Bodyline Series / News

A tour diary

Bodyline timeline - March to May 1933

Martin Williamson

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

March 1 The tour party splits up, although the tour is far from over. Harold Larwood, returning home injured, and the Nawab of Pataudi, heading back to India for business reasons, travel back across the Nullarbor. The remainder of the side head to Melbourne where they play the first of two remaining state matches before going on to New Zealand.

March 2

March 3 After the storm. Around 10,000 turn out at the MCG as two below-par sides take to the field. Herbert Sutcliffe bats for two hours for his 75, Hammond again assaults Chuck Fleetwood-Smith, taking 33 off two overs from him before holing out. Maurice Tate, who has not played a Test, top scores with an unbeaten 94 in 114 minutes, adding 50 for the last wicket with Bill Bowes in 33 minutes.
Victoria 9 for 0 trail MCC 321 (Tate 94*, Sutcliffe 75, Hammond 59) by 312 runs Scorecard

March 4 Only 45 minutes play are possible before rain washes out the second day's play
Victoria 29 for 1 trail MCC 321 by 292 runs Scorecard

March 5 Rest day.

March 6 Victoria gain a tiny lead thanks to an unlikely last-wicket stand of 40 between Hans Ebeling and Bert Ironmonger. Len Darling is the star, his hundred on the fifth against MCC all tour, while Hec Oakley, who made 83 against MCC earlier in the tour, chips in with another fifty in front of around 5000 spectators rattling around inside the MCG.
MCC 321 and 29 for 1 lead Victoria 327 (Darling 103, Ebeling 67, Oakley 50) by 23 runs Scorecard

March 7 The best finish of the tour after Victoria are set a target of 178 of 109 minutes. Keith Rigg, captaining in the absence of Bill Ponsford, and Ernie Bromley set about the bowling and bring up their hundred partnership in 73 minutes. When the last eight-ball over starts Victoria need seven to win. Bowes bowls seven tight balls to a packed off-side field, and six are scored. Rigg swings at the final delivery and is caught by Tommy Mitchell at mid-on. The scores are level, and although Victoria have wickets in hand, under the regulations of the time, the match is declared a tie, the first in Australian cricket.


MCC 321 and 183 for 9 (Hammond 64, Ironmonger 5-31) tied with Victoria 327 and 177 for 3 (Rigg 88, Bromley 56) Scorecard

March 8

March 9 March 10 Back in Adelaide, the scene of the bitterest exchanges during the third Test, the final match of the Australian leg of the tour sees MCC indulge in a virtual go-slow with the bat, taking all day to crawl to 240 for 4, with Jardine and Leyland the main culprits. In the evening Vic Richardson criticises the MCC tactics.
MCC 240 for 4 (Paynter 62) v South Australia Scorecard

March 11 MCC's innings subsides meekly, and then when Bowes bowls Bodyline to Jack Nitschke he is smashed over the leg field several times. But the rest of the batsmen, Bulla Ryan excepted, offer little. MCC open their second innings with Paynter and Geroge Duckworth, and both are peppered with short bowling to a Bodyline field. Bert Tobin and Graeme Williams, however, are not fast enough to cause any real alarms.
MCC 298 (Ames 63, Paynter 62) and 6 for 0 lead South Australia 191 (Ryan 61) by 113 runs Scorecard

March 12 Rest day.

March 13 Jardine's last innings in Australia contributes to a fourth-wicket stand of 142 with Maurice Leyland, who takes a glancing blow to the head during his 264-minute 152 not out. MCC build an impregnable lead of 477 by the close.
MCC 298 and 371 for 8 (Leyland 152*, Jardine 65)) lead South Australia 191 (Ryan 61) by 113 runs Scorecard

March 14 Set an impossible 478, Nitschke gets South Australia off to a flier by taking Bowes and Voce on, putting on 57 in 33 minutes for the first wicket with Richardson. At lunch, after 90 minutes, they are 109 for 1. Bowes is hooked for six by Nitschke and then had three chances dropped off him in one over. But as his hundred approaches, Nitschke becomes becalmed as is lbw to Mitchell. Voce, bowling leg theory, hits Tobin flush in the face and knocks him out, but he returns at the close, to great cheers, to steer South Australia to the draw. The last day sees Jardine, whose Harlequin cap has caused such anger throughout Australia, don the official MCC touring cap while the other ten MCC players sport a variety of colourful headgear.
MCC 298 and 371 for 8 dec drew with South Australia 191 and 313 for 8 (Nitschke 87, Tobin 52*) Scorecard

March 15 The remnants of the squad return to Melbourne where they playa football match against the winners of the Victoria Premiership, losing 3-1 in front of 3000 spectators. Hammond, a former professional, leads the side.

March 16 The squad heads to Sydney to catch the Maunganui bound for New Zealand. They are given "an enthusiastic send-off" according to The Times. Jardine, asked if the counties might not be too eager for the Australians to visit in 1934, replies that "the whole of England will always welcome an Australian team".

March 20 The Maunganui arrives in New Zealand to a warm welcome and a reception hosted by the prime minister. The PM makes a joke, thanking the cricketers for taking the public's minds off his government's tax-raising policies by coming to play cricket.

April 4 The MCC squad leave Auckland on the Aornagi after a fortnight in New Zealand where they draw the two Tests, both blighted by poor weather. In the second at Auckland, Hammond breaks Don Bradman's world record Test score of 334, making 336 not out to add to his 227 in the first Test. Jardine misses the second Test because of rheumatism. The journey home is via Fiji, Honolulu and then to Vancouver for a four-day overland train journey across Canada. In Montreal they board the Duchess of Atholl for a crossing so bad that the furniture has to be strapped down.

April 8 Larwood reaches London after travelling from Port Said by train. He has been warned by the MCC not to speak to anyone, but Arthur Carr, his county captain, meets him in Egypt and escorts him home. He arrives at Nottingham after midnight but thousands are waiting to greet him.

May 6 The boat docks at Greenock, after being diverted from Liverpool. The players are asked not to discuss Bodyline with the media, and Jardine says of his side that "English cricket and cricketers should be as proud of them as I am grateful to them". Most players head home, but five of the group - Jardine, Brown, Bowes, Ames and Tate - catch the train to London where they are greeted by a large crowd of wellwishers.

May 7 In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Express, Larwood, who is free from his contract now the tour is officially over, writes that "Woodfull was too slow and Bradman was frightened ...yes, frightened is the word. He was scared by my bowling. I knew it, as everyone did."

May 13 Plum Warner, who left the tour party in Toronto, arrives home. Gubby Allen is the last to return, spending time travelling the USA and hobnobbing with Hollywood stars.

May 22 In his only public utterance on the tour, Jardine tells the Nottingham Evening News that the term Bodyline is "meaningless". He adds: "That term was coined by a sensational press to explain or excuse defeat and it would have died a natural and speedy death had it not been adopted by the Australian Board of Control in its lamentable wire to the MCC."

Bibloiography
Bodyline Autopsy David Frith
Quest For The Ashes Douglas Jardine
The Larwood Story Harold Larwood
A Cuckoo In The Bodyline Nest Gilbert Mant
The Cricketer Wisden Cricketers' Almanack

Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo

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Martin Williamson Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.
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