Dont bowl at people repeatedly. - Cricket


Bodyline, Australia v England, 1933


The ball to which such strong exception is being taken in Australia is not slow or slow-medium but fast. It is dropped short and is alleged in certain quarters to be aimed at the batsman rather than at the wicket. It may at once he said that, if the intention is to hit the batsman and so demoralise him, the practice is altogether wrong--calculated, as it must be, to introduce an element of pronounced danger and altogether against the spirit of the game of cricket. Upon this point practically everybody will agree. No one wants such an element introduced. That English bowlers, to dispose of their opponents, would of themselves pursue such methods or that Jardine would acquiesce in such a course is inconceivable.


At the same time there obviously exists an awkward situation. The batsman of the sixties in the last century, had, on the rough wickets which then obtained in most parts of the country, to depend upon his own dexterity to prevent himself from being hit by the fast bowlers and often--however high his class--found himself badly bruised at the end of an innings but he accepted those knocks as all in the game. Indeed, unless fast bowling had been forbidden, knocks--to some extent--were almost inevitable and, furthermore, if a bowler chose to drop the ball a bit short now and then, no one would have thought for a moment of raising objection.  -- Wisden Almanac, 1933


It was perhaps the most sickening moment of a despised Test series. Batting at Adelaide Oval, the small and wiry veteran wicketkeeper Bert Oldfield edged a ferocious delivery from English paceman Harold Larwood, was struck on the temple, collapsed beside the pitch and was carried from the field unconscious.


This was to become the defining image of the Bodyline series. As Oldfield collapsed, mounted police were called in to control the baying crowd, near capacity for a match described as "the battle of Adelaide".


This was the same match in which Australian captain Bill Woodfull was struck several sickening blows by bouncers, including once over the heart. He was reported to have said, after a conciliatory visit to the Australian dressing room by English manager "Plum" Warner: "There are two sides out there. One is playing cricket and one is not."


Soon afterwards, the Australian Board of Control sent a telegram to the Marylebone Cricket Club, accusing the English team of unsportsmanlike behaviour. Australians were appalled by the tactic and anti-English feelings ran high, so much so that prime minister Joe Lyons intervened to try to take the heat out of the affair. Cabinets in both nations discussed the issue and government departments opened Bodyline files.


Despite the furore, England captain Douglas Jardine persevered with bodyline (or "fast leg theory" as it was referred to in polite English society) to the bitter end, ignoring the outrage it caused in Australia. -- Sun Herald (Australia)