Slow Turn


As far as South African cricket is concerned, Ali Bacher’s class of 1969-70 is still the gold standard, the 4-0 whitewash of Australia at home their most dazzling display of cricket. Billed as a contest between two heavyweights, a de facto World Championship of sorts, much rested on how the South Africans dealt with the spin of John Gleeson. Gleeson had a deceptive leg break as well as a rogue off-spinner up his sleeve. Bill Lawry, ever judicious, shielded him from the prying eyes of South African test batsmen in the tour matches leading up to the series, taking him out of the attack as soon as they came on to bat.

Gleeson thus took his mark at Port Elizabeth, scene of the first test, shrouded in mystery. The element of unknown held sway over a scratchy Ali Bacher who admits to scoring off him without having a clue of…

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