While the touring party’s batsmen
had an outstanding season, with Bradman scoring nearly 2500 runs and Brown,
Hassett and Badcock also being prolific scorers, their bowling seemed much more
ordinary. Nevertheless the Australians retained the Ashes because they bowled
better on the one helpful pitch of the series at Headingley, where O’Reilly
scythed through the English batting with ten wickets and Fleetwood-Smith
seven. In the final Test at The Oval England took revenge and racked up the
record total (903 - 7) in first-class cricket in England.
O'Reilly shouldered most of the
the load all summer and it was a mistake that Grimmett was left behind in Australia.
McCormick, built up as a great fast bowler, took only 34 wickets on the tour.
In his opening spell of the tour at Worcester McCormick bowled eight no-balls
in his first over and nine in his second and never really recovered his
confidence. Only at Lord’s was he menacing.
The tourists lost a Scarborough
Festival match, which was the first defeat outside Tests since 1921.
As in 1890, the Test match at Manchester was
abandoned without a ball being bowled because of persistent rain, so it was
in effect a four-Test series.
The manager Bill Jeanes, a
long-serving administrator who also acted as treasurer, was awarded the OBE
in the June honours list.Most of his
requests to the Australian Board of Control were flatly refused but at least
he gained permission that the players' wives could meet them at the end of
the tour. Earlier the Board had refused Mrs Bradman permission to join her
husband in England
after the fifth Test.Jeanes also
gratified the tired players by
persuading the Board to decline an invitation to play four matches in Jamaica
on the way home.
H Jeanes, secretary of the Australian Cricket Board of Control, was appointed
manager on 22 September 1937. Dr Roly Pope again accompanied the touring side
as a general assistant, the last of his tours to England. The Board appointed Dr
Isaac Jones of London
as medical advisor who could arrange hospital treatment for injured players.
Don Bradman (South Australia), E A ‘Chappie’ Dwyer (New South Wales), W J Johnston (Victoria).
Not available:None known.
Tour Party Announced : 27 January
Not selected : Don Tallon. His non-selection for the touring party surprised
commentators. He was Bradman's preference but the other two selectors
considered that previous experience in English conditions was important
and out-voted Bradman. All three agreed that Oldfield was past his
Tallon's omission was overshadowed by the row over Clarrie
Grimmett, who had a superb record in South Africa in 1935-36 and had
topped the 1938-39 Sheffield Shield averages, showing he had lost none of his
skills.But Bradman lobbied for Frank Ward,
partly because Grimmett was a liability in the field.Another not picked was batsman Ross
Gregory, though there is a question over whether he was available.
Jack Badcock's place was in doubt and he needed a medical
confirmation in February, otherwise Keith Rigg of Victoria would have toured.
Time between selection and departure from Australia
(27 January - 21 March)
On 25 February 1938 the team went from Melbourne to Tasmania.
After two matches in Tasmania and one in Western Australia the team sailed
from Fremantle on 21 March on the 'Orontes'
via Colombo (30 March), Aden (5 April) and Suez (9 April). The Australians
would not play at the Gezira Club, Cairo.
Sailing on via Naples,
Villefranche and Gibraltar, the ship berthed at Southampton
at 1 pm on 20 April. The team then went by train to Waterloo Station.
Next day there was a practice session at Lord's
Ground and a presentation at Australia House but the first match did not take
place for another ten days. The team’s headquarters were the Victoria Hotel, near Trafalgar Square.
Time spent in England
(20 April - 24 September)
Don Bradman (captain),Stan McCabe (vice-captain),Ben
Sidney Barnes fractured his wrist as he fell when exercising on
the sea voyage; he kept his
injury secret until the tourists had passed Gibraltar,
for fear of being sent home. He was
unable to play until the end of June, after the second Test.On 23 April manager Jeanes asked the
Australian Board for an additional batsman as replacement for Barnes (which
would have been Gregory, Rigg or Lee). This was refused because Barnes was
not regarded as a key member of the Test side. (Bill O’Reilly wrote the
opposite in the Sydney Morning Herald
5 February 1948, that the Board wanted to replace Barnes with another player
but the ‘executive’ of Bradman, McCabe and Jeanes stuck with Barnes).
Barnes was saved from being sent home by a clause the Australian
Board had inserted that under no circumstances could air transport be
used.He subsequently played from
mid-tour and scored 1000 runs.
The deputy 'keeper Charlie Walker broke a finger and was out for
six weeks. Barnes deputised for Ben Barnett in two county matches.
Arthur Chipperfield entered a Dundee
nursing home to recover from appendicitis and did not play again on the
tour.Don Bradman fractured his ankle
in the Oval Test and saw out the rest of the tour recuperating at the home of
Mr Harry Mallett, Australia’s
representative at the ICC in England,
prepared the draft programme for the tour
Won 386 r
Won 485 r
Won inns 126 r
Gezira Sports Club
Won inns 77 r
Won inns 487 r
Won inns 163 r
Won inns 425 r
M C C
Won inns 77 r
Won 10 w
Won 97 r
Won 282 r
Won inns 234 r
Won inns 93 r
Won 412 r
WON 5 w
Won inns 216 r
† Broughty Ferry, Dundee
Won 61 r
Won inns 279 r
Won 10 w
The Army (2-day)
Won inns 67 r
LOST inns 579 r
An England XI
Won 10 w
An England XI
HDG Leveson-Gower's XI
Lost 10 w
Gentlemen of Ireland(1-day)
Won 61 r
Gentlemen of Ireland(2-day)
Won inns 33 r
† not first-class
spent in England
before First Test:
(20 April - 10 June)
* In the
Lord’s Test, cameras broadcast a Test match for the first time.
•Bradman said of Stan McCabe's innings at Trent Bridge (232) ‘You will never see the like
•Following-on, Brown (133) and Bradman (144*)
stopped England in their
tracks and made the Trent
Bridge game safe.
•Bill Brown bettered this innings with 204
not out at Lord’s, becoming the fourth Australian to carry his bat through an
innings in England.
•On a wearing pitch at Headingley Bill O’Reilly
had figures of 5-66 and 5-56, while Fleetwood-Smith had 3-73 and 4-34.
Other first-class matches
Nine players (O'Reilly, Fleetwood-Smith, Chipperfield, Fingleton,
Walker, Ward, Hassett, Barnett, Waite) left on Saturday 24 September. They sailed
out of Tilbury on the 'Orontes'
On the following Tuesday 27 September, manager Bill Jeanes and vice-captain
McCabe and their wives left Victoria Station, London, on the boat train to
catch the 'Orontes' at Naples.On the Thursday Bradman and his wife left Victoria for Toulon
where they would catch the ship.
The team arrived back in Fremantle on 25 October, and Adelaide on 31 October.
Time away from Australia
(21 March to 25 October)
The Australian Board of Control received £36 000 as their share
of the tour profits
accounts of the tour
Cricket Souvenir 1938”(1938)from The Age and The Leader(David Syme
Cricket Tour 1938 – 19th Visit to England”(1938)edited byA.W. Simpson
“Cricket’s Dawn that Died”(1991)by Barry Valentine (Breedon Books, Derby)
Valentine’s is the only full
tour book.He explains that other
sources included Neville Cardus’s daily press reports, which were included in
“The Essential Neville Cardus”,and Jack Fingleton’s “Cricket Crisis”
It was the last exchange
between Australia and England made
before the Second World War because the proposed MCC visit in 1940-41 could
not take place. The Australian Cricket Board of Control also abandoned their plans
to tour New Zealand
towards the end of the 1939-40 season.
Valentine’s judgement on 1938 was
“The fact that a side with so little display of individual brilliance could
retain the Ashes against a rising England side … was a tribute to
Bradman’s inspiring and disciplined leadership” (Cricket’s Dawn That Died, 1991)