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Ashley Mallett, one of Australia's great spinners, dies aged 76

After his playing days, which brought 132 Test wickets, Mallett became a prolific writer

AAP and ESPNcricinfo staff
Ashley Mallett bowls, 1968

Ashley Mallett's career took off when he moved to South Australia  •  PA Photos

Australia spin-bowling great Ashley Mallett has died at age 76 after a long battle with cancer.
Mallett played 38 Tests from his debut against England in 1968 and took 132 wickets at an average of 29.84, also finishing his Test career against England in 1980.
Quietly-spoken Mallett is behind only Nathan Lyon (399 wickets) and Hugh Trumble (141) as Australia's most successful Test offspinners.
Mallett's 8 for 59 against Pakistan in 1972 was the eighth-best bowling performance by an Australian in a Test innings.
He earned the ironic nickname Rowdy due to his quietly-spoken nature. Mallett rocketed to fame during his second overseas tour for Australia as Bill Lawry's team secured a 3-1 series victory over India.
During that series, Mallett snared 28 wickets at an average of 19.10, including a match haul of 10 wickets in the fifth and final Test.
"Ashley Mallett was a wonderful player, admired journalist and highly acclaimed author," Richard Freudenstein, chair of Cricket Australia, said: "He played a significant part in Australian cricket not only as a player but as a prolific storyteller who has preserved the memories of some of the game's greatest and moments in time for people to enjoy through the ages.
"Ashley was a humble man whose deeds outweighed his reserved personality. He will be missed within the Australian cricketing landscape and we offer our sincerest condolences to his family, friends, colleagues across all industries and team-mates."
Mallett started his career in Western Australia, but with spinners Tony Lock and Tony Mann ahead of him in the pecking order, he made the switch to South Australia. The move proved to be a masterstroke, with Mallett flourishing in a first-class career that would eventually span 183 matches in which he claimed 693 wickets at 26.27.
Mallett scored a legion of fans after his playing career finished through his writing. He was active in that sense up until recently, co-authoring Neil Harvey's biography The Last Invincible, which was released in June.