Old tales of morality and controversy

Derek Hodgson recalls England's last trip to the Cape 30 years ago
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The Independent Online
It was a little more than 30 years ago - in 1964 - that England last toured South Africa, a journey that, it was hoped, would be a rapprochement after a series of upsets which had beset South Africa's visit to England in 1960 and the rising tide of world opinion against apartheid.

There was much debate, in both countries, about the ethics of cricket. South Africa's tour to England had been spoiled by the no-balling for throwing, at Lord's, of South Africa's fast bowler Geoff Griffin after he had taken a hat-trick. England won the series 3-0, extending their run of Tests without defeat to 16, and the Springboks were not happy.

Jackie McGlew, South Africa's captain, was run out at Trent Bridge after colliding with Alan Moss. Colin Cowdrey, the England captain, wanted to recall him but the umpire, Charlie Elliott, refused to alter his decision.

So there was much huffing and puffing in the media about the Laws, and the observance of the spirit thereof, before England went in to bat at Durban for the first Test of the next series on 4 December 1964.

England were strong in batting. Jim Parks, the wicketkeeper, made 108 at number seven in a total of 485 for 5 declared. South Africa, still rebuilding their splendid side of the 1950s, were bowled out for 155 and 226, the off-spinners Freddie Titmus and David Allen sharing 13 wickets.

Ken Barrington scored a second successive century in Johannesburg but although England again enforced a follow-on, South Africa hung on a for a draw after rain and bad light curtailed play on the fifth day.

The first whiff of controversy came at Cape Town. Eddie Barlow, who was to become a popular figure in English county cricket, opened for South Africa and, when 41, offered what Peter Parfitt claimed was a clean catch to short leg. Barlow stood his ground, scored 138 in a total of 501 for 7 declared (and ensured South Africa would not lose with his 78 in the second innings). England's players refused to applaud his century.

When England batted Barrington, on 49, walked when the wicketkeeper claimed a catch, without waiting for the signal. The match was drawn.

Thus the fourth Test, back in Johannesburg, provoked a flood of comment about sportsmanship, decline in morals, changing face of cricket etc etc (you read it all again every decade).What next ?

For a start England's captain, Mike Smith, elected to field, the first such decision by England in South Africa since 1930. By lunch Trevor Goddard and Barlow had scored 118.

England faced 390 for 6 declared and when Smith batted he left his crease to prod the pitch to find that Peter van der Merwe at slip had thrown the ball to the keeper, who had lifted the bails. Up went the umpire's finger. With a few words South Africa's captain Goddard ended a growing antagonism between the teams, insisting that his fellow captain be recalled. England drew the fifth match and took the series after having to call up, because of injuries, Kenny Palmer, now a Test umpire, then coaching in Johannesburg.

There was one more series before the D'Oliveira explosion of 1969, South Africa flaunting their brilliant new stars Graeme Pollock, Colin Bland and Peter Pollock, in England in 1965. The last-named took 10 wickets to win at Trent Bridge, the only victory in a three-match series, leaving cricket followers in both countries in happy anticipation of a great series to come in four years' time.

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