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The Ashes: A Look At How Australia’s ‘Invincibles’ Made History During 1948 Tour Of England

As the cricketing world prepares for the Ashes series between England and Australia, which will take place from June 16 onwards, it is time to revisit one of the most important and historic chapters of cricket’s oldest rivalry. Out of 72 Ashes series played so far, Australia have been on the winning side largely with 34 wins. England has won 32 titles, rest ended in a draw. But out of these 34 title wins, there was something really special about the Ashes win in 1948 for the Aussies. The Australian side, led by legendary batter Don Bradman, who was on his final tour to England, went undefeated throughout the whole tour.

Australia captured the Ashes urn by defeating England by 4-0 in the series that lasted from June to August.

Before the beginning of the series, during and after the series, Australia played some matches with some English counties, like Worcestershire, Leicestershire, Yorkshire, Surrey, Essex etc. Australia emerged victorious in the majority of these matches.

In all, Australia played five Ashes Test matches, 27 other first-class cricket matches and two non-first-class matches against Scotland between April to September. The schedule was extremely hard on Australian players’ bodies, with over 100 days of play scheduled in these five months.

Australia came out on top in 25 matches, often by large margins and drew the other nine matches. As they went undefeated throughout the whole tour, this batch of Australian side is known as ‘The Invincibles’. They are considered as one of the greatest units to have played the sport.

The Australian government recognises the team as “one of Australia’s most cherished sporting legends.”

This Australian team was extremely strong, powered by formidable batters like Arthur Morris, vice-captain Lindsay Hassett, Neil Harvey and Sid Barnes, led by Bradman from the front. The fast bowling unit consisting of Ray Lindwall, Keith Miller and Bill Johnston was also extremely lethal.

For Australia, Bradman topped the batting charts. In 23 matches, he scored 2,428 runs at an average of 89.92. He scored 11 centuries and eight fifties, with the best score of 187.

Arthur Morris was Australia’s second-highest scorer. In 21 matches, he scored 1,922 runs at an average of 71.18. He scored seven centuries and seven fifties, with the best score of 290.

The vice-captain Lindsay Hassett was at the third position. He scored 1,563 runs in 22 matches at an average of 74.42. He scored seven centuries and four fifties, with the best score of 200*.

Coming to the bowlers, Bill Johnston was the leading wicket-taker for Australia. He took 102 wickets in 21 matches, with the best figures of 6/18 and an average of 16.42.

Lindwall was the second-highest wicket-taker for Australia on the tour. He took 86 wickets in 22 matches at an average of 15.68, with best figures of 6/14.

Ian Johnson, a spinner emerged as the third-highest wicket-taker for Aussies. He took 85 wickets in 22 matches at an average of 18.37 with best figures of 7/42.

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