Ted Martin September 30, 2002

The first Australian cricketer to achieve century

It is said that legspinners enjoy longevity in cricket, often playing far longer than other bowling practitioners, and for Australian Ted Martin that has been borne out this week.

While there is conjecture over exactly what his date of birth was, Martin achieved centenarian status during the past week. Several authoritative sources claim that he was born today in 1902 but there are other claims that his birth date was September 26. Whatever it was, it is now official.

Martin played only two first-class matches, one for Western Australia and one for an Australian XI. Playing against Douglas Jardine's 1932-33 team at the outset of what became known as the "Bodyline tour", he took six wickets in the opening match of the tour and on the basis of that performance was named in the Australian XI which also played in Perth and which included Don Bradman and Vic Richardson. He didn't take any wickets in that match.

Martin had been born in Bendigo but was moved west when his father followed the gold rush. Martin did not continue his cricket career beyond these matches and instead spent a professional career in accountancy.

He does join a select group of players who have achieved 100 years. He's not the first Australian to achieve the feat, although he is the only Australian first-class player. John Wheatley, who was born in Singleton, New South Wales, played his first-class cricket, 12 matches, for Canterbury in New Zealand. He died in Waimate, South Canterbury in 1962.

The closest Australian previously had been New South Welshman Ray Bardsley who died in 1983 aged 99 years, five months

The known full list of players before Martin were:

103y 344d   JM Hutchinson    29 Nov 1896 -  7 Nov 2000   Eng
102y 253d   R De Smidt       23 Nov 1883 -  3 Aug 1986   RSA
102y 247d   EA English        1 Jan 1864 -  5 Sep 1966   Eng
102y 101d   J Wheatley        8 Jan 1860 - 19 Apr 1962   Aus
101y 222d   DB Deodhar       14 Jan 1892 - 24 Aug 1993   India
101y 191d   GRU Harman        6 Jun 1874 - 14 Dec 1975   Ire
100y 217d   CH Braithwaite   10 Sep 1845 - 15 Apr 1946   USA
100y  77d   GO Deane         11 Dec 1828 - 26 Feb 1929   Eng