Larwood would pitch three successive deliveries on the same spot, only to pleasantly discover that each responded differently: one would rear head-high, the next towards the hip, and the third for the chest. . Some of the England bowlers admitted that Bodyline would have succeeded on pitches of even bounce, but the impact would have lessened. Not surprisingly most Australian batsmen confessed 'fright': one even asked if he could be dropped from the remainder of the series.
The few options left to the Australian to survive this onslaught were to weave out of the way, take the short-pitched stuff on the body, play defensively with the bat held perpendicularly in front of his face and chest, hook the bowling repeatedly or, more outrageously, withdraw from the leg stump and force the ball to the vacant off side..
But the line between theory and demonstration was wide; if the batsman played defensively he lobbed it gently to the waiting fielders. Evasion was but a temporary relief, retaliation in effect was not possible for most and risked a possible catch to the leg boundary. Standing up to the pain over and over was a prospect that appealed to even fewer. Improvisation invited the prospect of a fatal good-length ball or Yorker. The Australians were cornered.
Bradman counterattacked by leaving his stumps exposed and hitting cross-batted to the off. When Vic Richardson tried to do the same, standing a foot and six inches outside the leg stump, he alarmed to find the ball chasing him. In his last 9 innings of the series, McCabe could only score 198---11 more than his 187 in the first. "I got away with it once," he confessed. "But I couldn't get away with it again."
(To be continued).