1948 English cricket season

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The 1948 English cricket season marked the final appearance in England of Don Bradman, who was shortly to retire. Bradman's team, which included Arthur Morris, a very young Neil Harvey, Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller, went through the tour without being beaten and became known to cricket's folklore as "The Invincibles".

The season was preceded by the first publication of Playfair Cricket Annual which has become a mainstay among cricket publications. Playfair is a pocket guide (though in its early years it had a larger page size) providing a mass of potted information about the sport, and is seen by many fans as an essential accessory to watching cricket in England.

Glamorgan won the County Championship for the first time in their history, under the dynamic captaincy of Wilf Wooller.

Honours[edit]

County Championship Table[edit]

Position Team Played Won Lost Drawn No Dec 1st inn

lead match L

1st inn

lead match D

Points
Pts 12 4 4
1 Glamorgan 26 13 5 6 2 1 3 172
2 Surrey 26 13 9 4 0 1 3 168
3 Middlesex 26 13 4 8 1 0 1 160
4 Yorkshire 26 11 4 10 1 3 3 156
5 Lancashire 26 8 2 15 1 0 14 152
6 Derbyshire 26 11 6 7 2 0 4 148
7 Warwickshire 26 9 7 8 2 1 5 132
8 Gloucestershire 26 9 7 9 1 1 4 128
9 Hampshire 26 9 8 8 1 2 1 120
10 Worcestershire 26 6 8 11 1 1 7 104
11 Leicestershire 26 6 11 8 1 1 5 96
12 Somerset 26 5 14 6 1 4 4 92
13 Essex 26 5 8 11 2 2 4 90
14 Nottinghamshire 26 5 10 9 2 1 3 82
15 Kent 26 4 11 10 1 0 7 76
16 Sussex 26 4 11 10 1 1 5 72
17 Northamptonshire 26 3 9 14 0 1 3 52

NOTES: Essex and Nottinghamshire totals include six points each for a drawn match that ended with scores equal (no allowance made in Championship scoring at this stage for the fact that Essex were still batting). Surrey total includes eight points for a win on first innings in a match reduced to one day.

Test series[edit]

Main article: 1948 Ashes series

Australia's "Invincibles" defeated England 4-0 with the Third Test drawn. England's batting was strong on paper, the first four in the order generally being Len Hutton, Cyril Washbrook, Bill Edrich and Denis Compton. But they found the fast bowling trio of Lindwall, Miller and Johnston a handful, especially since the playing conditions that summer allowed a new ball to be taken after only 55 overs. England's bowling was largely reliant on Alec Bedser, and against such a strong Australian batting line-up even his average was unimpressive.

The first innings of the First Test set the pattern, with England only reaching as many as 165 thanks to 63 from Jim Laker at number 9. Johnston finished with 5/36. In reply, Bradman and Hassett both made centuries, and England had a deficit of 344. Assisted by an injury that prevented Lindwall from bowling, England made 441 in their second innings, thanks mainly to 184 by Compton, but Australia still won by 8 wickets.

Australia won at Lord's by 409 runs, with Morris making a century in the first innings and Sid Barnes one in the second, and none of the English side even reaching fifty in either innings. Lindwall took 5/70 in the first innings and Ernie Toshack had 5/40 in the second.

The Third Test was drawn, and England might have won had not the Manchester weather caused much time to be lost. In England's first innings Compton had to retire hurt early on after being hit on the head by Lindwall, and needed two stitches, but he returned to the crease at 119 for 5 and finished with 145 not out out of 363.

At Headingley, one of the most famous of all Tests was played. It was a high-scoring affair, with Washbrook and Edrich making hundreds in England's first innings, and Harvey - on his debut in Anglo-Australian Tests - making one for Australia. Early on the final day, with the pitch by now helping spin, England declared their second innings, setting Australia to make 404 in 344 minutes. Laker, not yet the force that he would be a few years later, bowled poorly, and there were many fielding lapses. Thus, against all expectation, Australia got the runs with 12 minutes and 7 wickets to spare, with Morris making 182 and Bradman 173 not out.

The final Test of the series was the biggest disaster of all for England. They lost by an innings and 149 runs. Batting first, England were shot out for 52, of which Hutton made 30. Lindwall took 6/20. The Australian openers put on 117, and the total eventually reached 389 (Morris 196). In their second effort England managed only 188. (Johnston 4/40). It was known that this would be Bradman's final Test, and the crowd gave him an ovation when he walked out to bat. He only needed four runs to average 100 in Test cricket, but Eric Hollies bowled him second ball for a duck.

Morris finished the series with 696 runs at 87.00, and Lindwall and Johnston each took 27 wickets. For England, the player emerging with most credit was Compton, with 562 runs at 62.44.

Leading batsmen[edit]

1948 English cricket season – leading batsmen by average
Name Innings Runs Highest Average 100s
Don Bradman 31 2428 187 89.92 11
Lindsay Hassett 27 1563 200* 74.42 7
Arthur Morris 29 1922 290 71.18 7
Cyril Washbrook 31 1900 200 70.37 7
Leonard Hutton 48 2654 176* 64.73 10
Denis Compton 47 2451 252* 61.27 9
Bill Brown 26 1448 200 57.92 8
Sam Loxton 22 973 159* 57.23 3
Sid Barnes 27 1354 176 56.41 3
Arthur Fagg 48 2423 203 53.84 8
Neil Harvey 27 1129 126 53.76 4
Jack Robertson 54 2366 154 50.34 7
1948 English cricket season – leading batsmen by aggregate
Name Innings Runs Highest Average 100s
Leonard Hutton 48 2654 176* 64.73 10
Denis Compton 47 2451 252* 61.27 9
Don Bradman 31 2428 187 89.92 11
Bill Edrich 55 2428 168* 49.55 8
Arthur Fagg 48 2423 203 53.84 8

Leading bowlers[edit]

1948 English cricket season – leading bowlers by average
Name Balls Maidens Runs Wickets Average
Johnnie Clay 1565 61 581 41 14.17
Ray Lindwall 3439 139 1349 86 15.68
Philip Whitcombe 2349 112 749 47 15.93
Bill Johnston 5101 279 1675 102 16.42
Cliff Gladwin 5729 266 2174 128 16.98
George Pope 4188 171 1724 100 17.24
Len Muncer 7736 381 2748 159 17.28
1948 English cricket season – leading bowlers by aggregate
Name Balls Maidens Runs Wickets Average
Jack Walsh 7053 193 3405 174 19.56
Tom Pritchard 7629 276 3225 172 18.75
Len Muncer 7736 381 2748 159 17.28
Johnny Wardle 7702 484 2923 150 19.48
Eric Hollies 7620 357 2697 147 18.34

References[edit]

Annual reviews[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Bill Frindall, The Wisden Book of Test Cricket 1877-1978, Wisden, 1979
  • Chris Harte, A History of Australian Cricket, Andre Deutsch, 1993
  • Ray Robinson, On Top Down Under, Cassell, 1975

External links[edit]