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England's Ashes Bodyline Tour Ended 80 Years Ago Today (PICTURES)

28/02/2013 09:24 GMT

Indisputably cricket's greatest rivalry, the 1932-33 Ashes Test series Down Under is famed for England, captained by Douglas Jardine, recapturing the urn thanks to the birth of bodyline bowling.

A technique which now prompts the odd ripple of applause at a bowler's aggression, in the 1930s it was considered threatening and ungentlemanly. For the uninitiated, the delivery was one where the cricket ball was pitched short so as to rise towards the body of the batsman, in the hope of creating a ricochet off the bat so that a fielder could catch them out.

England specifically used the technique to combat the extraordinary talent that was Don Bradman. When Australia toured England in 1930, he scored a ridiculous 974 runs at a batting average of 139.14 as the Aussies won the series 2-1. Supposedly, when Jardine later saw film footage of Bradman looking uncomfortable on the Oval's wicket after rain had fallen, he hollered, "I've got it! He's yellow!"

bodyline tour

Hampden Love misses a chance to stump Edward Paynter as bowler Bill O'Reilly expresses his disgust

Jardine's personal antipathy with Australians can be traced back to 1921 when his Oxford University team played against a touring Australian side. He finished the game 96 not out but certain press members criticised Australia for not allowing him to reach his century. Although Wisden says Jardine's slow approach prevented him from reaching three figures.

A member of England's 1928-29 Ashes success in Australia, Jardine hit three centuries but was jeered by the crowd for his gradual batting. The class distinction between Jardine and Aussies (one spectator asked "Where's the butler to carry the bat for you?") intensified the mutual loathing and Jardine fielding at the boundary, one of the most unforgivable roles for a cricketer at an Australian ground, didn't help. Mocked and abused, he spat towards the crowd on one occasion.

Eighty years on from when the Bodyline tour ended, he continues to stand out as an emblem of the Ashes' illustrious history, as well as the fractious Anglo-Australian sporting relationship.