Bodyline affair puts AngloAustralian relations to the test
Aggressive English tactics are just not cricket
A14 January 1933 s Australia’s cricketers took the field for the second day of the Third Test at the Adelaide Oval on 14 January 1933, a record crowd of more than 50,000 spectators were watching from the stands. They could hardly have known that they were about to witness perhaps the most controversial day, not just in cricket history, but in the intertwined history of Britain and Australia. Even today, the scars of the bodyline affair have never really healed.
The key figures in what followed were England’s captain Douglas Jardine, the picture of patrician superiority, and fast bowler Harold Larwood, a miner’s son from Nottinghamshire. Jardine told his bowlers to pitch their balls to land short in front of the leg stump of the wicket (where a batsman would stand). Bowling fast, high-bouncing deliveries meant the ball would then bounce up to hit the batsman’s body. Jardine called it ‘fast leg theory’. The Australian press dubbed it ‘ bodyline’.