Obituary

Mervyn Waite

WAITE, MERVYN GEORGE, died in Adelaide, Australia, on December 16, 1985, aged 74. A hard-hitting batsman and medium-pace bowler, who also bowled off-breaks, he played two test matches for Australia on the 1938 tour of England at Leeds and The Oval and opened the bowling. At The Oval, where England made 903 for seven declared, his analysis was 72-16-150-1, the wicket being that of Compton, bowled for 1 after coming in when the score was 547 for four. As only 8 runs had been added since Paynter was lbw to O'Reilly without scoring, the Australians might have viewed this as a breakthrough but for the presence of Hutton at the other end.

On the tour, Waite did well enough as an all-rounder "without making himself indispensable" to score 684 runs with an average of 25.33 and take 56 wickets at 25.96. At Bramall Lane, on a pitch affected by rain, he took seven for 101 in Yorkshire's first innings with a mixture of swing and off-spin: as well as securing him a place in the Leeds Test, these were his best bowling figures. He did not take a wicket at Headingley, but his partnership of 37, of which he scored 3, for the seventh wicket with Bradman saw Australia edge ahead on the first innings and helped Bradman move towards his third century in successive Test innings on the ground. Australia won this match to retain the Ashes. In 1939-40, as South Australia compiled 821 for seven declared against Queensland, he scored 137, the only hundred of his career, and added 281 with C. L. Badcock in a record fifth-wicket partnership for the state.

It was also against Queensland, after the war, that he made his last appearance, finishing with memorable figures of four for 11 as Queensland scored 101 to win by five wickets. In all first-class cricket, from 1930-31 till 1945-46, he scored 3,888 runs with an average of 27.77, took 192 wickets at 31.61 and held 66 catches. His innings of 239 for West Torrens against Port Elizabeth in 1935-36 was still a record for the Adelaide District competition at the time of his death.

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