Batting first in the Sydney Test, they fared no better, dismissed for 153. This time Keith Rigg, playing his second Test for Australia, was given the opportunity to bat at no. 3. The Victorian grabbed it with both hands, recording his only Test century, and adding 137 for the second wicket with Woodfull. Bradman joined Rigg on the second day, and they put on 111 for the third wicket. Rigg scored a well-compiled 127. McCabe now joined Bradman, and their stand was worth 93 when The Don was dismissed for a belligerent 112. He had batted for 155 minutes and hit 10 boundaries. This time Australia made 469. South Africa folded up for 161. The margin of defeat was an innings and 155 runs.
It appeared that there was a reversal of fortune, and performance, in the third Test at Melbourne, but the South Africans only flattered to deceive. They got rid of Australia for only 198 runs, with Bradman suffering his only failure of the series, caught behind by skipper Jock Cameron off Neville Quinn for 2. South Africa then put up a brave fight with Kenneth Viljoen scoring a resilient century. His 104-run eighth wicket stand with Quintin McMillan appeared to have taken the game away from Australia, as they took a first innings lead of 160 runs.
It was not to be. After he had helped Ponsford raise a half-century first up, Woodfull, as was his wont, dropped anchor. And, just as usual, Bradman took charge. By stumps on the third day, Australia were 206 for one, with Woodfull on 73, and Bradman on the verge of his 11th Test hundred, at 97 not out. He was relentless even after completing his century. The second-wicket partnership was worth 274 when Bradman fell for 167. He had batted for just over three hours and hit 18 fours.
After Woodfull’s five-hour vigil encompassing 161 runs and five boundaries ended, Kippax and McCabe put Australia further ahead. They were finally all out for 554, setting South Africa a target of 395 runs. The task was way beyond the capabilities of the tourists. They did manage to stretch the Test to the sixth day even as Grimmett got among the wickets. He finished with six for 92, while Ironmonger took the other four. South Africa folded up for 225, and Australia wrapped up the series.
(Author Indra Vikram Singh can be contacted on email email@example.com).
‘Don’s Century’, published by Sporting Links, ISBN 978-81-901668-5-0.
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