The 1950-51 Australians defeated the touring England team 4-1 in the 1950-51 Ashes series, Australia's last Ashes success until 1959-59. The series was tilted the balance from the powerful Australian teams of the 1940s to the strong England teams of the 1950s. While in the end they won easily the team made heavy weather of defeating a weak touring team and would lose the next three hard-fought Ashes series. The newly knighted Sir Donald Bradman had retired from cricket, but most of his great 1948 Australian team still played and Australia had not lost a Test series since 1932-33.

Unbeaten Run

When they were defeated in the Fifth Test it ended their unbeaten run of 14 Tests against England, 26 Tests against all countries and 96 games in all cricket, having lost their last game to England at the Oval in 1938. Their record remained until England played 27 Tests without defeat in 1968-71.

The Captain

Lindsay Hassett had been Don Bradman's vice-captain in 1948, but his rise to the captaincy was not certain despite his seniority and talent. Australian cricket swung around the twin poles of Victoria and New South Wales who dominated the Sheffield Shield. Hassett was captain of Victoria and his rival Arthur Morris was captain of New South Wales, with some board members being biased against Hassett's Irish Catholic background, he only received the post by the barest of margins (7-6). Hassett was 37 by the 1950-51 season and Morris was tipped to lead the 1953 tour of England, but remained vice-captain to Hassett and his Victorian successor Ian Johnson and only led Australia in two Tests in their absence (which he both lost). Hassett himself was a dimulative (5'6") batsman who had been a great strokemaker before the war and had made his Test debut in England in 1938. He performed well for the Australian Services cricket team and in the Victory Tests against England in 1945. After the war he took his batting more seriously and was more defensive, though never dull, and he never failed in a series. He had an impish good humour, but as captain tended to become serious on the field. Although a keen tactician he lacked the aggressiveness and self-confidence of Bradman, but then he also lacked Bradman's batting and Hassett would see Australia overshadowed by the strong England teams of the mid-1950s.


The only weakness that could be seen in the Australian team was their batting, Don Bradman (99.94), Sid Barnes (63.05) and Bill Brown (46.82) had all retired and had not been fully replaced. The vice-captain Arthur Morris (46.48) was labeled "Bedser's Bunny" as the English bowler dismissed him easily in the first three Tests, but he made 168 and 105 against the tourists for New South Wales and 100 for an Australian XI. he finally laid the bunny to rest with his highest Test century in the Fourth Test at Adelaide, making 206 out of 371. The real trouble was finding him a suitable opening partner as Jack Moroney made a pair, Ken Archer never made a Test 50 and Jim Burke failed when promoted after making an unbeaten century on his Test debut. It was a problem that was not solved and Lindsay Hassett took to opening the batting in 1953 and Morris had another succession of partners in 1954-55. Neil Harvey (48.42) was still a baby-faced youngster in 1950-51, committed to strokeplay regardless of the situation. He had a steady series and initially came in at number 3 before being moved down to his natural position at number 4. Lindsay Hassett replaced him and the Australian captain made more runs than anybody else in the team, but failed to make a century. However, he did have strength in depth, Keith Miller (36.97) and Ray Lindwall (21.15) were all-rounders of Test class, Miller topped the Australian batting averages and was the only man who could - briefly - take the attack to the accurate bowling of Alec Bedser and Trevor Bailey. Sam Loxton (36.93) was a big-hitting all-rounder, but his bowling days were behind him and was used as a middle order batsmen, without success. Ian Johnson was a useful tailender who could have been a fully-fledged all rounder with greater application and made 77 in the Third Test at Sydney. Don Tallon was a useful lower-order batsmen in 1948, but failed in all the Tests and his increasing deafness made him a poor runner. Bill Johnston was an awkward batsmen who could be difficult to remove, but the last man was Jack Iverson "...whose batting pretensions are possibly no higher than those of a third-grade schoolboy player".


The home side were still able to call on the great bowlers of Don Bradman's Great 1948 Team; the hostile pace of Ray Lindwall (23.03) and Keith Miller (22.97), the left-arm swing and left arm spin of Bill Johnston (23.91), the flighted off-spinners of Ian Johnson and the mystery spin of Jack Iverson. Ray Lindwall was regarded as the finest fast bowler after the war, with a perfectly controlled action; "he appears to be just jogging his fifteen yards up to the stumps - until the last couple of strides of his approach, when he suddenly explodes into his delivery stride...when he releases the ball, his bowling arm is so low that it borders on the round-arm". He had had a mixed tour of South Africa in 1949-50, failing to take a wicket in the first three South African innings and being dropped for the last Test, his form suffering from groin strain, fibrositis and a stomach disorder. This led to speculation that at 29 the fast bowler's career might soon be over as "his pace was not what it was by any means, and his arm is much lower...his action is more laboured and his body does not follow through". Lindwall returned to the team and would bowl for Australia throughout the 1950s, though Lindsay Hassett tended to underuse him in the series, the opposite of Bradman who overbowled him. Keith Miller was the "glamour boy" of the Australian team "his batting was a joy to behold, his fast bowling can be both fascinating to watch and deadly in effect, while his fielding in the slips and in the covers is feline in its anticipation and soundness". There was a national outcry when he was no picked for the South Africa tour, both as the mercurial all rounder didn't want to bowl (his back had in injured when a night-fighter pilot in the Second World War), not helped by his well-known antipathy with the new Test selector Don Bradman, but was later flown out as a replacement. "Big Bill" Johnston was a powerful left-arm swing bowler who would be Australia's best wicket-taker in the series despite the fame of Lindwall and Miller. Like Miller he could bowl spin, but instead of mixing his bowling he saved his slow left arm spinners for when the opposition were caught on a sticky wicket. Ian Johnson was an off-spinner, a rarity in Australian cricket which tended to prefer leg-spinners. He was not a big turner of the ball, and one of the slowest bowlers in cricket, but he used flight to deceive the batsmen and tied down one end while the fast bowlers rested. To these veterans could be added the extraordinary mystery spin of Jack Iverson, who had found that he could use his long middle finger to turn the ball either way when whiling away the hours in the New Guinea campaign. Although never more than an occasional Grade cricketer before the war Iverson perfected his art and was chosen to play for his native Victoria in 1949-50, but was on the verge of quitting cricket when the England team arrived. He was 35 and his ailing father needed him to take over the family business, but stayed at the held against his doctor's advice so that Iverson could play for Australia. He took 3/85 for Victoria vs the tourists and though he only dismissed three tailenders he caused the batsmen enough trouble to be picked for the Test team and the First Test at Brisbane was the first Test match he ever saw. His greatest day came in the Third Test at Sydney when he took 6/27 in Australia's innings victory. He retired at the end of the season even though he had "the world's best batsmen at his mercy, if he could spare the time".


Queensland's Don Tallon was reaching the end of his career, but despite his poor performances managed to hold his place against his rivals Gil Langley and Ron Saggers even though he had missed the tour South Africa in 1949-50. He took only 8 catches in the 5 Test series, missed every stumping chance and only satisfied his critics in the Third Test at Sydney. Otherwise the Australians were usually far superior to the England side in the field - the 1953 Australians were considered to be the best fielding team ever to tour England - and they trained hard to improve their performance. Neil Harvey was an outstanding in the covers, Ian Johnson was considered to be one of the best slip fielders in the world and Keith Miller and Sam Loxton were good catchers of the ball in any position.

The Australian Team

Test Statistics of Australian Team in 1950-51
Name State Age Role Tests Runs Highest Average 100s 50s Ct St Wickets Best Average 5 Wt 10 Wt
K.A. Archer Queensland 22 Right-Handed Opening Batsman 5 234 48 26.00
KJ. Moroney New South Wales 33 Right-Handed Opening Batsman 7 383 118 34.81 2 1
A.R. Morris (vc) New South Wales 28 Left-Handed Opening Batsman 46 3353 206 46.48 12 12 15 2 1/5 25.00
J.W. Burke New South Wales 20 Right-Handed Top Order Batsman 24 1280 189 34.59 3 5 18 12 4/37 28.75
R.N. Harvey Victoria 22 Left-Handed Top Order Batsman 79 6145 205 48.41 21 24 64 3 1/8 40.00
A.L. Hassett (c) Victoria 37 Right-Handed Top Order Batsman 43 3073 198* 46.56 10 11 30 0/4
G.B. Hole South Australia 20 Right-Handed Top Order Batsman 18 789 66 25.45 5 6 3 1/9 42.00
S.J.E. Loxton Victoria 29 Right-Handed Middle Order Batsman 12 554 101 36.93 1 3 8 7 3/55 43.62
D. Tallon Queensland 34 Wicket-Keeper 21 394 92 17.13 2 50 8
R.R. Lindwall New South Wales 29 Right-Arm Fast Bowler 61 1502 118 21.15 2 5 26 228 7/38 23.03 12
K.R. Miller New South Wales 31 Right-Arm Fast Bowler 55 2958 147 36.97 7 13 38 170 7/60 22.97 7 1
W.A. Johnston Victoria 28 Left-Arm Fast-Medium Bowler 40 273 29 11.37 16 160 6/44 23.91 7
J.B. Iverson Victoria 33 Mystery Spin Bowler 5 3 1* 0.75 3 21 6/27 15.23 1
I.W.G. Johnson Victoria 33 Off-Spin Bowler 45 1000 77 18.51 6 33 109 7/44 29.19 6

First Test – Brisbane

1–4 December 1950
Flag of Australia Australia
v Flag of England England
68/7 (dec)
Flag of Australia Australia won by 70 runs
Brisbane Cricket Ground, Woolloongabba, Australia
Umpires: A.N. Barlow (AUS) & H.A.R. Elphinstone (AUS)
R.N. Harvey 74
Bedser, A.V. 4/45
T.E. Bailey 3/28
Washbrooke, C 19
W.A. Johnston 5/35
32/7 (dec) 122
R.N. Harvey 12
T.E. Bailey 4/22
Bedser, A.V. 3/9
Hutton, L. 62*
J.B. Iverson 4/43
S.J.E. Loxton 3 Ct
  • 2 December

See Main Article - 1950-51 Ashes series

Second Test – Melbourne

22–27 December 1950
Flag of Australia Australia
v Flag of England England
Flag of Australia Australia won by 28 runs
Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia
Umpires: G.S. Cooper (AUS) & R.J.J. Wright (AUS)
A.L. Hassett (c) 52
Bedser, A.V. 4/37
T.E. Bailey 4/40
F.R. Brown (c) 62
J.B. Iverson 4/37
181 150
K.A. Archer 46
F.R. Brown (c) 4/26
Hutton, L. 40
W.A. Johnston 4/26
R.R. Lindwall 3/29

See Main Article - 1950-51 Ashes series

Third Test – Sydney

5–9 January 1951
Flag of England England
v Flag of Australia Australia
Flag of Australia Australia won by an innings and 13 runs
Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, Australia
Umpires: A.N. Barlow (AUS) & H.A.R. Elphinstone (AUS)
F.R. Brown (c) 4/79
Hutton, L. 62
K.R. Miller 4/37
I.W.G. Johnson 3/94
K.R. Miller 145*
I.W.G. Johnson 77
A.L. Hassett (c) 70
Bedser, A.V. 4/107
F.R. Brown (c) 4/153
Washbrook, C. 34
J.B. Iverson 6/27

See Main Article - 1950-51 Ashes series

Fourth Test – Adelaide

2–8 February
Flag of Australia Australia
v Flag of England England
Flag of Australia Australia won by 274 runs
Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, Australia
Umpires: A.N. Barlow (AUS) & A.R. Cocks (AUS)
A.R. Morris (vc) 206
Wright, D.V.P. 4/99
Bedser, A.V. 3/74
Tattersall, R. 3/95
Hutton, L. 156*
R.R. Lindwall 3/51
W.A. Johnston 3/58
J.B. Iverson 3/68
403/8 (dec) 228
J.W. Burke 101*
K.R. Miller 99
N.R. Harvey 68
Wright, D.V.P. 2/109
R.T. Simpson 61
W.A. Johnston 4/73
K.R. Miller 3/27

See Main Article - 1950-51 Ashes series

Fifth Test – Melbourne

23–28 February 1951
Flag of Australia Australia
v Flag of England England
Flag of England England won by 8 wickets
Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia
Umpires: A.N. Barlow (AUS) & H.A.R. Elphinstone (AUS)
A.L. Hassett (c) 92
A.R. Morris (vc) 50
Bedser, A.V. 5/46
F.R. Brown (c) 5/49
R.T. Simpson 156*
Hutton, L. 79
K.R. Miller 4/76
R.R. Lindwall 3/77
197 150/2
G.B. Hole 63
N.R. Harvey 52
Bedser, A.V. 5/59
Wright, D.V.P. 3/56
Hutton, L. 60*
W.A. Johnston 1/36

See Main Article - 1950-51 Ashes series

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