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Arthur Morris, one of the finest left-handed opening batsmen, Bradman’s chosen one in his All-time XI

Don Bradman congratulating Arthur Morris on reaching his century during their record 400-runs plus victory chase at Headingley in 1948
Don Bradman congratulating Arthur Morris on reaching his century during their record 400-runs plus victory chase at Headingley in 1948
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Indra Vikram Singh

It would be pertinent to discuss another batsman of the Bradman era, his compatriot, left-hander Arthur Morris, whom The Don chose in his all-time dream team to open with Barry Richards.

It was with Morris that Bradman put on 301 for the second wicket in the famous run-chase at Headingley in 1948. They got together after Lindsay Hassett fell at 57, and set up a magnificent victory, the first time that a side scored 400 in the fourth innings to win a Test. Morris made 182 before he was dismissed on the very threshold of the historic triumph.

The perceptive Bradman always had immense faith in Morris. A brilliant strokeplayer, Morris made a century in each innings on his first-class debut against Queensland at Sydney in 1940-41 as an 18-year-old. He fared poorly on first appearance in Tests against Australia in 1946-47, managing only two runs at Brisbane, and five at Sydney.

Bradman, though, persisted with him and the youngster repaid his skipper’s faith in abundant measure. Morris delighted the crowds in the next two Tests. He scored 155 at Melbourne, and then a hundred each in the two innings - 122 and 124 not out - at Adelaide. It was, after all, a glorious initiation in top grade cricket.

It takes a lot to bypass the claims of Grace, Trumper, Hobbs, Hutton and Gavaskar

Eight of Morris’ 12 Test hundreds came against England, three in the 1948 series, when he topped Australia’s averages with 87, having hit 696 runs; Bradman averaged 72.57 for his 508 runs.

Morris scored Test hundreds in South Africa and the West Indies, as well as against India at home. In his 46 Tests he aggregated 3533 runs at an average of 46.48, with a top score of 206.

Bradman probably wanted a classy left-handed strokeplayer to open his All-time XI, which is why he included Morris. Had the great man lived longer, he might have been tempted to consider Matthew Hayden, who only began his ascent to the pinnacle on the Indian tour of 2001 just after The Don passed away.

After a close look at Morris’ career, one can see Bradman’s point, even though many might still not agree. It takes quite a lot to bypass the claims of the likes of Grace, Trumper, Hobbs, Hutton and Gavaskar, even if they are all right-handers.

(Excerpt from Indra Vikram Singh's book 'Don's Century').

Also Read: Don Bradman’s monumental 334 in Leeds Test of 1930 Ashes: Batsmanship at its finest


Edited by Diptanil Roy
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