Lindsay Hassett With The Australian Cricket Team In England In 1948
Source: ], 12 December 2007
Lindsay Hassett was the vice-captain and one of three on-tour selectors for Don Bradman's famous Australian cricket team, which toured England in 1948. The Australians went undefeated in their 34 matches; this unprecedented feat by a Test side touring England earned them the sobriquet The Invincibles, and resulted in them being regarded as one of the greatest teams of all time. A right-handed batsman, Hassett played in all five Tests; he was a middle-order batsman in all but the Fourth Test, when he stood in as an opener due to an injury to Sid Barnes.
As the matches were often played consecutively without a day between fixtures, Australia employed a rotation policy, and as a result, Hassett captained the team in nine tour matches while Bradman was rested. Under Hassett's watch, Australia won seven matches, five of these by an innings, while both draws were rain-affected fixtures in which more than half the playing time was lost. Hassett had two close encounters, both on damp pitches before the First Test. Against Yorkshire, Australia scraped home by four wickets in a low-scoring match with ten men after Sam Loxton succumbed to injury. In a later match against Hampshire, Australia ceded a first innings lead for the first time on tour, but recovered to win by eight wickets.
Hassett ended the first-class matches with 1,563 runs at a batting average of 74.22 including seven centuries. Among the Australians, he had the third highest aggregate behind Bradman and Arthur Morris and the second highest average. His highest score was an unbeaten 200 against the Gentlemen of England. Hassett was less successful in the Tests, scoring 310 runs at 44.28 with one century. This placed him fourth in the Australian aggregates, but only seventh in the averages. His biggest contribution was his 137 in the first innings of the First Test at Trent Bridge. It was a patient innings as England attempted to stop Australia's scoring with defensive leg theory; Hassett helped the tourists set up a first innings lead of 344, which laid the foundation for the eventual victory. He had three scores between 35 and 50 during the Tests, but was unable to convert his starts into large innings. Hassett took 23 catches on the tour, the most by an Australia excluding wicket-keepers.
Hassett was named as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year for 1949. Wisden remarked that "in addition to his playing ability Hassett's cheerfulness and leadership, which extended to off-the-field relaxation as well as in the more exacting part of the programme, combined to make him an ideal vice-captain able to lift a considerable load off Bradman's busy shoulders".
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