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November 30, 2001
Peter John Parnell Burge was born 17th May 1932 in Queensland Australia and died at the age of 69 in Brisbane. His cricketing career spanned 11 years and included 42 test matches. The highlight of his successful career was scoring of four centuries against England in successive Test series: 181 at the Oval in 1961, 103 at Sydney in 1962-63, 160 at Headingley in 1964 and 120 in his last series at Melbourne in 1965-66.
A class attacking batsman
Burge was an attacking batsman of the highest calibre and displayed a tremendous ability for nonchalant ease in cutting and hooking, a rarity against such top-class fast bowlers like Statham and Trueman in those days. He had earlier started his career for Queensland in 1952-53 and had captained the state side until he retired in 1968. In fact he was a strong candidate for Australian captaincy, when Bobby Simpson was absent for two tests against England in 1965-66 series, which was ultimately awarded to Brian Booth. His highest score of 283 versus New South Wales at Brisbane in 1963-64 is still the highest individual score for Queensland.
Centuries in four successive series helped Australia retain Ashes in the 1960's:
Peter Burge scored a masterly 181 in the fifth and final test at the Oval in 1961 series to ensure Australia retained the Ashes. In the next series against England in Australia 1962-63, once again he contributed with significant scores of 103 & 52 not out in the fifth and final drawn test at Sydney to again deny England snatching the Ashes. Still more memorable was his knock of 160 at Headingley, Leeds in 1964 that earned Australia victory in the only decisive test of this hard fought series. This performance earned him inclusion in Wisden's five cricketers of the year in 1965.
Visits to India and Pakistan:
Burge had visited Pakistan and India thrice (1956-57, 1959-60, and 1964). His notable scores during these visits were 83 at Bombay and 58 at Calcutta in 1956-57, 60 at Calcutta in 1959-60, and again 60 at Madras and 54 at Karachi in 1964.
Contribution in the final Test against West Indies, 1960-61:
He was also instrumental in bringing victory to Australia over the West Indies in the fifth and final test at Melbourne in the famous 1960-61 series by scoring 68 and 53 in the two innings. Two seasons later, he scored 91 at Adelaide and 56 at Sydney in one of the most competitive test series of that era between Australia and South Africa in 1963-64.
Victim of unusual dismissal:
Peter Burge was the third casualty in Australian First Class cricket history of being out handling the ball while playing in a match for Queensland versus New South Wales at Sydney in 1958-59. It was the first such event since the last in 1894-95.
There is no doubt amongst cricket lovers he was a tremendous player and a respected match referee, the world of cricket will certainly miss him.
Career Record: 1954 - 1966
Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge
Plays of the day from the tri-series match between Zimbabwe and South Africa
Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?