Almanac (Test) Cricket: Two significant Test cricket anniversaries

 

 

“The Cricketer”
by Kate Birrell

 

 

This weekend marks two significant anniversaries in Australian Test cricket history. It was 60 years ago that Australia and the West Indies played out their famous tie at the Gabba; it was 50 years ago that Greg Chappell made his much anticipated debut for Australia in the Second Test against England in Perth.

 

I had my 8th birthday during the Brisbane Tied Test so I don’t remember much about it other than that it had a famous ending. ‘Unprecedented’, to use 2020 Covid language. Only as time passed did I come to know and appreciate the magnificence of the match, its historical importance, and its place in changing the style of cricket played as that series progressed. The stories of the individual participants also took on a mythology of their own – Sobers’ sparkling century, O’Neill’s 181, Davidson’s all-round heroics, Benaud’s audacity, the magical throws of Conrad Hunte and Joe Solomon…

 

Rather than write even more about a match that has already spawned a million words, here are a few stories about the game for you to enjoy. The first, a background and summary of the match, comes from the annals of the Australian Cricket Board, the second is by Alan Davidson, one of the heroes for Australia, and the other is by Rob Steen, author and lecturer, penned ten years ago to mark the 50th anniversary of the match.

 

To see the scorecard of the Brisbane Tied Test click HERE.

 

I was living in South Australia in 1970 and so was made well aware of the emerging talents of Gregory Stephen Chappell by The Advertiser and The News. He was still ‘Ian’s younger brother’ and ‘Vic’s grandson’. But he finally won his baggy green for the Second Test in Perth in December. And what a burden of expectation! Then made even worse coming to the crease at 5/107 in reply to England’s 397. The rest, as they say, is history – a century on debut; a gutsy, determined knock that announced his coming; a magnificent partnership with Ian Redpath; the beginning of a stellar career.

 

To his great credit, Chappell acknowledged the importance of Redpath at the other end. Chappell said: “My first innings in Test cricket was, as you might expect, a trying experience, but proved to be one of the best cricket lessons of my career, thanks to Ian Redpath. I came to the wicket with Australia reeling at 107 for five to join Redders [Redpath], who had watched three quick wickets fall at the other end. The English left me largely untouched while zeroing in on Redders— just about the toughest batsman to dislodge. They figured if they got him the tail would capitulate. John Snow put all his energy into trapping Redders down at his end and bombarding him. They picked the wrong bloke. Snowy would follow through right in Redder’s face. After each bouncer that he evaded with his trademark Redpath sway, he’d look at Snowy and mouth ‘Get [email protected]#%ed’.”  (Arunabha Sengupta, from cricketcountry.com) For the record, Redpath came to the crease at 3/17 and departed at 7/393 with 171 next to his name.

 

I saw Chappell bat live on several occasions but none better than in a Sheffield Shield match for Queensland against South Australia at the Adelaide Oval. The locals threw their heads back when a missed stumping off Jenner gave Chappell a second life when he was on just 7. Just a few hours later he declared when he reached 158* after a most beautiful, elegant, fluent, contemptuous and dominating innings. It was sheer poetry!

 

To see Greg Chappell’s full playing record click HERE.

 

To see the scorecard from Chappell’s debut in the Second Test in Perth click HERE.

 

Salad days!

 

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Comments

  1. Greg Chappell had that military bearing with the ramrod upright walk and bat under the arm like an officer’s baton. A joy to watch and what a slipper. Like a magician plucking doves.
    60/61 was similarly before my time but a wonder to read about growing up. Kline & McKay in Adelaide. The ticker tape parade in Melbourne. Benaud and Worrell the best of enemies. The Windies were the Beatles of cricket bringing back joy after the dour post war era.
    Thanks for the memories. No doubt future generations will look back on the Heat and the Stars with similar fondness.

  2. Daryl Schramm says

    Yes, great memories as a 15 yo watching from Adelaide. The old WACA set-up was both foreign and intriguing and far from what it is today. I remember having a walk around the ground while on holidays in 1976. A bit of a ‘bits and pieces place’. GSC lived up to expectations and more, and interestingly also bowled 24 8 ball overs as first change in the English first innings. A graceful bowling action as well. PB’s last comment is very apt.

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