Shot Stories

Whistlin' past the ear

In 1975-76 against West Indies, Jeff Thomson was struggling to live up to his fearsome reputation. But on Boxing Day he let rip





  • POSTED BY Rod on | August 1, 2016, 12:06 GMT

    Great memories of that day from high up in the old Northern (Olympic) Stand. But I also remember in the 6th Test back at the MCG Thommo bowling to Len Baichan and breaking off the top third of one of his stumps! Sadly that was also the end of Len's Test career having scored one century in the first of his three Tests.

  • POSTED BY agha on | August 1, 2016, 12:04 GMT

    Australian fast bowlers overstepped short pitched bowling to hurt and intimidate opposition and bad umpiring was the main reason of W indies 1-5 defeat.

  • POSTED BY GV on | August 1, 2016, 3:49 GMT

    Lovely photo...I don't think it seemed that the WI were inexperienced, going by the fact that in the previous test they had hammered the Aussies.

  • POSTED BY jaswant on | August 1, 2016, 2:00 GMT

    It was boxing day 1976,the WI batted first. Jeff Thompson and Dennis Lillee opened the bowling and were on fire, fast and hostile.The WI made a paltry score of 224, with Thomo taking 5 wickets and Lillee 4. Australia in their first innings scored a healthy 485 with Redpath and Cozier scoring hundreds. WI under a lot of pressure in the second innings succumbed for 312,with Clive LLoyd making a magnificent 100. Thompson took 1 wicket and Lillee 3 . Australia lost 2 wickets and won the test in 4 days.

  • POSTED BY Murray on | August 1, 2016, 0:02 GMT

    I was in the members stand that day. That ball was just incredible. It exploded off a length and left as well as rose. I couldn't believe Rowe (or anyone) could have been good enough to touch it !

  • POSTED BY Craig on | July 31, 2016, 22:11 GMT

    A great photo showing just how quick the ball flew off the edge from Thommo. @venkatb on, the front foot no ball law was introduced in 1963 so Thommo was bowling under current conditions. He'd have been lethal under the old back foot law.

  • POSTED BY Andrew Davies on | July 31, 2016, 21:58 GMT

    When VENKATB ON says "Except for Fredericks, Lloyd and Gibbs (who was fading away but included so that he could cross Trueman's record), the rest of the Windies side was inexperienced and were not expected to win" I beg to differ. Of the team that played at Melbourne in that series Lawrence Rowe had played 12 or so tests over the previous 3 years and even scored a triple hundred. Alvin Kallicharan had been playing for WI since 1971/2, Deryck Murray since 1963, Bernard Julien and Andy Roberts since 1973, Vanburn Holder since 1969. The only 'inexperienced' players were Greenidge and Richards. In the following Test Holder was indeed replaced by the raw Michael Holding but Greenidge was replaced by Keith Boyce who had made his debut in 1970/71. Call me old fashioned but this side looked pretty experienced to me. Indeed you can argue that they had more experience than Australia as that was Gary Cosier's debut, Alan Turner had done so earlier that season while McCosker the year before.

  • POSTED BY Richard on | July 31, 2016, 19:23 GMT

    When VENKATB ON says that Thomson "would have been reduced to a run of the mill bowler" had batsman of his era had all the protective gear they have today, I think he misses what most batsman said was the main problem in facing his bowling - his unusual slinging delivery left batsmen with less time to pick up the ball - there was also the unpredictability of where his deliveries would pitch.

    I'm intrigued by I M Chappell's comment "The ball also curved away from me at the last second." Did something like that happen with the seemingly simple chance that Bairstow dropped in the last test against Sri Lanka ? Replays showed that the ball hit his gloves a couple of inches low - apart from that he was in the correct position to take the catch.

  • POSTED BY Sid on | July 31, 2016, 13:30 GMT

    Love the Benson & Hedges billboard, those were the days. Cricket is almost unwatchable now.

  • POSTED BY B on | July 31, 2016, 13:10 GMT

    Except for Fredericks, Lloyd and Gibbs (who was fading away but included so that he could cross Trueman's record), the rest of the Windies side was inexperienced and were not expected to win, but the margin of defeat surprised many. Those were the days of the back foot rule, no restrictions on bouncers, and no helmets and other protection. Had Thommo been born a generation later, today's rules would have severely restricted his aggression. Add to that all the protective equipment today, he would have been reduced to a run of the mill bowler.

  • POSTED BY Aubline on | July 31, 2016, 8:09 GMT

    I remember that photo well, at the time it captured the pace of Thomson's bowling perfectly. It adorned the front of Bill Frindall's score book for the series, a treasured possession as a teenager. It's still a great picture. Not only were the West Indies batting without helmets but the sight screen wasn't the best either!

  • POSTED BY KRISHNA on | July 31, 2016, 3:06 GMT

    Prefer the normal text article please

  • POSTED BY Lakmal on | July 31, 2016, 2:43 GMT

    No helmets or body armor in those days... the thigh pads did not stop the hurt.

  • POSTED BY jaswant on | July 31, 2016, 2:39 GMT

    On that day in Melbourne Australia, Jeff Thompson was bowling at his best with express speed. WI were bowled out for a paltry 224 in the first innings, Thompson taking 5 wickets. Australia then made a mammoth 485, both Redpath and Cozier making hundreds. In the second innings,Clive Lloyd made a magnificent 102,but they were bowled out for 312 with Thompson taking one wicket. Australia lost two wickets in winning the test.

  • POSTED BY sabahat hussain on | July 30, 2016, 23:03 GMT

    I miss those days of fearsome fast bowling