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M any of you know of my passion for cricket and more know I'm English.

This is not a good combination when trading globally, at the moment. Every Test seems to bring more 'sympathy' from card buying areas of the globe. I fear it is going to get worse before it gets better. A cricket side that seems to be able to bring five ex-Captains in too bat at the drop of a hat does not exactly bode well. If only they could all bat it would be something.

This is not a moan about the current state of British cricket but a quick glance back in history just to prove there are lessons to learn from it, even if it is 'we've been this bad before.'

The one thing which comes out of the 1948 England side is, you don't have to be a bad side to be beaten just second best. You can argue very convincingly that cricket was a very different proposition back then but you can only win or lose against the opposition put in front of you and, well, England lost.

Bedser came away with the dreaded double-zero

I am pushing a bit here but after England were beaten in 1948 they went to South Africa for a winter tour. As an aside 1948 sees the beginning of South African withdrawal from the civilised world when they began to enforce apartheid.

I am drifting and Britain can hardly hold its head up high when it comes to the history of South Africa..

1948 makes weary and all to recognisable reading. The Aussie touring side won 4-0 and even that statistic does not give you an idea of the depth of the defeat. The 1948 Test was the first Ashes tour on British soil after the war and as such important on so many levels, these truly were days where you were glad to be alive.

At Lords, spiritual home of world cricket, England were defeated by 409 runs. If you thought that was bad The Oval was even worse, England were 149 runs shy of Australia's first innings score after two innings batting. You have to do something special to fail that misreably and England did, they were bowled out for 52. Up to that point their worst batting performance this century (fear not though England failed even more misreably on the West Indies 93/94 tour.)

I have used this page to introduce you to the cricket sets which were issued after World War Two which basically are trade cards. As such the cards are picked from the wide range of sets and there was no more justification than that for the cards choosen.

It could have been worse though, although RR Lindwall took six wickets for 20 runs, Hutton held the England innings together with 30 of the 52 runs. The rest of the misreable bunch only making 22 runs between them. Well that again is not quite true as Australia gifted the English six runs in no balls.

So exactly who constituted this side of English failure, what band of dead beats struggled to work out what a cricket bat was for?

Well I have already given you one name, Hutton, or to give him his full honors, bestowed at a later date, Sir Len Hutton. He appears on my all time list of great English cricket players and a good many people would agree. First professional England Captain, scorer of 129 centuries. In 1938 he hit the Aussies for 364 at The Oval, a record. Still that was ten years before this test and he was now 42 years old. Still the great man was the best of the sorry bunch so maybe we cannot complain too much.

The more things change the more they stay the same. In this Test there were two test debuts for England, HG Baldwin and D Davies. This had followed Test debuts for A Coxon in the second Test and Test debuts for JF Crapp and GM Emmett in the third Test at Old Trafford (which was a draw). This draw prompted Australia to look at there side when they brought in RA Saggers for a Test debut at Headingley. You just have to accept the Australians did deserve the name 'The Invincibles' which followed them about on this tour.

So the England squad at The Oval was as follows:

L Hutton Clevedon Confectionary, Sporting Memories [1962]

JG Dewes

WJ Edrich Kiddy Favourites Ltd, "Popular" Cricketers [1948]

DCS ComptonDaily Express, Cricketers [1947]

JF Crapp Clevedon Confectionary, Famous Cricketers [1955]

NWD Yardley

AJ Watkins

TG Evans Palmer Mann & Co, Sifta Sams series of 24 Famous Cricketers [1954]

AV Bedser Kane Products, Cricketers [1956]

JA Young A&BC "All Sport" [1954]

WE Hollies Sporting Publicity, Cricket Stars [1950]

If that lot were available to Test selection today you could expect Hutton, Edrich, Compton, Evans and Bedser to walk straight into the present day squad and I certainly would not discount the others out of hand. Compton and Edrich had laid waste to the opposition during the 1947 season.

Still this line up was destroyed by the Aussie bowling attack and our bowlers were going to be given a lesson by the batsman.

So if the England squad were not to blame for their defeat it must be the Aussies you have to applaud. Well applaud you can because cricket is like that, and long may that continue to be the case.

There team for The Oval was:

SG Barnes

AR Morris

DG Bradman A & J Donaldon, Sports Favourites [1948]

AL Hassett Barratt, Famous Cricketers [1938]

KR Milller Barratt, Test Cricketers by EW Swanton, Series A [1956]

RN Harvey

SJE Loxton

RR Lindwall Morning Foods Ltd, Test Cricketers [1953]

D Tallon

DT Ring

WA Johnston

As mentioned earlier RR Lindwall had done the damage with some demonic bowling (6 for 20 runs in the first England innings). The Don was there batting at number two. This was to be his last Test match and he received a standing ovation as he walked on and also got three cheers from his opponents (crickets like that).

What happened next was cricket history. Bradman needed just four runs for a Test average of 100. Eric Hollies bowled him a googly second ball and Don was out for a resounding zero. Probably the most famous duck in Test cricket.

I remember hearing Eric suggest he did not know that Bradman needed 4 runs for such an outstanding achievement and that if he had he would have bowled differently. Didn't Hollies much at the time as he accounted for five of the wickets in the first innings.

Arthur Morris scored 196 only to be run out and this great left-handed batsman has been known to complain, in good humour, that never has such a huge score been overshadowed by such a low one in the entire game of cricket. You have to say he had a point.

Looking at the card (at the foot of this page is the statistics of The Oval match) you will see the Australian opening partnership (SG Barnes 61 runs and AR Morris 196 runs did for England).

England seconds innings started well and at one point the side were 125 for 2 with Hutton and Compton batting well. This gave hope that Australia may well have to bat again and there was the possibility Bradman may well have another chance of getting that elusive 100 average (either 104 or 4 not out would be required).

It was not to be though. Compton snicked a ball to Lindwall at slip. Jack Crapp managed to stop a fiendish ball from Miller with his head. Gamely he batted on but to all intents and purpose was barely concious. So Bradman was going to have to live with 99.94 Test average for the rest of his life.

As a Test it was something of a disaster for all concerned really but it could have been worse. Although in the first innings Jack Crapp, AJ Watkins, TG Evans, AV Bedser and JA Young were all out for zero runs between them only the unfortunate Bedser came away with the dreaded double-zero by failing to score a run in the second innings.

What happened when the England Test side went to South Africa in the late 1940's?

We beat them that's what.

The stats from The Oval Test:

The Ashes, 1948, 5th Test England v Australia Kennington Oval, London
Dates 14,16,17,18 August 1948 (5-day match)
Result: Australia won by an innings and 149 runs Australia wins the 5-Test series 4-0
Toss: England
Umpires: HG Baldwin and D Davies
Test Debuts: JG Dewes, AJ Watkins (Eng).
England 1st innings
L Hutton c Tallon b Lindwall 30
JG Dewes b Miller 1
WJ Edrich c Hassett b Johnston 3
DCS Compton c Morris b Lindwall 4
JF Crapp c Tallon b Miller 0
NWD Yardley b Lindwall 7
AJ Watkins lbw b Johnston 0
TG Evans b Lindwall 1
AV Bedser b Lindwall 0
JA Young b Lindwall 0
WE Hollies not out 0
Extras (b 6) 6
Total (all out, 42.1 overs) 52
FoW: 1-2, 2-10, 3-17, 4-23, 5-35, 6-42, 7-45, 8-45, 9-47, 10-52.
Bowling O M R W
Lindwall 16.1 5 20 6
Miller 8 5 5 2
Johnston 16 4 20 2
Loxton 2 1 1 0
Australia 1st innings
SG Barnes c Evans b Hollies 61
AR Morris run out 196
DG Bradman b Hollies 0
AL Hassett lbw b Young 37
KR Miller st Evans b Hollies 5
RN Harvey c Young b Hollies 17
SJE Loxton c Evans b Edrich 15
RR Lindwall c Edrich b Young 9
D Tallon c Crapp b Hollies 31
DT Ring c Crapp b Bedser 9
WA Johnston not out 0
Extras (b 4, lb 2, nb 3) 9
Total (all out, 158.2 overs) 389
FoW: 1-117, 2-117, 3-226, 4-243, 5-265, 6-304, 7-332, 8-359, 9-389, 10-389.
Bowling O M R W
Bedser 31.2 9 61 1
Watkins 4 1 19 0
Young 51 16 118 2
Hollies 56 14 131 5
Compton 2 0 6 0
Edrich 9 1 38 1
Yardley 5 1 7 0
England 2nd innings
L Hutton c Tallon b Miller 64
JG Dewes b Lindwall 10
WJ Edrich b Lindwall 28
DCS Compton c Lindwall b Johnston 39
JF Crapp b Miller 9
NWD Yardley c Miller b Johnston 9
AJ Watkins c Hassett b Ring 2
TG Evans b Lindwall 8
AV Bedser b Johnston 0
JA Young not out 3
WE Hollies c Morris b Johnston 0
Extras (b 9, lb 4, nb 3) 16
Total (all out, 105.3 overs) 188
FoW: 1-20, 2-64, 3-125, 4-153, 5-164, 6-167, 7-178, 8-181, 9-188, 10-188.
Bowling O M R W
Lindwall 25 3 50 3
Miller 15 6 22 2
Johnston 27.3 12 40 4
Loxton 10 2 16 0
Ring 28 13 44 1