Friday, December 11, 2009

Cricket: ASHES, 1930 Style, Grimmett & Bradman

Seeing how it's the cricket season, I thought I'd once again dip into my collection of original newspaper clippings, scrapbooks and the like and find some interesting gems. In this case I decided to scan a few bits from a scrap book of clippings and reports of the 1930 ASHES series, the series where Bradman and Grimmett virtually beat England on their own.
By the time the Second Test rolled around Bradman had already made his mark. He had made 1000 runs in a calendar month (May)and had scores of 8 and 131 for the First Test. He was a certified run machine and spectators came to the games, it seems, solely to see him bat. In the Second Test he didn't let anyone down, other than the home side, as he finished the game with scores of 254 and 1. The clearly defined pattern was that if England couldn't bowl Bradman out cheaply, then it would cost them dearly.

Even then the score of 254 wasn't nearly enough.

Clarrie Grimmett wasn't lying down though and just letting Bradman coast along with the spotlight. Playing against Yorkshire he scuttled the home side for the amazing figures of 10 for 37. By the end of the tour he would have taken 144 wickets 16 a shade under 17 runs apiece. In tests he took 29 wickets at an average of 31.90. There's bowlers today who wish they could retire after several seasons with such figures, Grimmett did it in one season. As reliable as Bradman was with the bat, Grimmett was with the ball.

This game saw the mayor in attendance, essentially to praise Bradman! He didn't let anyone down, hitting 236, which overshadowed his captain, Bill 'The Unbowlable' Woodfull.

By the time the series was over legends were set in stone. Grimmett was established as possibly the best slow bowler the world has seen (until the arrival of someone called Warne, but even that's debatable) and Bradman captured the highest test score for the time, with a knock of 334, Eventually he would finish with 2960 runs in all his games on the 1930 tour of England, at an average of 98.66. In 5 test matches he would score an incredible 974 runs at an average of 139.14. The second and third highest scorers for the Australians were Woodfull and Ponsford, and even then they could only manage 345 and 330 runs respectively. Bradman scored more in one innings than Ponsford did in four tests combined.

It's easy to overlook Grimmett when you study the 1930 ASHES series, but the truth is that both Bradman and Grimmett were the keys. Together they were unstoppable, and rightly so. Say what you will, but when people say we need to find the next Steve Waugh or Shane Warne, I always say, "That ain't gonna happen - we're still trying to find the next Bradman and Grimmett."

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