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  Monday, 20 August, 2001, 17:39 GMT 18:39 UK
Demons laid to rest
Don Bradman
Bradman scored an unbeaten 173 to win the Test
BBC Sport Online's Thrasy Petropoulos says England's Headingley triumph is revenge for defeat in 1948.

It may have gone down in history as the run-chase to which all others are compared - the first time a side scored more than 400 to win a Test match, a feat repeated only once since - but there was more to Australia scoring 404 for three at Headingley in 1948 than meets the eye.

For a start, Don Bradman, one of the architects of the victory, admitted in his autobiography Farewell to Cricket that he did not believe that Australia had it in them to score that number of runs in less than a day.

And then there is Arthur Morris to consider.

Morris, a compact but elegant left-hander, scored 182 and shared a second-wicket partnership with Bradman of 301 in 217 minutes, but he too later made a surprising statement - that it was generally accepted within the Australian dressing-room that England would win.

Len Hutton
The recalled Hutton scored 81 in England's second innings
Indeed, it was only during the lunch break, when Australia found themselves 112 for 1, with Morris on 63, that thoughts turned to a possible upset.

There was good reason for Morris's scepticism.

England had dominated the match, scoring 496 in their first innings, with centuries from Cyril Washbrook and Bill Edrich, and then declaring on 365 for eight in their second innings, four of the top six batsmen having scored fifties.

Neil Harvey, only 19 years old, had scored a century on his Ashes debut to take Australia to 458 in their first innings.

But Norman Yardley, the England captain, opted to bat on for two overs on the final morning to be able to use the heavy roller that would help break up a fourth-day pitch, few gave Australia a chance.

Godfrey Evans had a shocker behind the stumps
Godfrey Evans had a shocker behind the stumps
However, the expected threat of Jim Laker's off spin failed to materialise, and though Australia lost Lindsey Hasset to Denis Compton's chinaman bowling for 17, and the scoring-rate was far from cavalier, Bradman and Morris were troubled all too rarely.

The problem for England was that they failed to take the few chances they created.

Famously, Compton found Bradman's edge with a googly only for Jack Crapp to drop the catch at slip, and Godfrey Evans made error after error behind the stumps.

In all, five catches went down - three off Bradman and two off Morris - and an increasingly desperate Yardley brought on Len Hutton, a very occasional leg-spin bowler.

Denis  Compton
Compton had Bradman dropped off his bowling
Hutton was promptly thumped for three fours by Morris.

At tea, Australia required a further 112 to win and though they lost Morris, caught off Yardley, and Keith Miller soon after, their momentum was unstoppable.

Bradman had already brought up his hundred before tea, no more than the Headingley crowd had come to expect of The Don after his triple centuries there in 1930 and 1934, and his 103 in 1938, and he went on to reach 173 not out.

Spin criticism

In four Tests at the ground, Bradman scored a mind-blowing 963 runs at 192.6.

But it was to Harvey that the honour fell to score the winning run, with 15 minutes of scheduled play remaining.

England came under heavy criticism for not having played a proper leg-spinner - Doug Wright and Eric Hollies were the obvious candidates.

And Bradman later agreed.

After all, Australia, having won the first two Tests and drawn the third, had just secured the first post-Ashes Test series in some style.

Day five

Day four

Day three

Day two

Day one

Headingley '81

Test match reports



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