Billy Murdoch

Last updated

Billy Murdoch
Billy Murdoch c1895b.jpg
Murdoch in about 1895
Personal information
Full nameWilliam Lloyd Murdoch
Born(1854-10-18)18 October 1854
Sandhurst, Colony of Victoria
Died18 February 1911(1911-02-18) (aged 56)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
BattingRight-handed
Role Batsman, occasional wicket-keeper
International information
National sides
Test debut(cap  13/79)31 March 1877 
Australia v  England
Last Test22 March 1892 
England v  South Africa
Domestic team information
YearsTeam
1875–1890 New South Wales
1893–1899 Sussex
1900–1904 London County
Career statistics
Competition Test First-class
Matches19 [1] 391
Runs scored90816,953
Batting average 31.3126.86
100s/50s2/119/85
Top score211321
Balls bowled764
Wickets 10
Bowling average 43.00
5 wickets in innings 0
10 wickets in match0
Best bowling2/11
Catches/stumpings 14/1218/25
Source: CricketArchive, 2 December 2008

William Lloyd Murdoch (18 October 1854 – 18 February 1911) was an Australian cricketer who captained the Australian national side in 16 Test matches between 1880 and 1890. This included four tours of England, one of which, in 1882, gave rise to The Ashes. In 2019 Murdoch was inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame. [2]

Contents

Although Victorian-born, Murdoch was raised in Sydney, and played his Australian domestic cricket for New South Wales, making his first-class debut in 1875. His Test debut came in 1877, in what was retrospectively classed as the second Test match to be played. Murdoch began his career as a wicket-keeper, but at Test level kept wicket only once, with Jack Blackham being preferred. As a batsman, Murdoch scored both the first double century in Test cricket (211 against England in 1884) and the first triple century in Australian domestic cricket (321 against Victoria in 1882). In later years, he settled in England, playing county cricket for Sussex (1893 to 1899, as captain) and London County (1900 to 1904). In 1892, he toured South Africa with England and played in one Test match, making him one of the few cricketers to represent more than one international team. Murdoch's final first-class match came at the age of 49, in August 1904. He died in Melbourne in 1911, aged only 56.

Early life

Murdoch was born in Sandhurst (now Bendigo), Victoria, to Gilbert Murdoch and his wife Susanna (née Fleigge). [3] His father was an American of Scottish descent, who had been a corporal in the U.S. Army prior to emigrating from Maryland to Tasmania in 1849. He died shortly before his son's birth. [4] The family moved to New South Wales in the early 1860s. Both Billy Murdoch and his older brother, Gilbert, subsequently studied law at the University of Sydney. Billy Murdoch married Jemima Watson (1863–1917) daughter of John Boyd Watson on 8 December 1884 at the Free Church of England, Collingwood, Victoria, Australia. [5]

Playing career

Murdoch made his first-class entry in 1875, at the time regarded as the finest wicketkeeper in Australia, and a highly rated right-handed batsman. He played in the second Test match ever played, the 1877 clash against England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Later that year, he qualified as a solicitor and opened up a practice, "Murdoch & Murdoch", with his brother Gilbert, although it was short-lived, going bankrupt in 1877. Murdoch established himself as one of the era's greatest batsmen over the next few years, [6] leading Australia in several Test series against England. In 1881–82 he became the first man other than W. G. Grace to score a first-class triple century when, as captain, he made 321 for New South Wales against Victoria at the SCG. [7] The innings comprised 38 fours, nine threes, 41 twos and 60 singles from all of ten Victorian bowlers. It was this knock which established him in the public reckoning as Australia's finest batsman. So unvanquishable was he that Tom Horan (with whom Murdoch would share many a fine batting stand in the years to come) was reduced to bowling Leg theory, the first known instance of that controversial tactic.

Murdoch was never far from controversy. His omission as wicketkeeper in the very first Test resulted in Australia's premier fast bowler, Fred Spofforth, boycotting the match. In 1884 as captain of Australia he was involved in the players' strike, where the Australian players refused to play unless they received a greater share of the gate takings. He was also the batsman whose contentious run out caused friction between New South Wales and a visiting English team led by Lord Harris, which also caused a spectator riot.

His best Test performances more often occurred in England where both his Test hundreds were scored, 153 not out in the first Test in the old country in 1880 at The Oval, and 211 at the same ground four years later. The former score was the first instance of a captain scoring a Test century, whilst the latter score was the first double-century made in Test cricket. [6]

In 1878, Murdoch toured England and North America with Australia's first representative cricket team, participating in a famous victory over a Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) side. On the 1880 and 1884 tours of England he led the Australian batting averages. In England, he was regarded as a superb captain and enough of a gentleman to be invited to captain Sussex, which he did for several seasons. He was widely regarded the finest Australian batsman of his day, being bettered only by the English champion, W. G. Grace.

Murdoch was more of an off-side player whose drives and cut strokes were regarded as among the best of his day; but his leg-side play was reputedly not so strong, and his ability against good spin bowling was not as impressive as it might be. Also, he was believed to be lacking in command against top-class pace bowling on difficult wickets; if conditions, were perfect, however, his batting often followed suit.

He again visited England in 1890, and although he topped that season's averages, he did not have an opportunity to regain his best form. He then settled in England, qualified for Sussex, and captained the county for several seasons. Along with former Australian Test teammate John Ferris, he represented his adoptive land against South Africa in Cape Town in March 1892. [6]

His style of play did not favour him in wet seasons, but he made many good scores over a period of about 15 years. Among these may be mentioned 155 for London County against Lancashire in 1903, and in the following year 140 for Gentlemen v Players, though he was then in his forty-ninth year.

Murdoch's standing as one of the greatest first-class batsmen of his era were strengthened by his statistics; 16,953 runs scored in 391 matches at the average of 26.86 at a time when batting averages were much lower than in modern times.

Murdoch died in Melbourne, Australia on 18 February 1911; present at the Test match between Australia and South Africa, he was seized with apoplexy during the lunch interval and died later in the afternoon. His body was embalmed and brought back to England for burial at Kensal Green Cemetery in London.

Murdoch's Test captaincy record for Australia was: 16 matches, five wins, seven losses, four draws.

He also became the first substitute to take a catch in only the fifteenth Test match ever played – a feat he managed for the opposition. [6] [8]

Billy Murdoch's Test career batting graph. Billy Murdoch graph.png
Billy Murdoch's Test career batting graph.

See also

Related Research Articles

Jack Hobbs English cricketer

Sir John Berry Hobbs, always known as Jack Hobbs, was an English professional cricketer who played for Surrey from 1905 to 1934 and for England in 61 Test matches between 1908 and 1930. Known as "The Master", he is regarded by critics as one of the greatest batsmen in the history of cricket. He is the leading run-scorer and century-maker in first-class cricket, with 61,760 runs and 199 centuries. A right-handed batsman and an occasional right-arm medium pace bowler, Hobbs also excelled as a fielder, particularly in the position of cover point.

Arthur Shrewsbury English cricketer

Arthur Shrewsbury was an English cricketer and rugby football administrator. He was widely rated as competing with W. G. Grace for the accolade of best batsman of the 1880s; Grace himself, when asked whom he would most like in his side, replied simply, "Give me Arthur". An opening batsman, Shrewsbury played his cricket for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club and played 23 Test matches for England, captaining them in 7 games, with a record of won 5, lost 2. He was the last professional to be England captain until Len Hutton was chosen in 1952. He was a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1890. He also organised the first British Isles rugby tour to Australasia in 1888.

Fred Spofforth Australian cricketer

Frederick Robert "Fred" Spofforth, also known as "The Demon Bowler", was arguably the Australian cricket team's finest pace bowler of the nineteenth century. He was the first bowler to take 50 Test wickets, and the first to take a Test hat-trick, in 1879. He played in Test matches for Australia between 1877 and 1887, and then settled in England where he played for Derbyshire. In 2011, he was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame.

The history of Test cricket between 1884 and 1889 was one of English dominance over the Australians. England won every Test series that was played. The period also saw the first use of the word "Test" to describe a form of cricket when the Press used it in 1885. It has remained in common usage ever since.

Dave Gregory (cricketer) Australian cricketer

David William Gregory was an Australian cricketer. A right-handed batsman, Gregory was the first Australian national cricket captain, leading the side for the first three recognised Test matches between England and Australia in March and April 1877 and January 1879. Gregory was also the captain of the New South Wales team, notably during the Sydney Riot of 1879 when he rebelled against an unpopular decision by Victorian umpire George Coulthard during a game against the touring English team.

Neil Harvey Australian cricketer

Robert Neil Harvey is an Australian former cricketer who represented the Australian cricket team between 1948 and 1963, playing in 79 Test matches. He was the vice-captain of the team from 1957 until his retirement. An attacking left-handed batsman, sharp fielder and occasional off-spin bowler, Harvey was the senior batsman in the Australian team for much of the 1950s and was regarded by Wisden as the finest fielder of his era. Upon his retirement, Harvey was the second-most prolific Test run-scorer and century-maker for Australia.

Wilfred Rhodes English cricketer

Wilfred Rhodes was an English professional cricketer who played 58 Test matches for England between 1899 and 1930. In Tests, Rhodes took 127 wickets and scored 2,325 runs, becoming the first Englishman to complete the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in Test matches. He holds the world records both for the most appearances made in first-class cricket, and for the most wickets taken (4,204). He completed the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in an English cricket season a record 16 times. Rhodes played for Yorkshire and England into his fifties, and in his final Test in 1930 was, at 52 years and 165 days, the oldest player who has appeared in a Test match.

Hugh Trumble Australian cricketer

Hugh Trumble was an Australian cricketer who played 32 Test matches as a bowling all-rounder between 1890 and 1904. He captained the Australian team in two Tests, winning both. Trumble took 141 wickets in Test cricket—a world record at the time of his retirement—at an average of 21.78 runs per wicket. He is one of only four bowlers to twice take a hat-trick in Test cricket. Observers in Trumble's day, including the authoritative Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, regarded him as ranking among the great Australian bowlers of the Golden Age of cricket. He was named as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1897 and the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame, established in 1996, inducted him in 2004.

Harry Trott Australian cricketer

George Henry Stevens "Harry" Trott was an Australian cricketer who played 24 Test matches as an all-rounder between 1888 and 1898. Although Trott was a versatile batsman, spin bowler and outstanding fielder, "... it is as a captain that he is best remembered, an understanding judge of human nature". After a period of some instability and ill discipline in Australian cricket, he was the first in a succession of assertive Australian captains that included Joe Darling, Monty Noble and Clem Hill, who restored the prestige of the Test team. Respected by teammates and opponents alike for his cricketing judgement, Trott was quick to pick up a weakness in opponents. A right-handed batsman, he was known for his sound defence and vigorous hitting. His slow leg-spin bowling was often able to deceive batsmen through subtle variations of pace and flight, but allowed opposition batsmen to score quickly.

George Giffen Australian cricketer

George Giffen was a cricketer who played for South Australia and Australia. An all-rounder who batted in the middle order and often opened the bowling with medium-paced off-spin, Giffen captained Australia during the 1894–95 Ashes series and was the first Australian to score 10,000 runs and take 500 wickets in first-class cricket. He was inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame on 26 February 2008.

Tup Scott Australian cricketer

Henry James Herbert "Tup" Scott was an Australian cricketer who played first-class cricket for Victoria and Test cricket for Australia. He acquired his nickname during a cricket tour of England in 1884 from his love of London sightseeing tours which cost two pence or "tuppence".

Stan McCabe Australian cricketer

Stanley Joseph "Stan" McCabe was an Australian cricketer who played 39 Test matches for Australia from 1930 to 1938. A short, stocky right-hander, McCabe was described by Wisden as "one of Australia's greatest and most enterprising batsmen" and by his captain Don Bradman as one of the great batsmen of the game. He was never dropped from the Australian Test team and was known for his footwork, mastery of fast bowling and the hook shot against the Bodyline strategy. He also regularly bowled medium-pace and often opened the bowling at a time when Australia lacked fast bowlers, using an off cutter. He was one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1935.

Billy Midwinter Australian cricketer

William Evans Midwinter was a cricketer who played four Test matches for England, sandwiched in between eight Tests that he played for Australia. Midwinter holds a unique place in cricket history as the only cricketer to have played for both Australia and England in Test Matches against each other.

Billy Bates English cricketer

Willie Bates, known as Billy Bates, was an English cricketer. Skilled with both bat and ball, Bates scored over 10,000 first-class runs, took more than 870 wickets and was always reliable in the field. A snappy dresser, Bates was also known as "The Duke".

Charlie Macartney Australian cricketer

Charles George "Charlie" Macartney was an Australian cricketer who played in 35 Test matches between 1907 and 1926. He was known as "The Governor-General" in reference to his authoritative batting style and his flamboyant strokeplay, which drew comparisons with his close friend and role model Victor Trumper, regarded as one of the most elegant batsmen in cricketing history. Sir Donald Bradman—generally regarded as the greatest batsman in history—cited Macartney's dynamic batting as an inspiration in his cricket career.

Two first-class cricket matches billed as "Smokers v Non-Smokers" were played during the 1880s. Featuring players from Australia and England, each match occurred during a tour of one of those countries by the other's national team. The first match was won by the Non-Smokers, while in the second, which was drawn, the Non-Smokers scored a then-record 803 runs in the first innings.

Bert Vogler South African cricketer

Albert Edward Ernest Vogler was a South African cricketer. A leading all-rounder skilled both at batting and bowling, Vogler played cricket in South Africa prior to becoming eligible to play for Middlesex County Cricket Club in England after serving on the ground staff of the Marylebone Cricket Club at Lord's. He rose to prominence during the 1906 home Test series and then in England the following year: he was described during the latter as the best bowler in the world by Tip Foster, and named a Wisden Cricketer of the Year.

Australian cricket team in England in 1884

The Australia national cricket team toured England in 1884. The team is officially termed the Fourth Australians, following three previous tours in the 1878, 1880 and 1882 seasons. The 1884 tour was a private venture by the thirteen players who each invested an agreed sum to provide funding, none of Australia's colonial cricket associations being involved. Billy Murdoch captained the team and George Alexander acted as player-manager. The Australians played a total of 32 matches in England, 31 of which have first-class status.

The History of the England Cricket Team can be said to date back to at least 1739, when sides styled "Kent" and "All England" played a match at Bromley Common. Over 300 matches involving "England" or "All England" prior to 1877 are known. However these teams were usually put together on an ad hoc basis and were rarely fully representative.

References

  1. Murdoch played in one Test for England, scoring 12 runs in his only innings, and effecting one stumping.
  2. Pierik, Jon (11 February 2019). "Jones, Fitzpatrick and Murdoch inducted into cricket's Hall of Fame". The Age. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  3. Christopher Morris, 'Murdoch, William Lloyd (Billy) (1854–1911)', Australian Dictionary of Biography , Vol. 5, MUP, 1974, pp 314–315. Retrieved 25 October 2009.
  4. Edward Liddle (9 September 2015). "Billy Murdoch – the first man to captain an Australian XI in Ireland" [ permanent dead link ] – Cricket Europe. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  5. "THE MARRIAGE OF MISS WATSON". Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918) . Vic.: National Library of Australia. 10 December 1884. p. 1 Supplement: Supplement to The Bendigo Advertiser. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Frindall, Bill (2009). Ask Bearders. BBC Books. p. 46. ISBN   978-1-84607-880-4.
  7. "Individual Scores of 300 and More in an Innings in First-Class Cricket in Chronological Order". CricketArchive. Archived from the original on 3 April 2007. Retrieved 22 September 2007.
  8. "Scorecard Test No. 15". Cricinfo.com.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Dave Gregory
Australian Test cricket captains
1880 – 1884/5
Succeeded by
Tom Horan
Preceded by
Percy McDonnell
Australian Test cricket captains
1890
Succeeded by
Jack Blackham
Preceded by
Jack Blackham
Australian Test wicket-keepers
1877–1890
Succeeded by
Affie Jarvis
Preceded by
Billy Newham
Sussex county cricket captain
1893–1899
Succeeded by
Ranjitsinhji
Records
Preceded by
Charles Bannerman
World Record – Highest individual score in Test cricket
211 vs England at The Oval 1884
Succeeded by
Tip Foster