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Australians v Rhodesia, Police Ground, Salisbury
Reports taken from the Rhodesia Herald unless otherwise stated. - 5, 6, 7, 8 November 1966

(Tuesday 25 October 1966) With groundsman Ricky Lawton ill in hospital, the authorities have called upon St George's College groundsman, Jim Cornford [former Sussex professional], to help out with the preparation of the pitch at the Police Ground for the Australian match starting on November 5. And within minutes of the end of play yesterday [the Currie Cup match against Transvaal], Cornford was supervising the cutting of the pitch to be used in that game.


By Martin Lee (Chronicle, Friday 4 November 1966)

Very few people knew just how seriously Joe Partridge, for 15 years the kingpin on the Rhodesian cricket side, was taking his preparations for the four-day match against the Australians, which starts in Salisbury tomorrow. Joe wasn't 100 per cent satisfied with his fitness for the recent Transvaal game, and on Wednesday and Thursday, while most cricketing eyes in Bulawayo were on the Aussies, Joe went out to the nets on his own and bowled flat out in an effort to recapture his top form.

After his stint in the nets yesterday, he said: ``I'm as fit as I ever was - and raring to go against Bobby Simpson's men.''

A few hours later, the Rhodesian team for the match was announced - and Joe was discarded.

One can understand the selectors' feeling about leaving out the bowler with the greatest heart seen in Rhodesia. At 33, they may think Joe is over the hill, following injury this year which has kept him out of league cricket. They may have decided, with an eye to the future, that Eddie Parker is the man to encourage and even build an attack around.

And with Parker and Partridge in the same side, the question has always been who should have first choice of ends.

Whatever their reason, Joseph Titus Partridge, Springbok hero in Australia three seasons ago, is dropped. His eleven Tests have brought him 44 wickets at just over 31 runs apiece, and of course there are those who say that Joe was brought into international cricket many years after he was at his peak.

The omission of Partridge from the Rhodesian team to play the Australians will not surprise his current crop of 'knockers' but it came as a shock to Aussie skipper Bobby Simpson.

His eyebrows raised as he heard the news - and perhaps he was thinking that Partridge alone of the Rhodesian bowlers for the four-day game has the know-how to get rid of Bill Lawry.

Watching Lawry batting in Bulawayo, I asked his team-mate Neil Hawke what was the tall left-hander's weakness. ``You're joking,'' said Hawke. ``I wish I knew. I've only managed to bowl Bill once in my life - and that was in a single-wicket competition.''

But Hawke added that Joe Partridge, who tamed Lawry in Australia, has a theory - and now, of course, he won't be able to put it into practice.

The exclusion of Partridge lets in 22-year-old Inyati farmer Huntsman Williams, and everybody will welcome his selection. The left-arm quickie earned his place, and one hopes he will be able to stand up to a four-day game.

Compared with the side which was humbled by Transvaal two weeks ago, thee are two other changes. Howie Gardiner takes over the wicket-keeping role from Tony de Caila and Dave Napier is recalled in place of Mike Huckle to supply the left-arm spin.


By Len Brown (Saturday 5 November 1966)

The Australian tour selection committee have adhered to their declared policy of giving everyone an early chance to parade their talents by including all five of the players who missed the opening match in Bulawayo, in the side which tackles Rhodesia in the four-day game starting at the Police Cricket Ground in Salisbury today.

And there will be many Rhodesian cricket fans who will mourn the fact that this policy means that they will be denied the chance of watching those two prolific left-hand batsmen, Bill Lawry and Bob Cowper, over this weekend. The other Test certainty being rested for this game is pace bowler Graham McKenzie, who is no stranger to Salisbury crowds, for he toured here under Richie Benaud's Cavaliers a few years ago.

The other two being rested are wicket-keeper Gordon Becker and left-arm pace bowler Jim Hubble. Those getting their first outing on tour are wicket-keeper Brian Taber, seamer Neil Hawke, off-spinner Tom Veivers, left-arm spinner Johnny Martin and all-rounder Ian Chappell.

With only two pacemen in the side, backed up by seamer Graeme Watson, Simpson is relying heavily on the spinners in this game for, apart from those mentioned, he bowls leg-spinners himself, as does Keith Stackpole, giving him five spinners in his attack.

Whether or not this over-emphasis of spinners can be traced back to that Transvaal game a few weeks ago, when Atholl McKinnon had something of a picnic on the Police Ground pitch, I wouldn't know.

Certain it is that a quick look at the pitch yesterday morning revealed a hard, fast pitch, with little grass, which will tax the spinners' talents far more than did the pitch for the Transvaal game.

I know two Rhodesian batsmen who played in Bulawayo who confessed they found most difficulty with the bowling of skipper Bobby Simpson after that of Graham McKenzie.

But before the season is out, I wouldn't be surprised if Keith Stackpole turns out to be the most successful of them all. He pushes the ball through a bit faster than most leg-spinners, is after the batsman all the time, and gives little away.

Ian Chappell is probably the slowest of them all, through the air, but gets considerable spin off the pitch. And the most interesting of all could be little Johnny Martin, whom many will recall touring here under Richie Benaud with the Cavaliers.

Johnny got a bit of stick in that game against Rhodesia . . . sacrificing accuracy for prodigious spin.

The main batting strength of the Australians for this game revolves around Simpson, Ian Redpath, Grahame Thomas, Ian Chappell and Graeme Watson, with help from all-rounders Tom Veivers, Keith Stackpole and Neil Hawke.

With the visitors more used to four-day cricket than the Rhodesians, some of the light-hearted approach to batting on view down at Bulawayo could disappear from this line-up, and the local bowlers will have to dig each and every one of them out.

Not many teams on this tour will bowl Australia out for 11 in an innings, and the exciting strokeplay of Rob Ullyett, Colin Bland and Howie Gardiner must surely have made it evident that the Australian bowlers can be attacked by batsmen willing to go for the shots.

A lot will depend on a good start to the innings, and it is pleasing to hear that Ray Gripper has been approaching his best form in the nets during the week.

With his opening partner Nick Frangos just about the most consistent batsman in the country, and Ullyett, Tony Pithey, Bland, Howie Gardiner, Eddie Parker and du Preez all showing good form, Rhodesia should reach a target respectable enough to make the Australians battle all the way.

One mourns the absence of Joe Partridge - whom I saw bowling an excellent spell in the nets down in Bulawayo on Thursday morning - but despite his absence Tony Pithey has a varied and fairly experienced attack at his command.

Left-arm pacemen Huntsman Williams and Dave Napier will afford Eddie Parker admirable assistance, Neville Williams can keep an end going for long periods on an economical basis, and du Preez and Napier supply the spin.

For du Preez, the next month's activities could set his feet firmly on the path to higher honours. After this game, he has Currie Cup matches against Natal, Transvaal and Eastern Province in which to parade his talents before the national selectors in a bid to force a place for himself in one of the Test teams.

Derek Dowling, from Natal, will be the Springbok selector on duty for this game against the Australians.


By Fred Cleary (Sunday Mail, 6 November 1966)

A lamentable inability to cope with class spin bowling was clearly demonstrated by Rhodesia at the Salisbury Police Ground yesterday when Tony Pithey's men collapsed miserably against a concentrated battery of Australian slow specialists. They were bundled out for 149 in 238 minutes, a most disappointing display.

But Rhodesian bowlers raised slight hopes in the last half-hour by grabbing two quick wickets, and at stumps Australia were 112 for three, 37 behind with seven wickets in hand.

But back to that tame home batting. True, the Australians bowled effectively, fielded well and held several fine catches on this, the first day of their four-day match. And one must concede that the wicket was conducive to spin from the beginning.

Even so, the fact remains that the Rhodesians, with the exception of Rob Ullyett (60) and to a lesser extent Tony Pithey (29), really hadn't the faintest idea how to cope with this pack of spinners, who were even allowed to look hostile and take wickets with several mediocre deliveries.

The Rhodesians hardly used their feet, misread numerous balls and often fell with irresponsible shots.

One would have thought they might have learned from that Transvaal debacle in the Currie Cup two weeks ago, when Athol McKinnon sent them reeling, but the crowd of nearly 5000 sweltered in vain in the hot sun.

Rhodesia started badly, losing two for 47, and only when Pithey and Ullyett came together and worked away intelligently before lunch did there appear any hope of a reasonable Rhodesian total.

Ullyett, in fact, was quite brilliant, treating the many good deliveries from Martin, Veivers, Hawke and Simpson with respect, and cracking anything loose with ruthless power to the boundary.

However, they were parted after putting on 50 in 82 minutes for the third wicket, and then the veneer of class cracked under the pressure and for the remainder of the innings it was a case of struggle and hope.

Eventually, eight wickets fell for 52, surely a fact which speaks for itself.

But due credit must be paid here to John Martin, that efficient little left-arm spinner from Burrell Creek, who enjoyed himself to the tune of five for 26 in only 13.5 overs, and some most commendable catching by the Australians.

Tom Veivers raced in with fine anticipation to hold a mistimed Ullyett shot, while that likeable character, Dave Renneberg, threw every foot of his considerable frame through the air at square leg, like a Gordon Banks, to hold a screaming shot from Parker.

In fact, only twice were the stumps hit, six men being caught.

Ray Gripper was the first to fall. After Pithey had won the toss and decided to bat, Gripper and Frangos laboured somewhat for 30 minutes before Gripper, having cut Renneberg for a comforting and only four, tried to repeat the shot immediately after, and played on, the ball slicing off the inside edge.

Frangos never looked happy. He could not take his cue from an Ullyett who was looking for runs from the outset and, after struggling for 85 minutes for only 16, he swung right across the line from a Martin delivery, and was trapped leg before wicket.

Then came the only really effective partnership, that between a supremely confident Ullyett and a patient, polished Pithey.

As one would expect from an international captain, Simpson used his bowlers shrewdly in an effort to crack apart what threatened to be a dangerous coupling.

Before lunch, he tried seven men, the seam of Hawke and Renneberg, the left-arm stuff of Martin, the off-spinners of Veivers and the leg-spinners oh himself, Chappell and Stackpole.

Ullyett's first four scoring strokes were 4, 2, 4, 4. He was merely carrying on from Bulawayo, where he scored that superb 87 the other day.

Ullyett is a batsman who so often has appeared to lack confidence in his own ability and, in trying to score quick runs and reassure himself, gets out far too cheaply through impatience.

But his Bulawayo performance has already geared his thinking correctly. His confidence was there, and so the runs came.

At lunch, he was on 50 (collected in 86 minutes), Pithey was on five, and Rhodesia were 86 for two, a comfortable, if not strong, position.

``This is a very good cricketer,'' remarked Australian manager Bill Jacobs about Ullyett during the interval with quiet understatement. No one would argue.

Then came tragedy for Rhodesia. At 97, Ullyett tried to hook Hawke, mistimed his shot and the ball shot off the splice to mid-on, where Veivers ran in to hold a fine diving catch.

Ullyett had been at the wicket for 112 minutes for his 60, collecting 11 fours.

Pithey, meanwhile, realising this was a four-day game, played along quietly, with correctness and judgement. Maybe he might have shown more aggression at times and his old bad habit of playing straight to a fielder returned. But the batting now needed solidity, and he was trying to provide it.

Pithey fought almost single-handed. Colin Bland stayed for 10 minutes, then lashed out at the worst ball bowled by Simpson, a long hop, and was well caught at square leg by Thomas.

Bland's timing was right off for this shot and he walked away a thoroughly dejected man. Oh, where was the Bland of Bulawayo?

Du Preez stayed around for 27 minutes, but only scored nine before he was well held at short square leg by Chappell off Hawke. Howie Gardiner came in before a crowd full of expectations from this 6ft 4in free-scoring wicket-keeper.

But he only collected a couple before he was deceived by a Simpson delivery which was pitched right up to him and was caught comfortably by the bowler.

Parker had a go at a Martin long hop and fell to Renneberg's great diving catch, and then the end loomed rapidly after Pithey was trapped leg-before to Martin after batting for 138 minutes for his 29.

From my seat in the press tent I could not judge this appeal, but I should report that several knowledgeable people in the main stand who were looking straight down the wicket swear that the ball would have gone easily down the leg side.

So Rhodesia were bundled out at 3.06 pm after batting for 238 minutes and scoring a miserable 149; a far from satisfactory performance from one side and an expectedly efficient one from the other.

Rhodesian hopes soared when Bobby Simpson fell at 13, well caught behind by Gardiner off some fine bowling by Parker. However, Thomas and Redpath revealed some mature, responsible batting and dug in.

The 50 came in 56 minutes, but at 103 Thomas, after batting most attractively, was bowled when having a crack at du Preez and was out for 43 scored in 87 minutes.

Then du Preez trapped Chappell leg-before-wicket without scoring and, with three men gone for 112, the Australians suddenly found the going somewhat rough.

An appeal against the light was upheld 15 minutes before the scheduled close which saw the Australians 37 behind with seven wickets in hand.

So, Rhodesia are still in there with a slight chance. But they must learn from their mistakes and come to grips with spin in the second innings. And the Australians do have to bat last.


John Parry comments . . . (Sunday Mail, 6 November 1966)

Here we go again! Once more Rhodesian batting crumbled to disaster against a strong but not invincible attack.

Ray Gripper, who's in the trough of a run of low scores, pulled a ball from well outside the off stump on to his wicket; Frangos, as soon as the spinners came on, batted like a man in chains.

Even then, Rhodesia reached a satisfactory 97 for two.

Here came the turning point. Ullyett and Pithey were establishing a respectable total when Ullyett, who had been batting really well, fell to a good catch off a bad ball.

Pithey, dour and determined, anchored the innings at one end only. His partners - Bland, Parker, du Preez, Gardiner - went in rapid succession, and he was left stranded.

The Rhodesians played a wide variety of spin bowling with leaden feet. Johnny Martin should never have been allowed to return those flattering figures - nor should Bobby Simpson, who was not as accurate as he made the Rhodesians believe.

Best bowlers on view were Neil Hawke, who moved the ball a lot and bowled with real intelligence; and spinner Tom Veivers.

It was left to du Preez to pick up two wickets and show that Rhodesians, too, could worry batsmen with the spin.

Simpson handled his bowling, of which he had a glut, with imagination, and consistently attacked the batsmen's weakness in allowing the bowler to dictate his own length.

This Australian side looks like a good pliable unit with a lot of potential.

Rhodesia must rely now on a containing process to keep the game alive, and a second innings batting recovery which is always a possibility, if the players can apply themselves.

Naturally, it was disappointing for the large crowd to see the home team fail to establish itself. But the cricket itself was of a high class, and of constant interest.

A significant point; Rhodesia scored at two runs per over; the Australians at just under 4.

Anyway, Rob Ullyett had another day of glory, and set an example which unfortunately wasn't followed by his colleagues.

For the Australians, Simpson failed to get going again, but Redpath, consistently, and Thomas at the end of his innings showed promising form.

The fielding clearly made a great advance over the Bulawayo form, and they may be set for a good tour.

Rhodesia will need a real effort of will and determination to get back into this game.

All their supporters will hope for another strike-back like that at Bulawayo. But it is going to be a tough proposition.


By Len Brown (Monday 7 November 1966)

A sterling innings of 139 not out by opening batsman Ian Redpath rescued Australia from a threatened slump on the second day of their match against Rhodesia yesterday, and with aid from the last four batsmen, Redpath steered Australia to a total of 307, in reply to Rhodesia's first innings of 149, giving his side a lead of 158 on the first innings. When bad light stopped play with 80 minutes of play left, Rhodesia were 56 for no wicket in their second innings.

Rhodesia's bowling hero of the day was little Jackie du Preez, who turns 24 a week from today. Bowling his leg spinners to a perfect length - he hardly bowled a bad ball throughout - he stuck to his task through the heat of the morning, and at the end had bagged six wickets for 95 runs, in 32 immaculate overs.

South Africa has been on the hunt for leg spinners for about seven years now, and this could be du Preez's year. Pushed into the Rhodesian side on a long-term policy five seasons ago, he's matured to such a degree in the past 12 months, both as batsman and bowler and brilliant close to the wicket-keeper catcher, that Test honours can now be only a matter of time.

Redpath's innings was an admirable mixture of caution and aggression, there being only five fours in his first 100, which took him 252 minutes. But when he was running out of partners towards the end, he showed flashes of his scoring power, hitting Neville Williams for 4-6-4 off successive balls, and driving with power and certainty. He batted right through the innings.

For so early in the season, on a pitch which was giving the bowlers help, it was a fine innings - an invaluable one for his side - and as sensible as they come.

It also demonstrated quite clearly that grip, technique and footwork can go a long way towards overcoming the mysteries conjured up by spin bowlers on a pitch giving a modicum of assistance . . . no panic stations, no wild slashing, just a choice of the right ball to hit, and the patience and courage needed to prop up an innings.

And there was definitely a time when the Australian innings looked like crumbling, leaving them with a mere handful of runs as a lead.

Starting at their overnight total of 112 for three, they were in trouble when the next three wickets fell for a meagre 29 runs, the scoreboard then reading 141 for six. Parker snapped a smart catch in the slips, Watson was bowled all over the shop, and Pithey took a finely-judged catch at mid-on to get rid of Veivers.

Du Preez had bagged all three, and the one that bowled Watson, a leg spinner which pitched on the leg stump and hit the off, might have bowled anyone.

Then, with the initiative slipping away, little Johnny Martin joined Redpath in a stand which realised 44 runs, of which the belligerent little left-hander hit 35, including two fine sixes and three fours.

When he left, Hawke also dug in and had to be winkled out, but not before he had helped add a further 37 valuable runs, and when he was out to a fine caught and bowled by Neville Williams, little wicket-keeper Brian Taber demonstrated just how it is that he is sometimes called upon to open the innings for New South Wales.

Seldom in trouble, he played some fine straight drives, galloped some admirable quick singles, and stayed long enough to help Redpath add 69 runs. It was during this partnership that the game started slipping through the Rhodesian fingers. Du Preez was tired after bowling from the start until nearly two o'clock, and when he was rested the menace was removed from the Rhodesian attack.

The last four Australian partnerships with Redpath added 166 runs, and put Australia in a winning position. Although there were times when Redpath bogged down - at one stage both Neville Williams and du Preez restricted him to three runs in seven overs - it could be just at that stage the pitch was beginning to slow down just a bit, and Redpath himself, after over five hours at the crease, wasn't the liveliest cricketer on the ground.

If there are steps up the ladder into the Springbok Test side, young Jackie du Preez must have climbed a few with his admirable bowling stint yesterday morning. In the two hours between start of play and the lunch break, he bowled unchanged, his figures reading: 15-6-37-4, and that's good bowling in any class of cricket, let alone against an Australian touring team.

He hardly bowled a bad ball in all that time, kept the ball well up to the batsmen, spun from a length and varied his pace well a performance which must have left a favourable impression on the sole Springbok selector at the game - Derek Dowling, from Natal.

The rest of the Rhodesian bowling left one with a feeling of frustration. Napier, turning the ball only fractionally, insisted on bowling round the wicket to the right-handers, thus nullifying what little spin he was getting from this rather receptive pitch. He would have been well advised to bowl over the wicket, with the off stump as his target.

Eddie Parker, not at his fastest, got nothing from the pitch, and Neville Williams, though economical, rarely looked like beating the bat - in fact, that could have been said of most of the Rhodesian attack. Huntsman Williams, when he kept the ball well up to the batsmen, looked better than on Saturday, and bagged the last two wickets.

By contrast, all the Australian spinners got something from the pitch, Martin in particular turning the ball viciously at times, and the two pace bowlers, Hawke and Renneberg, were lively, accurate, and moved the ball off the seam and in the air.

Martin, who bowls left-arm 'chinamen' and other unorthodox stuff, has developed his accuracy to a degree since he was last seen here, with Richie Benaud's Cavaliers, but there was nothing of the bogeyman about his bowling, as indeed there wasn't about any of the others on view. All it needed was temperament and technique, as well as correct footwork.

The light wasn't all that good in the afternoon, shortly after Rhodesia started their second innings, and Frangos and ripper both deserved the applause they got for that fine start which saw 50 on the board in 65 minutes.

Then at 4.10 pm an appeal against the light was upheld and the players left the field, and a few minutes later the rain was pelting down.

There was no further play, and a few hours later a heavy storm swept the city. What effect it will have on the pitch is anybody's guess. At the moment, Bobby Simpson and his men are sitting pretty.

The onus of making a real fight of this match now rests squarely on the shoulders of the Rhodesian batsmen. If they can set the Australians a 200 run target in the fourth innings, it could be quite a finish.


By Louis Duffus (Monday 7 November 1966)

After searching for several years South Africa has now found in Jackie du Preez, who will be 24 in seven days' time, a spin bowler who some time might be an asset to the country's cricket. After six years in representative play he has suddenly burst into bloom like a desert cactus that long lies dormant before it flowers.

A few seasons ago when I asked him if he had ever taken five wickets in an innings he replied: ``I've never had the chance.''

In the days of Lawrence, Partridge and David Pithey he was given very little bowling. In this match against the Australians he bowled 32 overs unchanged for three hours and accomplished his best performance of six for 95.

This surpassed his five for 36 against Worcestershire in 1964/65. Last summer in four Currie Cup matches he took only four wickets for 189 with an average of 47.25.

Before the present season started he attended the spin bowlers' school at Pretoria. It transformed him like the touch of a magic wand.

``Balaskas showed me little adjustments of arms and feet when things are going wrong,'' he said, ``but just as important, my whole approach to the game changed after talks with Goddard.''

The fact that this season he has taken three for 112 (with a simple catch dropped), three for 22 and six for 95 against Transvaal and the Australians is not so important as his attainment of a mechanical groove of accurate control.

He has been flattered - as McKinnon was - by bowling on pitches ideal for spin (and entertaining cricket). He will surely suffer in less favourable conditions, but in his bowling as well as his character, as the man who employs him as a tobacco buyer put it, ``He has not matured.''

At one time yesterday he had taken five for 39, dismissing Stackpole and Watson in eight balls.

After being 103 for one the Australians lost five wickets for 38, but all through the piece the meticulously correct Redpath batted with unshakable solidity. He used his feet well to spin and employed little power until his last partner, Renneberg, arrived and he slammed 16, including a six, off Neville Williams. All told he had eight fours.

By carrying his bat for 139 through the innings of five hours 22 minutes, he turned a precarious position for the Australians into one of possible victory. He was beaten a few times by du Preez but gave few chances.


By Richie Benaud (Monday 7 November 1966)

Rhodesia still has a chance of saving the match against the Australians in Salisbury despite being 100 behind with two days to play.

All wickets are intact and, though the pitch is taking increasing spin, the openers Frangos and Gripper played well enough yesterday to indicate that a score of 275 should not be beyond the capabilities of the local side. Australia condemned to bat last would not then face the resulting task with over-confidence.

Two players stood out in yesterday's play - Redpath for Australia with his wonderful effort of batting right through the innings after opening with Simpson on Saturday night, and du Preez for Rhodesia who bowled his leg-spinners so well that at one stage he seemed likely to rout the Australians for a meagre score.

In the end he finished a tired bowler with six for 95, but his general bowling was good enough to run him into line for Test honours later in the season.

There was no doubt that Rhodesia badly missed Partridge's experience yesterday and had he been in the side Australia would have been pushed to reach 200.

As it was, the tail-enders had to assist Redpath and they performed their task with such aplomb that in the end Rhodesia must have been happy to be only 158 behind on the first innings.

This tour though could well see the emergence of Redpath as a top-class Test batsman. Yesterday he held the side together with the valuable assistance of Hawke and Taber in the face of spirited bowling and fielding from Pithey's side.

The local side need to provide a second innings batting revival to stay in the match, but if they manage this, then we could yet see a great finish to a game that has so far provided much good competitive cricket.


By Len Brown (Tuesday 8 November 1966)

Bobby Simpson and his fellow Australians were happy last night with the start of the first-class part of their tour. With 40 minutes and a full day's play in hand, they handed out an eight-wicket hiding to the Rhodesians up at the Police Ground yesterday. Despite another hurricane innings of 81 in 83 minutes by Howie Gardiner, and a wonderful exhibition of batting technique by skipper Tony Pithey, Rhodesia could only leave the tourists a meagre 108 to get for victory, and this they managed comfortably.

And the architect of victory in this young Australian side, so full of talent and promise, was 23-year-old leg spinner Ian Chappell. In a spell lasting well over three hours, the young South Australian had figures of 34-14-53-5, a tribute not only to his bowling stamina, but to his skill.

He flighted the ball well, turned quite sharply at times, and kept his occasional googly well hidden, with not more than half a dozen loose deliveries to ease the burden on the crease-bound batsmen.

But for me the highlight of the day's play was that grand exhibition by Tony Pithey. Not for the first time, he accepted the responsibility of bolstering a sagging innings - he's done it often enough for South Africa and Rhodesia, goodness knows.

His footwork and technique to the spinners came straight out of the text book, his patience was admirable, and he also found time to shield one or two of his colleagues from the spin conjured up on a still receptive pitch.

Gardiner's innings lifted the hearts of Rhodesian supporters. Not without blemish - he swung mightily and missed several times, and was close to being bowled on one or two occasions - it was nevertheless studded with six mighty sixes, one of which cleared the boundary by at least 30 yards over long on.

He thumped two in succession off Simpson - in fact he spread his 'favours' equally, hitting three sixes off Martin and three off Simpson, and his cover driving along the ground was most elegant, with beautiful timing.

Skipper Tony Pithey was content to give the youngster his head and gave him most of the bowling, and Gardiner responded by hitting 81 of the 107 the pair added, in 83 hectic minutes.

It was a most timely stand for Rhodesia, for in the first 90 minutes of play, five wickets had fallen for the addition of only 65 runs, of which Pithey had grafted a solid, patient 30.

Chappell it was who started the early rot when in quick succession he had Gripper and Ullyett caught at slip, both prodding uncertainly to the leg spin.

Then, after Simpson had induced Frangos to commit batting suicide by chasing one two feet outside the off stump to give wicket-keeper Taber his first catch for Australia, Chappell struck probably the most mortal blow, when he caught Bland in two minds, and his checked drive saw the ball loop off the bat gently into the hands of Martin in the covers. An hour of Bland was just what Rhodesia needed at that time.

Du Preez didn't stay long, before being stranded a few yards down the pitch to Chappell's leg spinner, and Taber accepted his first stumping chance for Australia.

Then Gardiner arrived to join Pithey, at noon, with the Australian bowlers out for the kill in the shape of an innings victory, for Rhodesia still needed 37 to make them bat again, with only five wickets in hand.

The lanky wicket-keeper started shakily, sparring and missing several times, and on two occasions he took almighty wooshes at balls from Simpson, one of which must have just about scraped the varnish from the off stump.

But he settled down, taking confidence from his skipper at the other end, who was content - indeed determined - to wait for the loose ball before attempting any heroics.

And off the last ball before lunch Gardiner put the crowd in better humour by sweeping Simpson over the square leg fence for the first of his sixes, and Rhodesia went in to lunch with 152 for five on the board, needing six more runs to make Australia bat again.

Chappell, who had bowled unchanged since the start of play, had the excellent lunchtime figures of 22-9-34-4. He had hardly bowled a loose ball in his two-hour stint, and with clever variation of pace, and a deal of turn from the pitch on occasions, looked a fine bowler.

But Gardiner's hectic innings was too good to last, and when Chappell went round the wicket to him he flattened his middle stump with the first ball.

Shortly afterwards a tired Pithey, suffering from a strained back - he didn't field in the Australians' second innings - chopped a short ball from fast bowler Renneberg into his stumps, and the Rhodesian innings folded a few minutes before afternoon tea.

First innings hero Ian Redpath started off as though he intended getting all the 108 runs needed himself, but du Preez accepted a smart caught and bowled chance, and when Williams again bowled Grahame Thomas - third time in four innings - the total stood at 64.

Then came Chappell, and with Bobby Simpson right back to his best form, the Australians romped home without further loss.


By Richie Benaud (Tuesday 8 November 1966)

The resounding three-day win over Rhodesia has given Bobby Simpson's young Australian side a wonderful start to the tour. And they should now approach the weekend match against Transvaal with confidence.

It was not quite as facile a victory as it appeared on paper, for it needed but one Rhodesian batsman to hold on with Pithey in a sensible display of controlled attacking batsmanship, and the Australians' fourth innings task would have been menacing.

What actually took place at the Police Ground yesterday was that a young Australian side outplayed their opponents except in the ground fielding department, and even there they matched the traditionally strong Rhodesian side.

Chappell bowled superbly yesterday and, in taking his five for 53, gave one of the most intelligent displays of leg-spinning I have seen for many years.

Tony Pithey played him well and the Rhodesian skipper turned in one of his best performances, using his feet magnificently to destroy the spinner's length, and playing his shots with great judgement.

His footwork should have been an example to the rest of his side. But no one else was able to grasp the idea - not even Gardiner who hit so magnificently for his 81.

Mostly this talented player hit from the crease and, much as I admired his tremendous power and keen eye, I couldn't help thinking how much better and more dangerous he would be if he could take a lesson from his skipper's footwork.


Wednesday 9 November 1966

The touring Australian cricketers fly back to Johannesburg this morning and their team to meet Transvaal in a four-day fixture beginning at the Wanderers on Friday is expected to be announced this evening. . . .

The Australian team manager, Mr Bill Jacobs, said yesterday that despite the day-early finish to the Rhodesian match gate receipts from the Rhodesian part of the tour had been excellent.

Mr Jacobs said that although he had not yet received the official gate figures he believed they were the best for a touring team here for several years.

Iana's representative with the team says the official attendance figures for the two games in Rhodesia totalled 18 400 - Bulawayo 5 200 and Salisbury 13 200.


Sportlight by Len Brown (Friday 11 November 1966)

``Experiments are under way to try to perfect a surface which will give added speed to the Wanderers wicket in Johannesburg . . . the idea is to perfect a wicket that will give speed, but at the same time will not crumble. We want a wicket that will give both batsmen and bowlers an equal chance . . . in other words, a 'sporting' wicket. But the most important thing we are trying to establish is the right amount of clay soil to use, and to what depth to lay it.''

Who said that? Mr Geoff Treadwell, president of the Transvaal Cricket Union, answering the critics who have been blasting that Wanderers pitch which saw 1347 runs scored for only 26 wickets, in the three days of the Currie Cup match between Transvaal and Eastern Province last weekend.

And while all that fuss and bother was going on down there, we were having sour words, lots of them, from several players, and spectators, up at the Police Ground . . . because the pitch there was taking spin . . . on the first day of the Rhodesia-Australia game.

Unheard of, that . . . spin on the first day. The normal procedure in a five-day Test match for years has been to produce pitches which don't give the spinner an earthly until about afternoon tea on the fourth day . . . if then.

What's so wrong about a pitch that takes a bit of spin . . . at any time? While the Aussies were weaving spells about some Rhodesian batsmen on the first day, you may recall Robbie Ullyett was playing quite the best innings of the entire match, and studding it with 11 of the most elegant fours you could wish to see in any innings.

I don't advocate 'cabbage patches' as good cricket pitches, with the ball shooting along the ground or kicking up off a length . . . any more than I advocate those super, pluperfect pitches which set the scales so heavily in favour of the batsmen, and make hacks of even the best of bowlers.

There must, surely, be a happy medium . . . and I think Bulawayo Queens groundsman Bobby Styles found it in that pitch he prepared for the two-day pipe-opener the Australians played against a Matabeleland XI last week. It was hard and firm, there was grass on it, and both pacemen and spinners got something from it.

That's it then . . . hard and firm . . . but there MUST be some grass on the pitch . . . that is essential.

. . . As an ex-groundsman myself, might I suggest a modicum of grass be left on all pitches, when they are cut for a match, and before rolling, they be flooded, hessian placed over, watered again, and then rolled until dry.

The use of hessian is essential, as it allows the rolling of the pitch while wet, without 'picking up' any of the clay content in the soil.

Blimey! . . . the way I'm talking, someone is going to suggest I get out and do the blinking job myself.

No thanks . . . I've enough work, just pounding this typewriter.


Fred Cleary's Column (Sunday Mail, 13 November 1966)

There is no need for the Rhodesian cricket world to sink into a state of depression because of the successive thrashings by Transvaal and the Australians.

In fact, much good could come from the fashion in which we were beaten. Our batsmen have now faced the finest spin bowling in current Southern African cricket, and the experience they have gained should serve them well in the three Currie Cup games ahead.

Admitted, it was embarrassing to see Frangos, Gripper and Bland struggling and failing against McKinnon and then Simpson's powerful battery of himself, Martin, Veivers, Chappell and Stackpole.

The way they anchored themselves at the crease, frightened to emulate Redpath and step out and stifle the spin, was depressing.

Nick Frangos, in particular, looked ordinary last weekend as time and again he raised his bat and threw a beefy left leg at the ball as it came through. He seemed mesmerised, out of his depth; nothing like the man who plays seam with such elegance and confidence.

Without trying to excuse him, I believe Frangos at any rate failed because in his comparatively short career in first-class cricket, he had yet to meet such consistent class spin bowling.

Like so many young provincial batsmen of this present generation, on his travels round Southern Africa he has faced a brigade of good seamers, but few spinners of real calibre. Such is the current weakness of our cricket.

But Nick Frangos is an intelligent, ambitious young cricketer. He could yet move into the heady atmosphere of Test cricket. He may even succeed Tony Pithey as Rhodesian captain at some future date.

And knowing the manner of the man, I am pretty certain that when he can find the time from his present army duties, he will work like fury to eradicate this obvious weakness in his batting technique.

Colin Bland remains an enigma. Unable really to get going against Transvaal, he carved the Australian attack to pieces with his quite devastating 94 in Bulawayo, only to fail again in Salisbury with 4 and 8.

Richie Benaud laughs at talk of Bland not making the first Test. ``We'll be only too glad not to see him,'' he told me. ``The Australians fear him and shudder at the thought of Bland in form.''

I agree. At 28, Bland could not be drained of his immense talent. He is going through a difficult patch, like Graeme Pollock, who could not even score on that featherbed Wanderers wicket.

But in order to ascertain whether Bland has the form for the first two Tests, the Springbok selectors will no doubt study carefully his batting against Natal next weekend in Salisbury.

If he fails this time he will almost certainly have to score against Transvaal and Eastern Province in the first two weeks in December. There are too many good young batsmen around for more than three to be certain of facing Simpson's men over December 23-28.

These 'certainties' are Graeme Pollock, Trevor Goddard and Eddie Barlow.

Rob Ullyett is one batsman who must move into contention for a Test place. Any man who can take 87 and 60 in such brilliant fashion off the touring team is entitled to recognition.

He is now 30. Had he lived in Natal or the Transvaal I am sure his batting would have matured more quickly against higher quality league bowlers.

But to find a way into a Springbok Test team at No 3 will not be easy as Ali Bacher, Barry Richards and Ray White are pressing hard.

Jack du Preez has, with that six for 95 last Sunday, come close to clinching his place as the Springbok leg spinner. Again, good performances in the next three Currie Cup matches prior to the Tests will do him a power of good.

Some could argue that the South African captain - whoever he might be - might want more variety in his slow men than that provided by du Preez and McKinnon's left arm spinners, but the fact remains there are no top class off spinners, unless David Pithey suddenly finds form. And even so, du Preez has now overtaken him as a bowler.

As for the retention of 10 of the Rhodesian side that lost to the Australians for the Natal match, again I believe the selectors had little option.

In Bulawayo, McPhun and Wallace failed as openers and there are no others in the leagues good enough to oust Gripper and Frangos.

The omission of Joe Partridge? I would like to have seen him against the Australians, but team-building has to start somewhere, and for the reminder of the season the selectors must now look to youth.

Inyati farmer Huntsman Williams, at 22, can spearhead a new generation of seamers, and he, Eddie Parker, Neville Williams and, possibly at some future date, Peter MacKenzie, will no doubt be the backbone of the Rhodesian seam attack for some seasons to come.

Huntsman Williams is a refreshing cricketer and can develop into a real personality. He has good looks and impressive bowling style. Extremely intelligent, he learned much from his two encounters with the Australians and from his coaching lessons with David Brown.

At present he lacks at least a yard in pace. Like Alan Davidson of Australia, he was tossed into the national side after a long reign by two great seam bowlers. In the Australian case it was Lindwall and Miller, but after a couple of seasons Davidson developed into a devastating left arm swing bowler.

Williams is ambitious enough to work at his game. He agreed with my suggestion that he will probably have to put down a 'net' at his farm and slave away at every available minute. Living 40 miles outside Bulawayo handicaps his present training schedule.

His back troubles appear to be over, so that pace must be found. If he could find that speed and learn to move the ball enough, the road to stardom will await him.

The next two matches of his career will be most interesting.


By John Parry (Sunday Mail, 13 November 1966)

The Australians have come and gone, leaving Rhodesia with somewhat mixed cricket memories. . . .

Few of the Rhodesians emerged from the sort tour with glory. Only Jack du Preez as a bowler; Tony Pithey, Rob Ullyett and Howie Gardiner as batsmen.

Colin Bland had one good knock but in the main seemed at sea against the leg-spinners. Nick Frangos, though he made some runs, looked dangerously brittle.

The Rhodesian selectors have done the sensible thing in not making wholesale changes for the Currie Cup match against Natal next week. Judging by conditions on the Police Ground pitch this year, it might be worth taking the risk of playing a three-spin attack with du Preez, Mike Shacklock and Neville Deudney all included, though the latter two are very inexperienced in big-time cricket.

Still, they have got to get their experience some time, and now may be the right moment. If this happens, however, who is going to be dropped? It might be practicable to leave out a third seamer and invite Messrs Bland and Ullyett (and possibly Gripper) to fill any necessary gaps.

The spectacular performances of Howie Gardiner have set the seal on what has been a remarkable year for this young sportsman. In hockey he was originally picked for the Mashonaland second side in the annual festival; then he played his way into the Rhodesian team, and became the number one choice on the South African tour.

So with his cricket. He forced his way into the Rhodesian side over the immaculate keeper Tony de Caila and then blasted the Australian attack in two spectacular innings.

Yet Gardiner is not a spectacular personality. He is a modest, quiet person who treats his feats of brilliance with a slight air almost of surprise.

I was watching him through field-glasses when, the second ball before lunch in Salisbury, he was dropped at slip by Redpath. He looked completely unconcerned. The next ball - the last before lunch - he dismissed from his presence with that elegant sweep that reminds one of a top flight golfer at the peak of his form.

It was one of the best sixes he hit in a dynamic score. Gardiner was quite unmoved.

An experienced Australian critic said to me at the time, ``I hope the experts aren't going to coach all the strokes out of him.'' This is a danger which can be foreseen.

True, Gardiner must learn by experience to use his feet as well as his reach, and to realise that when a bowler goes round the wicket, as Chappell did in order to dismiss him, that bowler is doing so for a purpose - to bring the ball inside the arc of the swinging bat.

Gardiner is a natural cricketer of a high order, blessed with a splendid temperament. When riding his luck he reminds one of Paul Winslow or Ronnie Coventry in full flight; I think he may well turn out to be better than either.

But the public must not expect him to come off every time, or goad him into committing suicide at the crease.

And here may I say how very cruel one section of the crowd at Salisbury can be. They derided Dave Napier, who had not had the best of matches, because he made some fielding lapses, forgetting that he took one darn good catch to end the Australian first innings.

Napier has done sterling service for Rhodesia. He is a big-hearted but sensitive individual. The treatment dished out to him was shabby to say the least.