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Classic Ashes clashes - 1938, The Oval

1938 - Fifth Test, The Oval
20, 22, 23, 24 August
England won by an innings & 579 runs

Len Hutton ripped up the record books at The Oval in 1938
England 903 for 7 dec.
Len Hutton 364
Maurice Leyland 187
Joe Hardstaff 169*
Australia 201 all out
Bill Brown 69
Bill Bowes 5 for 49
Australia 123 all out

The last Ashes Test before the Second World War was the stuff of dreams for cricket statisticians - and England.

The hosts needed to win to square the series and did so in style with Len Hutton leading the way.

He batted for more than 13 hours in compiling a record score of 364 and his second-wicket partnership with Maurice Leyland remains an English record.

Australia mounted little resistance to England's 903-7 declared and soon subsided by an innings and 579 runs.

While Hutton's individual mark - his country's 100th Ashes ton - and England's total have been superceded with time, the margin of victory remains a Test record.

England took advantage of a weak Australian bowling attack, most notably Hutton and Leyland who put on 382 together.

Hutton was the model of concentration on a good, quick wicket, but the knock took it out of him and he had trouble sleeping despite having a bottle of Guinness before bed time.

Audio highlights from the Oval Test in 1938

However, after a second sleepless night and his hardest spell at the crease as he worked to play himself in, his twin targets tumbled in successive shots.

A boundary took him to 336, eclipsing Don Bradman's Ashes record and drawing him level with Wally Hammond's then world record, which he duly passed.

Australia's hopes were hit by injuries to Bradman, who had fractured his right ankle while bowling, and Jack Fingleton, who had a strained leg muscle.

And it was only when reports were confirmed that Bradman would not bat on a benign pitch that Hammond chose to declare.

Only Bill Brown - who carried his bat to stay on the field for more than 18 hours - and Ben Barnett put up any resistance in the face of some fine bowling.

Bill Bowes claimed five first innings scalps and Ken Farnes four in Australia's second knock as the visitors were bowled out twice in four and three-quarter hours.

Despite England's efforts, Australia retained the Ashes.

Did you know?
Having sat with pads on in the pavilion for the best part of two days, Eddie Paynter bet Denis Compton they would not make 10 runs between them. Paynter was out for a duck and Compton made four, giving the winner the princely sum of £1.





see also
Ashes Legends XI
18 Sep 06 |  England

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