterly spoilt by rain, cricket being restricted to two hours and three quarters on the first day. On Monday, the ground was water logged and on Tuesday the turf remained in such a hopeless condition that, at ten minutes past three, the match was abandoned. Only once in the history of Test matches in England has there been a more unhappy experience. In 1890 at Manchester, the third match between England and Australia had to be given up without a ball being bowled. With the rubber decided, the Selection Committee chose rather an experimental England line up, Hobbs and Hearne being left out. As Arthur Gilligan was suffering from the effects of a severe blow he had received in the Gentlemen and Players match at the Oval, Douglas became captain. Saturday's cricket was marred by a very unpleasant incident. Heavy rain after four o'clock soaked the pitch and the umpires, after repeated inspections, came to the conclusion that further play was out of the question. There were about seven thousand people on the ground, 4700 having paid for admission, and a section of this moderate crowd expressed their disapproval of the umpires' decision by walking on to the field of play. They were prevented from damaging the pitch itself, but some hundreds of them got up a demonstration in front of the pavilion, hooting and shouting for play. Happily, a few words from Walter Brearley did much to quieten them down, and nothing at all serious happened. The cricket, so far as it went was by no means stimulating. In scoring 116 for four wickets, the south Africans were mainly indebted to Ward, who played stubbornly defensive game for two hours and twenty minutes. His only mistake was a chance in the slips when he had made 23, Douglas knocking the ball out of Geary's reach. Tate bowled particularly well, but had no luck. The discontented spectators, who remained on the ground after half past six, were given passes for the Lancashire and Yorkshire match on the following Saturday.

© John Wisden & Co