England clinch the Bodyline series at Brisbane : Excerpt from Indra Vikram Singh’s book ‘Don’s Century’

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Douglas Jardine realised his ambition of wresting back the Ashes for England in 1932-33, but at what cost!

Australia began well in the Brisbane Test as Richardson and Woodfull raised 133 runs. The former was in fine nick, scoring 83 off 146 balls. The skipper, in his familiarly cautious mode, helped Bradman put on another 67 runs. McCabe seemed in a hurry, returning after slamming four boundaries in his quickfire 20. But Bradman was firing on all cylinders, having struck 11 boundaries in a knock of 76 before Larwood castled him on the second morning. There was not much resistance after his exit and Australia folded up for 340.

Jardine and Sutcliffe were not the most attractive of opening pairs, grinding their way to a 114-run stand. The much-despised captain gave Oldfield’s replacement 37-year-old Hampden Love his first catch in the solitary Test that he got the chance to play. O’Reilly struck again a while later, rapping Sutcliffe’s pad in front of the sticks, another painstaking effort of 86. England gained a lead of just 16 runs.

After a confident start Australia fell away, and in fact surrendered the series in an indifferent display. Bradman was once more shaping well, having made 24 off 31 balls in just over half-an-hour when Larwood dismissed him again. England needed just 160 runs to win, and Leyland ensured there would be no slip with a fine knock of 86.

The Australians suffered a double blow on that fateful 16th February 1933. Not only were the Ashes snatched away from them, but one of their brightest talents, Archie Jackson, who had been ailing for the past couple of years, died tragically at the age of 23. Gloom descended on all who held Australian cricket dear.

….. the story of the Bodyline series of 1932-33 from ‘Don’s Century’ continues next week.

(Author Indra Vikram Singh can be contacted on email singh_iv@hotmail.com).

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‘Don’s Century’, published by Sporting Links, ISBN 978-81-901668-5-0.

Distributed in India by Variety Book Depot, Connaught Place, New Delhi, Phones + 91 11 23417175 and 23412567.

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