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Australia pace bowler Eric Freeman dies aged 76

Freeman played 11 times for Australia and also had the distinction of scoring his first Test runs with a six

Eric Freeman bowls during the 1968 Ashes tour  •  PA Photos

Eric Freeman bowls during the 1968 Ashes tour  •  PA Photos

Former Australia pace bowler Eric Freeman, who made his Test debut during India's 1967-68 tour, has passed away at the age of 76.
Freeman, a very successful bowler and useful lower-order batsman for South Australia, played his first Test at Brisbane in January 1968 and his opening scoring shot was a six - the first player to achieve the feat. He claimed three wickets in India's first innings in what became a close victory for Australia after India had given themselves a chance of chasing down 395 by reaching 310 for 5.
Freeman would play another 10 Tests, including two on the 1968 Ashes tour, and enjoyed a solid all-round return of 183 runs at 30.50 and 13 wickets at 30.07 during the 1968-69 series against West Indies.
His final Test came on the 1970 tour of South Africa which would be their last international cricket before sporting isolation.
Freeman's career-best first-class figures of 8 for 47 helped South Australia to the 1970-71 Sheffield Shield title as he took 13 wickets in the match against New South Wales.
Freeman was also an elite football player, representing Port Adelaide and he topped the club's goalkicking list in all five of his complete seasons.
After his playing days finished in the 1973-74 season he went into an extensive career as administrator, coach and broadcaster.
In 2002 he was honoured with the Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to sport.
"Eric will forever be remembered as one of the greatest athletes South Australia has ever produced," Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings said. "He was an allrounder in every sense of the word - powerful with both bat and ball in cricket and a prodigious goal-kicker with the Magpies in the winter months.
"He remained a popular member of the cricket family after his retirement as a player with commentary roles on the ABC and junior development positions with West Torrens.
"On behalf of everyone within Australian cricket, we pass on our sincere condolences to Eric's family."
South Australia CEO Keith Bradshaw said: "Eric Freeman was supreme talent, but it was his determination and spirit that saw him rise to the elite level in two sports and represent his state with pride."