England’s ‘bodyline’ series

England’s 1932/3 tour of Australia was notable for skipper Douglas Jardine’s tactic of ‘fast leg theory bowling’. Bowlers pitched short balls on leg stump that reared into the body of where an orthodox batsman would be standing after taking his guard. With fast bowler Harold Larwood to the fore, the “bodyline” plan was employed in a bid to dent the dominance of the brilliant Don Bradman through physical intimidation. But it led to a diplomatic incident between the two countries over allegations of unsporting tactic. Either way it worked, with England winning the Ashes 4-1, but such was the uproar, Nottinghamshire miner Larwood never played another Test in a bitter and premature end to his international career.

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