Clif Cary

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Clif Cary was an Australian cricket reporter of the 1930s and 1940s. He was the "sports editor on the commercial radio network with the largest sports audience in the Commonwealth" and in 1946 he published Test Cricket and Records, "a splendid, authentic and comprehensive history of the many great Anglo-Australian matches" from 1876 to 1938. [1] He was a cricket commentator for the radio station 2UE for the 1946–47 Ashes series. [2] After which he wrote Cricket Controversy, Test matches in Australia 1946-47, an account of the series in which he was critical of the poor selection of the England team, Wally Hammond's uninspired leadership, Don Bradman's overeagerness to win, which Cary thought verged on gamesmanship, and the mistakes made by the Australian umpires George Borwick and John Scott. Along with Jack Fingleton he was regarded as one of Bradman's critics, even though he admired his batting. [3]

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The English cricket team in Australia in 1946–47 was captained by Wally Hammond, with Norman Yardley as his vice-captain and Bill Edrich as the senior professional. It played as England in the 1946–47 Ashes series against the Australians and as the MCC in their other matches on the tour. They were regarded as a sound team which was just as strong as Australia, but due to the Second World War they were an ageing side and their bowling depended heavily on Alec Bedser and Doug Wright, who were overused and exhausted as a result. Australia beat England 3-0 in a five-match series to retain the Ashes; England suffered the worst defeat in a Test series since losing 4–1 to Australia in 1924–25. Since 1881, Tests in Australia were played to finish. That rule was changed for this series, and for the first time in 65 years, a test played in Australia ended in a draw when the third test was drawn.

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Keith Miller in the 1946–47 Australian cricket season Role of all-rounder during the season

During the 1946–47 Australian cricket season, all rounder Keith Miller represented Victoria and Australia. A 27-year-old right-handed batsman and fast bowler, Miller played in all five Tests against England, performing well with both bat and ball. He finished top of the Australian Test bowling averages, taking 16 wickets at 20.88, and was second in the batting averages, scoring 384 runs at 76.80. On his Ashes debut in the First Test in Brisbane, Miller scored 79 before taking match bowling figures of 9 wickets for 77 runs (9/77) in Australia's innings victory. In the Fourth Test, played at the Adelaide Oval, Miller broke through for his first Test century, scoring an unbeaten 141. A middle-order batsman and right-arm opening bowler, Miller finished the Test series as Australia's joint leading wicket-taker, along with his new ball partner Ray Lindwall, as Australia won the series 3–0.

1946–47 Ashes series

The 1946–47 Ashes series consisted of five cricket Test matches, each of six days with five hours play each day and eight ball overs. Unlike pre-war Tests in Australia, matches were not timeless and played to a finish. It formed part of the MCC tour of Australia in 1946–47 and England played its matches outside the Tests in the name of the Marylebone Cricket Club. The England team was led by the veteran Wally Hammond and his vice-captain Norman Yardley with the strong batting line up of Len Hutton, Cyril Washbrook, Bill Edrich, Denis Compton and Joe Hardstaff, but a weak bowling attack that relied on pre-war bowlers like the 37-year-old Bill Voce of Bodyline fame and the mercurial leg-spinner Doug Wright. The two successes of the tour were the newly capped Alec Bedser, who would carry the England bowling attack until 1955, and Godfrey Evans who would be England's first choice wicketkeeper until 1959. England had drawn the Victory Tests 2–2 in 1945 and were thought to be equal in strength, but Hammond lost 3–0 to Don Bradman's Australian team which had only two other pre-war players – Lindsay Hassett and Sid Barnes, who had played 5 Tests between them – and was packed with fresh talent in the shape of Arthur Morris, Keith Miller, Ray Lindwall, Colin McCool, Ernie Toshack and Don Tallon. There were several controversial umpiring decisions which assumed greater significance as they favoured Australia and in particular Don Bradman.

The 1946–47 Australians defeated the touring England team 3–0 in the 1946–47 Ashes series. First-class cricket had continued in Australia until January 1942 and as grade cricket had continued throughout the war there had been less of an hiatus than in England. Their cricket grounds had not been bombed and compared to austerity Britain, Australia was a land of plenty, which allowed for a more rapid recovery than in the old country, as had happened after the First World War. There was no Sheffield Shield in 1945–46, but the Australian Services XI had played all the states and there had been non-Shield interstate games. However, Australia's main advantage was the encouragement of their younger players, in particular by Bradman. Though overshadowed by the great 1948 Australian team, in 1975 Don Bradman reckoned that it was Australia's strongest post-war home team, with the 1974–75 Australians coming a close second and the 1950–51 Australians third. It was also superior to the pre-war Australian teams, as though they were just as strong in batting they had no fast bowlers and depended heavily on the leg-spin of Clarrie Grimmett and Bill O'Reilly. In 1946–47 Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller emerged as a great new-ball partnership, with quality support from Ernie Toshack, Ian Johnson and Colin McCool. The only area for improvement was in finding another top-order strokemaker, which was soon resolved by the arrival of Neil Harvey.

MCC tour of Australia in 1946–47

The Marylebone Cricket Club tour of Australia in 1946-47 under the captaincy of Wally Hammond was its ninth since it took official control of overseas tours in 1903-1904 and the first since the Second World War. The touring team played as England in the 1946–47 Ashes series against Australia, but as the MCC in all other games. In all there were 25 matches; 5 Test matches, 13 other First Class matches and 7 minor matches. Australia had been suffering a drought since 1937, but this ended as it rained in every match the MCC played on tour, including tropical thunderstorms twice in Brisbane and again in Sydney. However, this had an adverse effect on the pitches and denied the touring team adequate practice and lead to many draws.

Hammond's ill-equipped army returned to England beaten, yet deserving of the highest honours for their sportsmanship, their ability to smile in the face of certain disaster and also for their success in gaining the objective of their invasion - the spreading of cricket goodwill from the Homeland to a Dominion.

The England team were unhappy with the umpiring in the 1946–47 Ashes series, in particular when Don Bradman was not given out when caught by Jack Ikin for 28 in the First Test and 22 in the Second. Test cricket was not filmed except for highlights and the notion of Test umpires using slow-motion replays or other modern techniques would have been considered absurd. Instead the umpires had to make judgements based on what they saw in a split-second, and honest mistakes were accepted as part and parcel of the game. However, touring teams sometimes felt that there was a natural bias towards the home team which led to some acrimony if important decisions always went against them. The Australian Ray Robinson wrote in The Cricketer:

Usually debatable decisions work out fairly evenly over a Test rubber, but weight of evidence suggests that the umpires were mistaken in giving Bradman not out caught for 28 in the First Test, Edrich out leg-before-wicket for 89 in the Third Test, and Washbrook out caught behind the wicket for 39 in the Fourth Test. These decisions came at such points in England's bids to gain an advantage that they could almost be termed turning-points of the three games.


  1. Alan Kippax, forward to Clif Cary, Cricket Controversy, Test matches in Australia 1946-47, T. Werner Laurie Ltd, 1948
  2. p32, Cary
  3. p84, Brett Hutchins, Don Bradman: Challenging the Myth, Cambridge University Press, 2005