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LEGENDS - Stan McCabe
MA Karim

McCabe's third great innings was reserved for Trent Bridge in 1938. England had declared at 658 for 8 wickets. Australia drew stumps at 138 on the second day, in considerate tension. They had lost the wickets of Fingleton, Bill Brown and Don Bradman. McCabe was batting at 19. A slight cold troubled him, but O'Reilly's advice was reassuring.
Frank Ward and Lindsay Hassett came and went. Half the side was out with Australia more than 500 behind. McCabe, ever watchful, preferred to keep a low profile.
Soon, when Badcock went for 9, Australia were up to their necks in it at 194 for 6. There was now only the wicketkeeper and three bowlers to follow.
However, fate had decreed that this was the stage set for one of the most remarkably measured onslaughts in history. Stan McCabe was one of the few batsmen whom Don Bradman regarded as an equal, in talent, if not always in temperament. And McCabe uncorked his vintage; England fast bowler Ken Farnes attacked his leg stump to restrict him from launching to the off. McCabe whipped him away for 6 over square leg. As the ball was being retrieved, Farnes turned to the non-striker O'Reilly: "Where can I bowl him? What can I do next?"
O'Reilly mustered a straight face. "You can run down and get his autograph," he replied.
Meanwhile, Bradman called to the Australians in the dressing room from the pavilion gallery: "Come and look at this! You've never seen anything like it!"
Meanwhile, Stan McCabe continued his assault on England, protecting his colleagues but never missing a scoring opportunity. He had nothing but the tail for support. (To be continued)