LEGENDS - Ray Lindwall
Lindwall's first class career began in 1941, just before Japan's entry into the Second World War and the cessation of big cricket until the 1945-46 season, when he immediately was chosen for NSW and later joined the Australian team to New Zealand for his test match debut. With the resumption of Anglo-Australian tests in 1946-47, Lindwall was a mercurial figure, taking 18 wickets at 20.38 in four tests and scoring 160 runs at 32.00. Highlights emphasising his promise and versatility were his three wickets in four balls at Adelaide and a swashbuckling but extremely timely even 100 at Melbourne, a rare feat for a number eight batsman. Lindwall scored another test century against the West Indies in 1955, one of five first class career hundreds, all from low in the order.
On the 1948 English tour, Lindwall's bowling in partnership with Keith Miller was one of the most important elements in Australia's unbeaten record. He spearheaded the attack with consistent speed until around 1954, when in wicketkeeper Don Tallon's words: "Age and hard work were catching up on him and he wasn't hitting the gloves so hard."
To this stage Lindwall's stock-in-trade was genuine speed, usually applied as cricket's most profitable delivery - the fast outswinger to a right-hand batsman. He had masterful control of this "away swinger", which was delivered with variations of pace and length unmatched by contemporary test bowlers. Lindwall was aggressive and thoughtful, without overdoing the bouncer, and in his later years introduced an express delivery as the exception to what had once been the rule. It was just such a delivery that got through Trevor Bailey in the fifth test of 1954-55 making Lindwall the first fast bowler in the history of Anglo-Australian tests to capture 100 wickets.
(To be continued)