A tour diary

Bodyline timeline - January 1933

Martin Williamson

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

Second Test

January 1 Rest day. Jardine is reported to post a spy in the dressing room to ensure that the pitch is left alone by the ground staff. In the evening the Australian board hosts a dinner where the main speaker is the minister for railways, Robert Menzies.

January 2 The bowlers continue to dominate but Don Bradman, under immense pressure after his seven innings against the tourists produce 103 runs, makes an unbeaten 103 in three hours. His style is removed from the attacking destroyer more familiar to spectators, and he battles it out with England's fast bowlers. He steps to leg to milk wide open spaces on the off when confronted with Bodyline but there are sublime orthodox touches as well. Wally Hammond, bowling offspin, is the pick of the bowlers, making the decision to field a four-prong pace attack look misguided. England, set 252 to win, make a solid start to their chase. The attendance is 68,188, breaking the world record set on the first day.
England 168 (O'Reilly 5-63) and 43 for 0 trail Australia 228 and 191 (Bradman 103*) by 208 runs Scorecard

January 3 Herbert Sutcliffe is bowled by a snorter from Tiger O'Reilly without adding to his overnight score, and that opens the floodgates as five wickets tumble in an hour. Only Hammond has the skill to counter O'Reilly and he perishes trying to hit him out of the attack. O'Reilly takes 3 for 33 in the morning and the match is done and dusted by 3pm despite a seventh-wicket stand of 50 between Bob Wyatt and Gubby Allen. Many of the 30,000 crowd rush on at the finish, hoisting Bill Woodfull on their shoulders and carrying him from the field.
Australia 228 and 191 beat England 168 and 139 (O'Reilly 5-66, Ironmonger 4-26) by 111 runs Scorecard

January 4

January 5

January 6 The MCC squad travel to Bendigo where they will play a two-day match against a Victorian Country XIII.

January 7 In what was a light-hearted game, MCC bat 12 men against the local side's 13, although both teams have 11 in the field. The main talking point comes when Larwood, who is acting as a replacement for Maurice Tate, comes on the bowl and is hooked twice by Ron Porter. Jardine switches to a Bodyline field and Porter is immediately caught behind.
MCC 30 for 1 trail Victorian Country XIII 215 (Porter 55, Larwood 4-29) by 185 runs

January 8 After some carefree hitting by Sutcliffe and Hammond, the home side are reduced to 13 for 6 before hanging on for a draw. At the tea interval a telegram arrives from an indignant Australian board demanding to know under whose authority it was agreed that XII could play XIII. The Bendigo Association, the hosts, reply it is a mutually-agreed decision.
Victorian Country XIII 215 and 75 for 11 drew with MCC 286 (Sutcliffe 91, Hammond 67)

January 9

January 10 The tourists take an overnight train from Melbourne to Adelaide.

January 11 The MCC side arrives in Adelaide at 11am to be greeted by enthusiastic crowds and light drizzle. Both teams are able to practise at the Adelaide Oval later in the day, again watched by thousands of spectators who hurl abuse at Jardine. He cuts short the session.

January 12 England's selectors meet to discuss the side and Jardine, whose own form is poor, absents himself while his position is discussed. His is given a vote of confidence. Meanwhile, at Jardine's request, the public are shut out from the practice sessions at the ground. Demand for tickets reaches unprecedented levels.

Third Test

January 13 Jardine wins the toss for the first time - sticking with his call of tails - on what is expected to be a batsman's paradise. Both sides make changes: England replace Pataudi and Verity with Paynter and Bowes, while Australia leave out Len O'Brien and bring back Bill Ponsford. Within 45 minutes England are 30 for 4 and at lunch after an hour and a half they are 37 for 4. After the interval, as the pitch loses any early life it had, Leyland attacks and Wyatt defends, adding 156 for the fifth wicket before Leyland plays on to O'Reilly. During his innings, Leyland accuses Bert Ironmonger of smearing resin on the ball; Ironmonger empties his pockets and Leyland apologises.
England 236 for 7 (Leyland 83, Wyatt 78) v Australia Scorecard

January 14 More than 50,000 crammed into the Oval on what is the first genuinely ugly day of the series. It starts badly when Paynter is charged from behind on his way into the ground and sent flying, but with Verity he adds 79 in the morning. He falls for 77 shortly after the resumption and then the rest of the innings subsides as Tim Wall polishes things off with 3 for 15 in the afternoon. Larwood and Allen open the attack with conventional fields. Allen removes Fingleton third ball, and in the next over Woodfull is struck over the heart by Larwood, which triggers an angry reaction from the crowd. Jardine loudly calls out "Well bowled, Harold", as much to unsettle Bradman, the non striker. Woodfull eventually resumes and England switch to a Bodyline field, again sparking a furious reaction from the stands, an act described by an Australian selector as "the most unsportsmanlike act ever witnesses on an Australian cricket field". Bradman and Stan McCabe are soon out, and Ponsford, protected by extra padding, takes blow after blow on the body in a three-and-a-half hour stay, quite deliberately - it is his way of coping with Bodyline. When Woodfull departs, Australia are 51 for 4 but Vic Richardson and Ponsford bravely guide Australia through to the close. Perhaps the most infamous moment takes place off the field when Plum Warner, the MCC manager, enters the Australians' dressing room to check Woodfull is alright. Woodfull turns to him and says: "I don't want to see you Mr Warner. There are two sides out there. One is trying to play cricket, the other is not." It is later reported he adds: "The game is too good to be spoilt. It's time some people got out of it."
Australia 109 for 4 trail England 341 (Leyland 83, Wyatt 78, Paynter 77) by 232 runs Scorecard

January 15 The rest day. Jardine and Allen spend the day with friends. The Australian board meets to consider lodging a formal complaint about Bodyline with the MCC.

January 16 News of Warner's conversation with Woodfull is splashed across the press. Warner, convinced Fingleton is to blame for leaking it, offers Larwood £1 if he takes his wicket. More than 32,000 turn up to watch the third day. Ponsford and Oldfield carry on their sixth-wicket stand into the afternoon before Ponsford is finally bowled round his legs for 85 and he is soon followed by Grimmett. England take the new ball - still with a conventional field - and almost immediately Oldfield, caught in two minds, edges a Larwood thunderbolt into his head ... he reels away and collapses to his knees. Larwood immediately apologises and Oldfield replies: "It wasn't your fault, Harold." Woodfull, in a suit, emerges from the pavilion and helps the stricken Oldfield off. The crowd grow angry and police encircle the boundary with more mounted police on standby outside. Reinforcements are summoned. Jardine deliberately moves himself to the boundary edge to field but returns after being pelted with orange peel. Australia's last three wickets add no runs. Jardine opens with Sutcliffe and is still there at the close. Some spectators wait around to boo the England players as they leave the ground.
England 341 and 85 for 1 lead Australia 222 (Ponsford 85) by 204 runs Scorecard

January 17 A dull day on the field - England scored 211 for 5 - with 45 runs in 90 minutes before lunch. Jardine's four-and-a-half hour 56 ends shortly after the break but Hammond bats with ease until he is bowled by what Hobbs described as a "hopeless full toss" from Bradman in the last over. It is the second and last of Bradman's Test wickets.
England 341 and 296 for 6 (Hammond 85, Jardine 56) lead Australia 222 by 415 runs Scorecard

January 18 Ames makes his only fifty of the series, adding 98 for the seventh wicket with Verity, and Paynter, his twisted ankle heavily strapped, is sent in at No. 10 even though the lead ifs over 500 as Jardine looks to grind the Australians into the dirt. The 41-year-old Grimmett and 50-year-old Ironmonger bowl 92 overs between them. Australia, set 531 to win, lose Fingleton, who makes a pair, and Ponsford early, but Bradman launches a desperate counterattack, bringing up his fifty in 64 minutes. Reaction to his tactics is mixed. He hits his first-ever Test six off Verity but perishes attempting the same shot next ball. "I wanted to hit one bowler [Verity] before the other [Larwood] hit me," he tells a team-mate. Bad light brings a premature close.
Australia 222 and 120 for 4 (Bradman 66) trail England 341 and 412 (Hammond 85, Ames 69, Jardine 56) by 411 runs Scorecard

The Australia board - only four out of 13 delegates actually attend the meeting - sends a cable to the MCC referring to Bodyline as a "menace to the game" and refers to it as "unsportsmanlike". The board sends the cable normal rate, but newspapermen send their copy marked urgent. The result is the London papers are made aware of the cable before it is received by the MCC.

January 19 Only 7000 take advantage of half-price admission and Richardson and Woodfull hold out for some time against Bodyline bowling. Once Richardson falls attempting a pull, the tail folds meekly leaving Woodfull stranded. Rain falls within five minutes of the end of what Wisden will later describe as "possibly the most unpleasant match ever". Jardine addresses the crowd at the close. "What I have to say is not worth listening to. Those of you who had seats got your money's worth, and them some. Thank you."
England 341 and 412 beat Australia 222 and 193 (Woodfull73, Bradman 66) by 338 runs Scorecard

Newspaper reaction continues. The Melbourne Age while condemning the England tactics adds that the Australian board's reference to it affecting relations between the two countries was "hysterical". Several former Test players from South Africa tell The Times that the Australians should, in effect, just get on with it. The Daily Telegraph points out that the Australian board "is hardly known for its sense of proportion" and should have discussed the matter privately.

The MCC squad, after a crisis meeting not attended by Jardine or the management, issue a statement saying that they will not be drawn into a public comment.

In London, the MCC announces that its committee will meet straight away to discuss the cables from Australia.

January 20 The MCC squad heads to Ballarat for a two-day match against a Victorian Country XIII. The local side includes Bull Alexander, a renowned fast bowler, prompting speculation that MCC will face Bodyline, but the ACB sends a cable forbidding it. The MCC squad are welcomed, as usual, but the local mayor's speech contains an overt criticism of Bodyline.

January 21 A low-key day after the furore of the Test. Overnight rain leaves the ground soaking and many hits to the boundary stop dead in the mud. Pataudi makes a solid 84, and with Leyland he adds 121 for the fifth wicket at more than a run a minute. To the delight of the crowd, MCC face some Bodyline from a local bowler named Stalker, who takes four.
Victoria Country XIII 26 for 0 trail MCC 255 (Pataudi 64, Leyland 62) by 229 runs

January 22 A remarkable leader in Melbourne's Argus accuses the England of acting like Philistines "cheapening and distorting a noble and beautiful art".

January 23 Heavy rain delays the start until 2.30pm, and even then the captains only agree to start because of the numbers of spectators who have been queuing for hours. Tommy Mitchell takes 3 for 4 as the home side struggle but the rain returns and ends the game early, and within an hour the MCC squad are on the train heading back to Melbourne.
Victoria Country XIII 84 for 7 drew with MCC 255

The MCC replies to the Australian board in strong terms. "We deplore your cable ... we deprecate your opinion that there has been unsportsmanlike play. We have the fullest confidence in our captain, team and managers and are sure that they would do nothing to infringe either the laws of cricket or the spirit of the game." It concludes that "if you consider it desirable to cancel the remainder of the programme, we would consent, but with great reluctance."

January 24 The MCC cable gets a mixed reaction in Australia but few believe the tour will be cancelled. The general opinion seems to be that the Australian board was hasty in sending its cable, with the Sydney Morning Herald saying "it should never have been sent in the heat of the match". The Melbourne Age says the reply administers " a snub, not wholly undeserved".

January 25 It emerges that there is a split in the Australian board with some states opposed to the cable sent to the MCC. The Sydney Sun refers to the board being "hopelessly outmanoeuvred" and recommends it would be "well advised to withdraw".

January 26 MCC rest the injured Paynter and Voce for the match against New South Wales while Jardine and Larwood also sit it out. NSW are also weak, but Bradman plays and that helps to attract 23,000 for the first day. But Tommy Mitchell ruins any prospect of a Bradman runfest, bowling him for 1 with a topspinner, and it takes a fifth-wicket stand of 101 between Bill Brown and debutant Ray Rowe to rescue the innings. Rain and bad light end play early.
New South Wales 169 for 5 (Rowe 70*, Brown 69) v MCC Scorecard

January 27 The last five NSW wickets add 11 runs on a wet pitch, Hammond taking three, and then MCC bat with less than full concentration, one observer noting that Hammond, who was caught in the deep, hardly seemed to care. Only Wyatt passes fifty, while googly bowler Hughie Chilvers takes 5 for 73.
New South Wales 180 (Rowe 70, Brown 69) and 36 for 1 lead MCC 199 (Wyatt 69, Chilvers 5-73) by 17 runs Scorecard

January 28With Bradman at the crease overnight, 15,000 turn out on a cold and grey day. The pitch is wet and taking spin, and Bradman stands almost alone in making 71 in two-and-a-half hours. The bowling honours fall to Hammond whose six wickets are all to close-in catches. Set 110 to win, MCC lose wickets regularly, and face Bodyline bowling from Bill Howell, who hits Wyatt three times in an over. At 70 for 6 a home win seems possible, but Brown and Tate blast MCC to a four-wicket win.
MCC 199 and 110 for 6 beat New South Wales 180 and 128 (Bradman 71, Hammond 6-43) by four wickets Scorecard

January 29 The MCC squad arrive in Brisbane at 4.30pm after a 21-hour train journey.

January 30 From Brisbane the squad heads down to Toowoomba.

A lively emergency meeting of the ACB fails to agree on a response to the MCC cable and some delegates are deeply unhappy at the way the board has handled the affair. A subcommittee is set up to draft a formal response but the tour goes on. A holding cable is sent to the MCC ending: "We do not consider it necessary to cancel remainder of programme."

January 31 It emerges Jardine has sent a cable to the MCC refusing to captain the side unless the ACB's claim of the side's conduct being "unsportsmanlike" is withdrawn.

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.
Tour Results
South Aust v M.C.C. at Adelaide - Mar 10-14, 1933
Match drawn
Victoria v M.C.C. at Melbourne - Mar 3-7, 1933
Match tied
Australia v England at Sydney - Feb 23-28, 1933
England won by 8 wickets
Australia v England at Brisbane - Feb 10-16, 1933
England won by 6 wickets
More results »
News | Features Last 3 days
News | Features Last 3 days