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An Invincible tour diary

A timeline for Australia's undefeated tour of England in 1948

Peter English
Peter English

Don Bradman starts his final tour of England by tossing with Allan White at Worcester. He would go on to raise his traditional big score in the opening game © Getty Images
March 19
The squad leaves Fremantle in Western Australia on the Strathaird and stops off in Colombo, Bombay and Port Said.
April 16
The Strathaird docks in England at Tilbury and the Australians are met by the Earl of Gowrie, the MCC president.
April 24
At Wembley the players sit next to the Royal Box to watch Manchester United beat Blackpool 4-2 in the FA Cup final.
April 28
The first match begins at its traditional point in Worcester and by the second day Bradman has brought up his traditional big score. His 107 followed double-centuries in the match on his three previous tours.
May 6
With Bradman resting, Australia come close to losing against Yorkshire in Bradford when they are 6 for 31 chasing 60 for victory. Neil Harvey, who was dropped by Len Hutton, finishes the game with a six, much to the relief of Lindsay Hassett, the stand-in captain.
May 15
Essex are smashed for 721 in a day with centuries for Brown (153), Bradman (187), Loxton (120) and Saggers (104), but it is not an occasion that excites Keith Miller, who allows himself to be bowled for nought.
May 26-28
The 19-year-old spinner Malcolm Hilton dismisses Bradman twice in the match with Lancashire. Some papers want him promoted to the Test team immediately, but by the end of the season he is dropped by the county.
June 3
Bradman, who is resting, sends an urgent wire to Hassett as the team struggles against the lowly-rated Hampshire in Southampton. "Bradford was bad enough but this is unbearable, heads up and chins down." Australia, who were 78 behind on first innings after falling for 117, lose only two wickets in the chase of 182.
June 11-15
The Invincibles start to shake England with an eight-wicket victory in the opening Test at Trent Bridge. Chasing 98 on the fifth day, Bradman, who took 138 in the first innings, is out for 0, but Sid Barnes and Hassett steer them to safety. During the game Miller delivers a couple of short balls to Hutton and Denis Compton, prompting the comment "you wouldn't do that if we had Larwood". Loud jeering followed when the Australians left the field.
June 24-29
Bradman wins his only Test toss in England before Australia go on to a 409-run win at Lord's. Ray Lindwall, bowling with a bad leg, takes eight wickets for the game while Arthur Morris and Barnes earn spots on the honourboard for their centuries. On the rest day the team goes to Windsor Castle.
July 2
Desperate to get to the Wimbledon final between Australia's John Bromwich and Bob Falkenberg, Bradman lets Harvey and Sam Loxton open in the second innings against Surrey and the target of 122 is completed in 58 minutes. The players make it to the tennis, but Bromwich loses.
July 3
Arthur Morris collects the highest score of the tour with 290 against Gloucestershire.
July 8-13
Old Trafford rain helps Australia retain the Ashes in a bruising drawn game. A Compton top edge gives him a cut on the forehead, but he returns patched up to score a century, benefiting from four dropped chances from Don Tallon. On the second day Dick Pollard hits a ball from Ian Johnson into the ribs of Barnes, who is at short leg, and he is carried off the ground. Barnes, usually an opener, remains in such pain that when he comes out at No. 6 he collapses after making 1 and goes off again.
July 22-27
The farewell Test century for Don Bradman, who finishes on 29 hundreds, after his 173 not out steers Australia to a then-record fourth-innings chase of 404 in the fourth Test at Headingley. Helped by a "succession of full tosses", runs come comfortably in the stand of 301 with Morris in which 66 fours are hit - 33 by Morris and 29 from Bradman. It is the high-point of the Invincibles, and Bradman's final runs in Tests. The 19-year-old Harvey's 112 in the first innings is also a masterpiece, and he gets to hit the winning run. The players have to catch a train to Derby 45 minutes after stumps.
July 29
The team has a victory dinner in Derby to mark the Ashes-winning success. "No guests were invited," Bradman wrote. "You couldn't have seen a happier band of chaps."
August 10
Bradman makes 108 runs before lunch on the final day of the match against Lancashire at Old Trafford. He finishes with 133 not out, 105 more than in the first innings, when he believes he was hit on the left hand for the only time in his career.
August 14-18
On the first day Eric Hollies bowls Bradman for a duck in his final Test innings. At the Oval, Hollies successfully tries a second-ball googly to give Bradman a Test average of 99.94. It's usually forgotten that England are out for 52, Arthur Morris carries his bat for 196 and England lose by an innings and 149 runs.
August 25
Bradman's last innings at Lord's. He throws his wicket away after passing 150 and declares at 610 for 5 against the Gentlemen. During the century he collects 2000 runs on the tour for the fourth time.
August 27
Bradman celebrates his 40th birthday. One of his presents is a copy of Lord's by Sir Pelham Warner and as he walks on to the field the players sing Happy Birthday.
September 1-3
Bill Brown takes career-best figures of 4 for 16 in the festival first-class game against the South of England at Hastings. Rain leads the match to end in a draw.
September 10
Bradman's final first-class game in England ends and he doffs his cap with 153 against HDG Leveson-Gower's XI in the Yorkshire seaside town of Scarborough. Barnes shares a partnership of 225 with Bradman, but the match is drawn. The Australians are the first - and only - team to go through an Ashes tour undefeated.
September 18
In the second of two second-class fixtures against Scotland in Aberdeen, Bradman reaches 123 not out in 89 minutes in his final innings of the tour.
September 19
The Australians spend Sunday afternoon visiting the King and Queen at Balmoral in Scotland. The two princesses and the Duke of Edinburgh are also there as the tour comes to an end.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo