Glenn Maitland Turner was born in Dunedin, most appropriately in the month of May. Between April 24 and May 31, 1973, in eleven matches for the seventh official touring side of New Zealand to England he scored 1,018 runs, a feat which had not been accomplished for thirty-five years. In doing so he confounded a great many people.
It had been done only seven times between 1895 and 1938. Of the men who might have been expected to do it there are some notable absentees -- Hobbs, Woolley, Hendren, Mead, Sutcliffe, Sandham, Compton, Graveney, Hutton, Washbrook, Cowdrey and May to list a dozen.
It is the host of great batsmen who never got there that gives the true glory to the seven who have done -- Bradman who performed it twice just to underline his place in cricket as a man apart, and predictably Wally Hammond and W. G. Grace. Tom Hayward, the prototype of professional batsmen at the turn of the century is there, so is that wonderful little fighter Bill Edrich and, slightly different in such company perhaps, the solitary left-hander Charles Hallows of Lancashire. And now Turner has scaled this improbable Parnassus and given cricket in New Zealand an immeasurable lift.
To make any comparisons between members of the game's most exclusive body must be odious in the extreme. Hammond scored 1,042 runs in 22 days in 1927 and Grace 1,016 in the same number of days. Bradman, being Bradman, did it twice, but Turner's effort cannot be dismissed as being in the least degree inferior to any of them. Only one of his eleven matches, the first, suffered no interference from the weather. In all fifty-five and a half hours playing time was lost through rain and bad light in the next ten matches. To reach four figures Turner made eighteen visits to the crease and batted thirty-five hours, forty-two minutes. He compiled four centuries, hitting seven sixes and 120 fours but in eight of his innings he was dismissed for 30 or under. If further proof is needed that Turner was as human and therefore as fallible as any other batsman, only one of his four centuries, his 153 not out against M.C.C. at Lord's, was chanceless. In his 151 not out against Robins' XI at Eastbourne he gave a hard return chance to Graham of Kent when 84. At Worcester, when he made 143 off his own county, he was missed by Ormrod when 74 off an attempted drive. And at Northampton where his 111 finally earned him cricket immortality he was dropped in the slips by Dye when 16.
His failures included two runs against Derbyshire, three in the second innings against M.C.C., seven against Kent at Canterbury, eight and 17 against Gloucestershire, 13 against Somerset in the second innings and 30 and 10 against Leicestershire.
Bert Sutcliffe, one of the finest batsmen New Zealand has produced, coached Turner at school and predicted a future for him and to be sure Billy Ibadulla, for several winters coach to Otago, told Turner he would make the grade in county cricket in England. As a youth he was learning the insurance business, but in pursuit of an ambition that most people warned him was an improbable dream he threw up his career and the security it promised and for thirteen months he worked at night in a bakery. Almost every penny of the £22 a week he earned from this new work, he set aside towards his passage money to England. When he made his first-class debut for Otago at 17 the New Zealand Press saw in him anything but the prodigy who was to earn world fame less than a decade away. He was severely criticised for slow scoring and his general stodgy approach to cricket.
He was 19 when he received a letter from Warwickshire, the county who had promised him a chance on Ibadulla's recommendation, to say they had completed their permitted ration of overseas players. M. J. K. Smith said Warwickshire would give him a trial if he still wanted to come and if they thought he was any good they would do their best to fix him up with another county. On this faint hope Turner arrived at Edgbaston. When he went out for a net practice at Birmingham he was staking his past, his present and his future. In my opinion that was the morning he earned greatness rather than the day at Northampton last May when he gave the lie to the 35 years that had gone before.
To go back 78 years in time to the occasion the feat was first performed. It was undoubtedly the most remarkable of all the 1,000 Runs in May. In 1895 Dr. William Gilbert Grace, was two months off 47 years of age when he became the first of the few. He did not play in a first class match until as late as May 9 -- the latest start for the 1,000 in the season's first month. On that date he presented himself at Lord's to play for M.C.C. against Sussex. M.C.C. won the toss and batted first and Grace's maiden first-class innings of the season could not have been less of a pointer to what was to follow in the next three weeks. On the evening of May 31 Grace had played ten innings, had scored 1,016 runs and had an average of 112.8 but on this Thursday morning of May 9 he had scored only 13 when he was caught by a young Indian nobleman making his debut for Sussex -- a certain K. S. Ranjitsinhji. By the close M.C.C. after making a very respectable 293 had five Sussex wickets down for 124 and although Ranji was not out for 77, the county were all out for 219 on the Friday and Grace now played the first of nine innings which were to bring him 1,003 runs in 21 days. He had just completed his first century of the season when at 103 he gave a catch off Ranji to become one of the Indian's six victims in the 32 overs he bowled in the club's second innings. Sussex, left 405 to win, lost their first four for 42 but the unknown Ranji made the match his own with his maiden first class hundred.
Grace remained at Lord's for the match with Yorkshire and failed twice. He was caught at the wicket off Peel for 18 by David Hunter and gave a return catch to F. W. Milligan for 25. He then returned to Bristol and Gloucestershire's local derby with Somerset. May was half over and he had a modest 159 runs to his name. That season Gloucestershire played only 18 matches in the County Championship and this game was their only appearance at their Ashley Down headquarters before mid-July but what a match it was!
Somerset batted first and Fowler and Lionel Palairet scored 205 for the first wicket. Grace broke the stand and went on to finish with five for 87 in 45 overs, Somerset being all out 303. He then began the Gloucestershire reply. Five hours twenty minutes later when he was ninth out, caught off a towering hit off Sammy Woods, he had scored 288 -- his 100th century in first class cricket and the first man to reach batting's supreme milestone. He hit 38 fours, ran 11 three's, 29 twos and 45 singles. Gloucestershire's lead was 171 and Grace said "I think we have them now." He is then reported to have said to one of his fellow amateurs "I don't feel like bowling for the moment, Townsend, but I can safely leave it to you and Murch," and Murch returned eight for 68, Townsend got the remaining two and Somerset were all out for 189, Grace sending in his tail-enders to score the 19 required for victory. The county having no match the following three days, Grace went to Cambridge to play for the Gentlemen of England against the University. In his only innings he made 52 and travelled to Gravesend where, on the famous Bat and Ball ground, there took place another incredible match which no man in the modern game can begin to visualise if he is honest.
Kent batted first, made 470 -- and lost the match by nine wickets! Gloucestershire in reply batted until lunch on the third day when they were finally all out for 443. Grace, first in, was last out with 257. In the afternoon Kent were demolished for 76. Gloucestershire were left 106 to win in little more than an hour and Grace swept his side to triumph with 73 not out and minutes to spare. The Old Man, who was in his 30th season of first-class cricket, had scored 330 for once out and was on the field for every ball of the match!
Gloucestershire were not due to be in action again until May 30 when they came up to Lord's to meet Middlesex but Grace made the short journey from Gravesend to The Oval where he played for England against Surrey in W. W. Read's Testimonial Match. England won easily by an innings and 75 but Grace showed he was indeed a mortal man being bowled by Tom Richardson for 18. Perhaps he was just a little weary for at nearly 47 he could not throw his cricket gear and overnight bag into the boot of a Jaguar or Rover 2000. All the travelling was by train and horse-drawn carriage.
He arrived once more at Lord's on the morning of Thursday, May 30, 1895 with 847 runs. When he made out the batting order he observed to the dressing room in general "I see we are very much below full strength so I had better win the toss and make a few." This incredible person did more than that. He won the toss and scored a chanceless 169 before being bowled by Dr. Thornton. He had reached the 1,000 runs in May for the first time with a day to spare and less than a fortnight after becoming the first man to make 100 centuries.
In 1880 in The Oval Test Grace made 152 for England and W. L. Murdoch made 153 for Australia. The Australians started a discussion as to who was the greatest player. Bannerman, the man they called the little stonewaller, was a real Aussie. He was also accepted as being a very fine judge of the game. He listened for a time and then ended all further argument with an expressive noise followed by the remark -- "W.G. has forgotten more about batting than Billy ever knew."
Now I pass on to Tom Hayward. When he went out to bat against London County at The Oval on Easter Monday, 1900, he was less than three weeks past his twenty-ninth birthday. Slim, upright, moustached, Hayward was the ideal prototype of the successful professional cricketer of his time. A dedicated cricketer, he spent ten days intensive practice at Cambridge before this match and in dull, showery weather he showed form no other batsman could approach. Going in number five he took out his bat for 120. The strength of the opposition can perhaps be judged by the first six -- W. G. Grace (manager and captain), C. B. Fry, L. C. Braund, C. L. Townsend, G. L. Jessopp and A. E. Trott. Surrey won by an innings and 34 in two days notwithstanding, and a return match was played at the old Crystal Palace ground beginning on May 3. This time a magnificent pitch had been prepared and three innings produced over 1100 runs. Hayward had made 55 in the first of these when his partner drove a ball straight back which was deflected by Lockwood, the bowler, into the stumps. Hayward backing up was run out but in his second innings, which was described as quite exceptional in quality, he scored 108. Wisden's account reminds us that the country was at war, the last sentence reading: "On the third day Sir George White, recently back in England after the siege of Ladysmith, drove on to the ground with Lady White and had an enthusiastic reception."
Surrey next played a draw with Warwickshire in which Hayward again took out his bat, this time for 131 made in three hours. Then Surrey beat Hampshire by an innings and 78, Hayward making 55 before giving a return catch.
Hayward's first appearance in the provinces saw Surrey gain another crushing innings success with 149 runs to spare. Surrey made exactly 500 with Hayward's contribution 193 in three and three-quarter hours, including two 6's, one 5 and seventeen 4's. So up to Derbyshire and another Surrey victory, by ten wickets. In his only visit to the crease Hayward made 120 and when the team returned to London for four successive matches at The Oval, starting on May 21, he had an average of better than 156. He had scored 782 runs in seven innings, been twice not out, had made five centuries and two scores of 55.
Now the bad patch which comes to all batsmen hit Hayward. In a rain-ruined game with Worcestershire, in which Surrey made 495 for five declared all on the first day, Tom had his castle knocked over for 5. Against Essex Hayward fell twice to Mead, bowled for 6 and leg before for 3, which helped Mead achieve a match analysis of twelve for 98 and victory for Essex -- their first ever at The Oval -- by five runs.
The weather turned for the visit of Sussex on May 28 and Hayward regained form with 40, followed by his sixth hundred of the season in the second innings on the last afternoon of what clearly would be a drawn game. The interest and excitement were never so intense as Hayward went on towards his thousand. 950, 960, 970, 980, 982. The runs clocked up easily, the bat the complete master of the ball. Then with 18 still wanted, Hayward on 146 popped the simplest of catches into the hands of Bland at mid-on off a ball from A. E. Relf.
Well, even Homer nodded, but the question now on all lips was -- could he get those 18 runs on the following day, Thursday, May 31? Gloucestershire, last of the visiting quartet, won the toss and batted but Lockwood, seven for 94, and Richardson, three for 99, dismissed them for 212 and Jephson, the Surrey captain, sent in Hayward to open with Abel. There was never any question about his getting those 18 runs. He and Abel helped themselves to 201 in just over two hours for the first wicket, Hayward failing to record his seventh century of the season by only eight runs. Hayward ended May with 1,074 runs and an average of 97.6.
Tom Hayward's father, Dan, was groundsman of Parker's Piece, that fine public sports field at Cambridge. It was on this very Parker's Piece, that the son of another Cambridge Groundsman, John Berry Hobbs, first displayed his talent and enthusiasm for cricket and had these brought to the attention of Tom Hayward and through him Surrey by Mr. Hayward senior. So does destiny shape the lives of men.
The world was a different place when Wally Hammond became the third man to make 1,000 runs before June 1. He was twenty-four when he scored his 1,000 in 22 days and he did not get a match until Gloucestershire opened their county championship programme against Yorkshire at the Wagon Works Ground, Gloucester, on May 7. During Hammond's tour of the West Indies in 1926 he had contracted an illness which caused him to miss the whole of the English season of 1926, so on the morning of May 7, 1927, he felt himself to be nearly back to 1923 when he had been an unknown of 20, very much on trial with Gloucestershire. After making 27, he gave Maurice Leyland a catch off the bowling of Abe Waddington. And then incredibly came three hundreds in four days. Missed at 11, Hammond made 135 in the second innings to hold up Yorkshire for close on four hours on their way to an innings victory.
At The Oval, Hammond made 108 but Gloucestershire, despite a total of 406, had to follow on, Surrey having scored 577 for seven declared. Going in again when both openers had gone for 2, he made 128. Once, shortly before he retired as Surrey's scorer, I asked Andy Sandham, about Hammond's form in that match. "Two good'uns he played. Percy Fender got him the first time and it was the first bad stroke he had made. Second time he and Reg Sinfield put on 195 in two hours and the only shot Wally lifted off the ground was a drive over mid-off's head for 4." 195 in two hours? Surely the veteran's memory was sadly adrift. I dug up Wisden's for 1928 and he was only ten minutes out.
Hammond's third match was the return with Yorkshire at Dewsbury, a venue the White Rose no longer use. In a rain affected match he failed twice. Just how justified Wilfred Rhodes was in continuing to play in his fiftieth year was proved when he got Hammond both times. First he drew him forward for Dolphin to stump him for 17 and then Rhodes clean bowled him for 11.
Against the odds the Northern weather changed suddenly and at Manchester in bright sunshine Hammond, broad-shouldered but lithe as a leopard, outshone the dazzling May weather. Gloucestershire were 11 for three when Hammond got cracking with 50 in seventy minutes. As McDonald, one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time, cut away his partners at the other end, Hammond fought for sheer survival. Then, at 99, he touched one from McDonald to the wicket-keeper. The Western county were all out for 235; Lancashire gained a lead of over 100, and on the third day the Lancashire bowlers thought they could get the match over quickly, and taxis were ordered to stand by to drive the home team to Manchester races, for Lancashire's next game was also at Old Trafford on the Saturday.
Writing fourteen years ago of this never-to-be-forgotten Friday at Old Trafford, Sir Neville Cardus showed his memory to be still as matchless as his prose: "I can see the scene vividly; McDonald opened his attack from the Stretford end, running silently on the grass. The arm wheeled over, the wrist curved, and the ball was released at killing velocity. Hammond drove it to the off, from the back foot. And McDonald's next four balls were also summarily dismissed -- to the boundary. Five fours from five balls, the first of the day from the greatest living fast bowler set upon getting to the racecourse in time to have his money on a good thing at a good starting price. Moreover, the sixth ball of this same over would also have gone for four if Jack Iddon, fielding at the sight screen behind McDonald's arm, had not been there, on the edge of the field, to stop a terrific drive withering the grass. A man in the crowd saw visions and became exalted. 'Marvellous', he said, in good Lancastrian accent, 'opes'e gets couple hundred."What about Lancashire?' I asked him. ' Lancashire be buggered!' he replied."
McDonald and his mates never got to the races, for Gloucestershire batted out the match, their last wicket falling on the stroke of time.
From Manchester, Gloucestershire went to Hinckley and another away fixture against Leicestershire. Perhaps this homely little ground at the back of the local bus garage was no fitting stage for Hammond's virtuosity. He gave George Geary a return catch after scoring 4 and Alec Skelding bowled him for 30.
In his first appearance that season at Bristol Hammond made 83 out of 120 in one hundred minutes before being superbly stumped by Fred Price and in a second innings collapse against Middlesex Hammond fell once more to a caught and bowled, this time by Durston after scoring only 7.
On the morning of Saturday, May 28, Gloucestershire took the field at Southampton, in their last match of the month, with Hammond having scored 836 runs in twelve completed innings. Hammond did not have to wait long before he was taking guard for his thirteenth knock of the season. But he batted with a lighthearted devil-may-care approach which showed how lightly he regarded his 800-odd runs.
Before he died in 1959 I spent an afternoon in the company of Alec Kennedy, the great Hampshire bowler. Talking of this match he said, "You would have thought Wally was playing at Scarborough in September. He reached 100 in eighty-five minutes and made 192 out of 227 and from the time he walked out of the pavilion until he unbuckled his pads in the dressing room not more than two and a half hours could have passed. Mind you, we had only ourselves to blame. We missed him five times."
What a sight it must have been! Five catches put down and Hammond hitting twenty-seven fours and clearing the boundary on six occasions. It was Kennedy who finally caught him off George Brown but Hammond was already 28 runs past the 1,000 mark in twenty-two days to equal the 32 years record of Grace when that happened. On the Monday, the last day of May, in an atmosphere of anti-climax, Hammond scored 14 before losing his wicket to Boyes, to bring his haul for the month to 1,042 runs at an average of over 74. He had scored five centuries and a 99 in seven matches -- and his county did not win a match until June 20!
Charles Hallows was born in 1895 just one month before W. G. Grace made history. At the start of the 1928 season the Lancashire opening batsman was thus already past his thirty-third birthday. Like Hammond, the year before, he played in only seven matches, but whereas Hammond played 14 completed innings, Hallows played only 11 innings and on three occasions was not out. His average was thus 125. He compiled a further four centuries to end the season with ten hundreds but was not considered for the 1928-29 tour of Australia under Percy Chapman which England won by four Tests to one! Lancashire opened their championship programme in 1928 by beating Northamptonshire by an innings at Old Trafford and in his one innings Hallows made exactly 100 before he gave Matthews a catch off the bowling of Jupp. Glamorgan were the next visitors to Manchester and Hallows went one better, reaching 101 before being caught by Bates off Dai Davies. Lancashire were left to score over 100 to win and Hallows added another 50 not out as he and Frank Watson ran them home by ten wickets. In the space of six days this pair made opening stands of 200, 202 and 107, unbroken.
Lancashire moved down to Edgbaston. Only 25 wickets fell in three days but Hallows put his seal on the hopeless draw by making a century in each innings -- 123 and 101 not out. At Lord's against Middlesex, Lancashire ran into bad weather for the first time and Hallows after ten days of tremendous scoring made a modest 22. The county headed back north for the return with Warwickshire at Seedhill, the Nelson ground where Learie Constantine became a well loved figure. Hallows again proved a scourge to the Midland county's attack and hit 74 and 104. When he was bowled by Wyatt Lancashire declared and Warwickshire, asked to score 313, were mowed down by McDonald for 136. Hallows made that 104 in under two hours on a suspect pitch against seven bowlers. It was champion cricket. In a drawn Roses match at Sheffield, Hallows made 58 before being bowled by Rhodes and 34 not out.
So Lancashire came back to Old Trafford to meet Sussex, a fixture which began on May 30. Lancashire won the toss but no one that morning thought in terms of Hallows emulating Hammond's feat of the previous season. He had made a wonderful beginning to the campaign with five centuries in ten innings but his aggregate, with little more than 12 hours cricket in the month left, was 768. The pitch was a beauty and Hallows batted throughout that long glorious day to reach 190 by stumps, his one heart stopping moment a chance when he was 175 which was not accepted. Suddenly it was realised that Hallows wanted only 42 on the Thursday to reach four figures on the last day of the month.
Some years ago when Charles Hallows was coach to Worcestershire, I came across him one night taking dinner in The Crown, that ancient hostelry just up the street from the County ground which was closed for rebuilding in 1973. Our conversation got round to that morning of May 31, 1928.
"When I woke up I scarcely dared look out of the window. I mean, to expect two fine days in succession in Manchester."
"Well, I got those 42 runs but when I saw 232 come up on the scoreboard under my number and I heard the crowd and saw the Sussex chaps applauding, I felt it was all a dream. I saw Arthur Gilligan coming in to bowl the next ball but I couldn't grasp that he was bowling at me. I made a vague pass of the bat and the next thing I see is Jim Parks throwing the ball up. I was out."
Yes, Hallows was out and the most memorable innings of his life extended over seven hours ten minutes. His Test career consisted of one appearance against Australia in 1921 and one against West Indies in 1928. From then until the end of his playing days Hallows fulfilled his true function -- a backbone county professional of the first rank, maker of 55 centuries.
And now we come inescapably to Bradman. Any writer attempting to give Bradman his true place in cricket to the receptive minds of a new generation should say just that Bradman played in 52 Tests, scored virtually 7,000 runs, hit 29 centuries and retired with an average of 99.94 -- damn it, 100. In 1930 he burst upon the English scene with the effect of all the fireworks at a Brock's Benefit night being set off at the same time. A glorious driver, a perfect placer of the ball, he could cut, hook or turn the ball to leg with nearly the same certainty. To display all his glittering array Bradman had an eye which was uncanny in its power to gauge the length of a ball and his footwork was as nimble as Nuryev's. Add to all that a quiet but supreme confidence in himself and an iron determination with which men on the short side are often equipped and you had the greatest killer of bowling the world so far has seen.
The Australian tour of 1930 began on a chilly day at Worcester to mark the end of April. Not out 75 at close of play on May Day, Bradman carried his first innings on English soil to 236 in just over four hours, his one chance a hard return catch at 215. At Leicester in the Tourists' second match, Bradman had his first encounter with slow, rain-affected English turf. He spent over two hours reaching 50 but by the end of the second day when his side were 365 for five, Bradman was still there with 185 runs to his name.
The following day was washed out but the name Bradman with all its magic qualities which live unimpaired to this very day was already on all lips. He was given a rest in the match against Essex, but at Bramall Lane, Sheffield, alas now a football stadium only with, in my opinion, all the makings of a white elephant, Bradman made 78 out of 107 in one hundred minutes before being caught and bowled by MacAulay. Then over to Liverpool to meet Lancashire at Aigburth. Caught on a drying pitch by a team on their way to their fourth championship in five years, the Australians were struggling for the first time. Bradman was bowled by McDonald, a fellow Australian, for 9 -- his first failure in England. The game had to be abandoned on the Friday and the following day Lord's saw Bradman for the first time. Again rain interfered to create a draw but Bradman was second top scorer in the Australian first innings with 66 when he was bowled by Allom. G. T. S. Stevens got him lbw for 4 in the second. At Queen's Park, Chesterfield, Bradman, in his only chance to bat, made 44 before being caught at the wicket off Worthington.
The season was already showing signs of developing into a typical wet English summer and the Australians' game with Surrey was reduced to a single day, not a ball being bowled on the Monday and Tuesday. But the Saturday was something a few old men still talk about at The Oval. This was the first time Bradman, the compact little assassin, had walked out under the shadow of the gigantic gasholder, going in first wicket down at 11. He was not out 252 at the close in a total of 379 for five. Bradman described his maiden appearance at one of the world's most famous cricket arenas as satisfactory. 252 not out on a soft, slow pitch -- yes, there might be some justification in calling that satisfactory.
Normally Bradman was due for another three days off at Oxford, but he had reached 922 runs after his Oval epic and no Australian had ever achieved the feat of 1,000 runs before June 1st. There were, too, only four days of May left. So Bradman played and Woodfull won the toss, the day was fine and Oxford's attack was weak. The Australians declared at 406 for two -- but one of those wickets was Bradman's and he had scored only 32 of the 78 he needed. He had batted carefully for nearly an hour when he went on to the back foot, from where he was so devastating, to a ball from Garland-Wells. It was well up to him and was through him into the stumps, making him look positively mortal.
The thirtieth of May slipped by in enforced idleness, Oxford having been beaten in two days and on Saturday, May 31, the Australians' next opponents, Hampshire, won the toss and batted. Bradman's chances of making the 46 runs he still needed appeared slim, but Grimmett took seven for 39 and Hampshire were all out 151. The threat as always through the May of 1930 was the weather. Rain was obviously on the way and Woodfull knew there was only one thing to do. He dropped himself down to five in the order and sent Bradman in to open with Jackson.
Hampshire attacked with Kennedy, Newman, Herman and Boyes, a formidable quartet, and young Lofty Herman removed Jackson before he had scored. But Bradman was Bradman. He got those 46 runs, the ground rose to him, the players clapped, the deed was done. He scored one more run -- and the heavens opened, no more play being possible until Monday. When play was resumed Bradman was last out, caught by Mead for 191 off a big hit, trying to reach 200 before his last partner departed. But that and how he scored 131 in the first Test at Trent Bridge, 254 at Lord's in the second, 334 at Leeds in the third, and 232 at The Oval in the fifth has nothing to do with the theme of this article.
The late R. C. Robertson-Glasgow, writing on Bradman a quarter of a century ago, just after his farewell to the game as a player, said: "Above all he was a business cricketer. About his batting there was to be no style for style's sake. If there was to be any charm, that was for the spectator to find or miss. It was not Bradman's concern. His aim was the making of runs, and he made them in staggering profusion."
When Bradman scored 1,056 runs in 32 days in 1938 on his third visit to England and his first as captain, it had the least impact of any of the 1,000 in May feats. Already a legend in his own lifetime, it was half expected he would do it a second time. Worcester once again and again on the last day of April. By the close of play Bradman was already over a quarter of the way and May had not started. Out of an Australian total of 474 for six, Bradman made 258 and the catch he gave off Howorth was his first and only chance. When Bradman was lbw for 58 in the next match, one evening paper actually produced a headline Bradman fails at Oxford! Has there ever been a better unwitting tribute?
Bradman rested himself for the match against Leicestershire, came back at Fenner's and out of a total of 708 for five contributed a lighthearted 137 including twenty boundaries. "Ah," said the grudging ones, "it's all very well to help himself to cheap runs off the undergraduates, but wait until he comes up against the M.C.C. at Lord's." That was on the Friday. By lunchtime on Monday Bradman's aggregate was an incredible 731 and he had a full fortnight ahead of him to score a further 269 and so become the only man in history to perform the feat twice. The gates were closed by three o'clock on the Saturday with 32,000 inside and Bradman rewarded them with his brightest innings of the tour. In six hours of flawless mastery in which he made no detectable mistake the Australian phenomenon took 278 off the representative M.C.C. attack. He hit one 6 and thirty-five fours and was not dismissed until he attempted to square cut a bad ball from Jim Smith and was magnificently caught at cover by Walter Robins. At Northampton he fell to the fast medium of Partridge for 2 but back in town for the second Saturday running he took 143 off Surrey at The Oval.
When the Australians played Hampshire at Southampton on May 25, 26, 27, 1938, Bradman batted in the fashion which caused Crusoe to dub him a business cricketer. This time there was no play at all on the first day and as in 1930 the Australians lost the toss. Hampshire, bedevilled by the wrist spin of O'Reilly, who took six for 65, were all out 157 but shortly after Bradman began to bat there was another long hold-up for rain. On the third day with no chance of a finish, Bradman handled the six-man Hampshire attack with cold, calculating care. On the rain-affected turf he was not completely sure against the spin of Boyes and Hill but he picked his way to his fifth century in seven innings and when he notched his 124th run he had done what he set out to do. He was and still is the only man in something like 200 years of organised cricket to score 1,000 runs before the end of May, not once, but twice. For the third time Southampton had been the appointed place.
The story does not end there, for three days of cricket remained in May in which the Australians were back at Lord's to meet Middlesex. Bradman's feats in this game were unexceptional and unimportant to the terms of reference of this article. After continuous rain on Saturday and Sunday, the Australians did not show to advantage in the prevailing conditions. There was no question of them being beaten, but for Bill Edrich the game looked like being a personal tragedy when O'Reilly bowled him for 9 in the first innings which left him with 990 runs. His innings included 104 for M.C.C. v Yorkshire, 115 for M.C.C. v Surrey, 182 for Middlesex v. Gloucestershire and 245 v. Nottinghamshire.
With less than half an hour to play out the formalities of a hopelessly drawn game Bradman proved his humanity by declaring and saying to Edrich: "See if you can get those 10, Bill". There was just time for half a dozen quick overs shared by McCabe and Wait and Edrich got those 10 and helped himself to 10 more for luck. He had made 1,010 runs by May 31 with an average of over 84 and there was one unique factor about this particular achievement. Every one of those runs was made at Lord's. There is no need to dwell further on Edrich, for I wrote about him at some length in last year's Wisden.
The chronicle is done and even before the memory of Glenn Turner has faded the voices can be heard to the effect it will not be done again. This time I shall not join them. The 1,000 runs in May may remain inviolate for another 35 years or even longer but the time will surely come when another Turner will force his way through and confound everyone by achieving the improbable for the ninth time.