Bodyline Series / News

A tour diary

Bodyline timeline - November 1932

Martin Williamson

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July-October 1932 | November 1932 | December 1932 | January 1933 | February 1933 | March - May 1933

November 1 The MCC are given a civic reception in Adelaide. Bill Voce's leg is still troublesome and he is advised to walk a mile a day to help his recovery. Fast bowler Tim Wall withdraws from the South Australia side to face MCC with flu.

November 2 The squad practise at the Adelaide Oval in the afternoon. Clem Hill watches and proclaims that Australia will need to be at their best, adding he is less than impressed with Bill Bowes' bowling.

November 3 Douglas Jardine names a strong side to face South Australia.

November 4 Hundreds from Herbert Sutcliffe and Maurice Leyland in an opening stand of 223 as MCC end the first day against South Australia on 341 for 5. Leyland is dropped on 0 and 93. The Nawab of Pataudi, with back-to-back hundreds in the first two matches, is run out for 0 while Jardine, batting his Harlequin cap, is remorselessly booed and jeered. It makes no impression on him.
MCC 341 for 5 (Sutcliffe 154, Leyland 127) v South Australia Scorecard

November 5 Jardine, greeted with total silence as he walks out to bat, wins over spectators with a breezy hundred, but it's Harold Larwood's 42-minute 81 that thrills the 23,000 crowd as MCC keep up a rate of 80-runs-an-hour. Opener Jack Nitschke is hit on the shoulder by Larwood but makes a sprightly 69 in an opening stand of 134 with Vic Richardson, including successive sixes off Hedley Verity. Larwood limps out of the match with a blistered toe after five overs.
South Australia 145 for 2 (Richardson 72*) trail MCC 634 for 9 dec (Sutcliffe 154, Leyland 127, Jardine 108*, Larwood 81, Wyatt 61, Grimmett 4-176) by 589 runs Scorecard

At the SCG, Bradman hammers 238 for New South Wales against Victoria, his 200 coming up in less than three hours.

November 6 The rest day. Bill Bowes and Jardine have a frank discussion in which Bowes is told that "anyone who plays under me does as I say or he goes home". "Right," Bowes replies. "I go home." Jardine smiles. "Well that's marvellous. Shake hands and forget it." Bowes is won over. Jardine and Pataudi take five girls from St Peter's Girls School to a funfair.

November 7 Vic Richardson finds little support as South Australia's last eight wickets fall for 145 and they are forced to follow-on. Freddie Brown gets some turn and four wickets, while Verity takes three. Bowes, however, continues to bowl too short and comes in for some heavy punishment.
South Australia 290 (Richardson 134, Brown 4 -81) and 106 for 2 trail MCC 634 for 9 dec by 238 runs Scorecard

November 8 Verity takes 4 for 19 off 13 overs, five wickets in all, as South Australia are beaten by 3pm. Only Wally Catchlove, who is last man out for 65, offers any resistance. More than 50,000 watch the match. Pelham Warner, the MCC manager, expresses his unease with the barracking the team receives during the game.
MCC 634 for 9 dec beat >South Australia 290 and 216 (Catchlove 65, Verity 5-42) by an innings and 128 runs Scorecard

November 9 The MCC squad travels overnight from Adelaide to Melbourne.

November 10 The side is given a civic reception at the town hall. In a speech, Warner, referring to the Adelaide match, asks: "Do you think a great and dignified game like cricket should be interrupted by a certain amount of noise?" His comments are well received. The evening is spent at the Opera House watching The Gondoliers.

November 11 Victoria are bowled out for 231 after winning the toss, only Hec Oakley showing any fight, his 83 cruelly ended when a deflection leaves him run-out at the non-striker's end. Voce takes four wickets without approaching full pace.
MCC 41 for 2 trail Victoria 231 (Oakley 83, Allen 4-45, Voce 4-55) by 190 runs Scorecard

November 12 Wally Hammond blasts a magnificent hundred in front of 33,500 spectators, and, under orders, destroys chinaman bowler Chuck Fleetwood-Smith in an orgy of strokeplay. Fleetwood-Smith was considered a real threat with 47 wickets in seven matches. Eddie Paynter is forced to retire hurt with loosened teeth and a swollen lip after top-edging Vernon Nagel into his mouth. Jardine is again barracked at the crease, while the veteran Dainty Ironmonger bowls so tightly that at one stage he concedes only three runs from 100 deliveries.
MCC 362 for 7 (Hammond 169*) lead Victoria 231 by 131 runs Scorecard

November 13 Rest day.

November 14 More than 10,000 spectators are left short changed as Victoria are spun to defeat on a rain-affected pitch. Overnight storms and then a downpour in the afternoon make conditions ideal for the bowlers and only Bill Woodfull and Oakley get into double figures.
MCC 408 (Hammond 203) beat Victoria 231 and 94 by an innings and 83 runs Scorecard

Maurice Tate finally arrives in Australia to join the squad.

November 15 The MCC players enjoy an extra day off as the selectors name their next opponents, a strong Australian XI. Bill Ponsford (ankle) and Len Darling (strained back) are doubts but Bradman plays.

November 17 MCC announce their XI and Jardine stands down to allow Bob Wyatt to captain the side. For the first time, the four-prong pace attack of Larwood, Voce, Bowes and Allen plays.

November 18 Almost 24,000 are less than thrilled as MCC crawl to 232 for 8 - "even the pigeons wandered onto the square without being at risk," noted Arthur Mailey. Sutcliffe's 83 forms the backbone of the innings. It is the lull before the storm.
MCC 232 for 8 (Sutcliffe 83) v Australian XI Scorecard

November 19 The first signs of what became known as Bodyline, the irony being that Jardine is not even on the ground. Larwood strikes Woodfull around the heart, causing a ten-minute delay, while Bradman opts to scurry round the crease to try to combat the leg theory. He is out lbw shuffling across his crease, but not before he has played what was described as an overhead tennis smash for an all-run five at a ball aimed at his head. Some think Bradman has rattled the English bowlers before he gets out. The 50,000-plus crowd are left bemused. Larwood takes his 1000th first-class wicket when he bowls Len O'Brien. Jardine, meanwhile, is on a fishing trip in the Bogong Valley.
Australian XI 216 for 9 trail MCC 282 (Sutcliffe 83, Oxenham 5-53) by 66 runs Scorecard

November 21 The most remarkable day of the tour so far. The 6'6" medium-fast bowler Lisle Nagel, who missed the Victoria match after wrenching his elbow on a starter motor, uses a cross breeze to bamboozle the tourists, finishing with career-best figures of 8 for 32. The press are also critical of the English batsmen's use of their feet. Lightning and then heavy rain brings an early end to play.
Australian XI 218 and 0 for 0 trail MCC 282 and 60 (Nagel 8-32) by 124 runs Scorecard

Australia's selectors name a 13-man squad for the first Test on December 7, including Nagel. Bradman is picked but doubts remain as he has signed a deal to write for Associated Newspapers, in contravention of board policy. "I have signed a contract and must keep to it," Bradman says. "I cannot let cricket interfere with my work." But his paper releases him from his contract, freeing him to play.

November 22 Around 10,000 turn up to see the Australians chase 125 on a drying wicket. Woodfull goes to a superb catch by George Duckworth off Larwood for 0 and then Bradman, dropped by Duckworth off Allen, steps to leg to cut Larwood and loses his off stump. The Times describes his shot as "a wild swing". But no sooner is he out than the heavens open and the match is abandoned.
Australian XI 218 and 19 for 2 drew with MCC 282 and 60 Scorecard

November 23 The Australian media, disconcerted by the tactics used by the MCC bowlers, ask why Jardine missed the match. Some suggest that it as in case the tactics backfired and then he would be able to disassociate himself from them.

November 24 The tourists travel overnight from Melbourne to Sydney where they are greeted by large crowds. After another civic reception, they have a net session at the No.2 ground in the late afternoon. They are surprised by bare patches on the outfield which they are told are because of 20 days of rain during the top-dressing time. Jardine is noted to sweep away autograph hunters with arrogant disdain.

November 25 MCC omit Larwood and Bowes to give Tate his first outing and it pays off as he and Allen bowl out NSW. Jack Fingleton carries his bat for a hundred and takes some painful blows on the body in doing so, mainly from Voce. Only Stan McCabe offers any support in a fourth-wicket stand of 118, while Bradman falls to Tate, again stepping across his stumps, for 18.
MCC 6 for 0 trail New South Wales 273 (Fingleton 119, McCabe 67, Allen 5-69, Tate 4-63) Scorecard

November 26 Almost 37,000 watch another Sutcliffe masterclass as he bats all day for 157 not out. Wyatt puts on 140 with him for the first wicket and then Pataudi 133 for the third; in between Hammond struggles for 20. Bert Oldfield is absent with flu, and Hammy Love is allowed to play as a substitute wicketkeeper. Tiger O'Reilly is the pick of the bowlers, his own brand of aggressive legspin yielding only 26 runs in 18 eight-ball overs
MCC 339 for 4 (Sutcliffe 157*, Wyatt 72, Pataudi 61) lead New South Wales 273 by 66 runs Scorecard

November 27 The rest day, Bradman takes to his bed with flu. The MCC squad is taken for a cruise around Sydney Harbour and then an afternoon lazing on the beach. Jardine allegedly tells Warner on seeing aircraft fly over the new Sydney Harbour Bridge; "I wish they were Japs and I wish they'd bomb that bridge into the harbour".

November 28 Les Ames's 90 is the highlight for MCC, using his feet superbly to drive the spinners. Syd Hird, a leggie who bowls what The Australian Cricketer describes as "donkey drops" finishes with 6 for 135 while O'Reilly, who impresses everyone, takes 4 for 86. NSW lose three wickets in the last session, while Bradman remains in his sick bed.
New South Wales 273 and 68 for 3 trail MCC 530 (Sutcliffe 189, Ames 90, Wyatt 72, Pataudi 61, Hird 6-135, O'Reilly 4-90) by 189 runs runs Scorecard

November 29 No surprises in the result as Voce takes a five-for, bowling Bradman, who comes in at No. 6, round his legs for 23. His tally in six innings against the tourists is 103. Frank Cummins offers the only fight with a whirlwind 71, including 25 off two overs from Voce. The MCC fielding is again rather sloppy and after the match, which finishes shortly after lunch, they have a session on the slip catcher.
MCC 530 beat New South Wales 273 and 219 (Cummins 71, Voce 5 for 85) by an innings and 44 runs Scorecard

Warner writes to his wife that Jardine is "a very difficult fellow ... hates Australians and his special hate is now Bradman ... he says cruel things and his language is poor at times. Not often but he uses awful words at times in talking eg of Bradman."

Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo

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