During the good old days of Bradman and co, the Australian team was known just for its batting prowess and might. The incredible Australia batting lineup of the 1940’s, with skipper Bradman at the helm of affairs was a nightmare for the opposing lineup. Their batting alone was so authoritative that often their bowling, (mind you, the great Australian bowling) was ignored and not given its due credit. The Australians were rightly branded as the Invincibles back then.
During their tour to England in 1948, which was also Bradman’s last series, the Aussies constructed an unbelievable record. In all probability, this record will never be broken until the game lasts. The record was about scoring the maximum number of runs in a single day of cricket (First class).
The Invincibles, made a staggering total of 721 runs in just one day. To be precise, the runs were scored in six hours flat! The glorious day when this record was staged was the 15th of May 1948. The Australians were playing their usual warm up games, before the actual series against arch rivals England began. The Australians took on Essex at the Southchurch Park in Southend-on-sea.
In the five first class warm-ups before the game against Essex, the Invincibles had piled up on 350 or more on the first day on four occasions. In the game just before the Essex clash, the Invincibles mauled the rookie side of Cambridge and amassed 479-4 on the opening day against Surrey. Then came the clash against Essex, where all records were rewritten.
The Aussies batted first, and within the first 100 minutes (Back then, the day was measured in a time frame, rather than overs) scored 145 runs for the first wicket. The great Sir Don Bradman entered the arena to a standing ovation, with 16,000 spectators just saluting the great figure. Bradman, even at the age of 40 was simply flawless. Bradman played a fine knock of 187, and hit as many as 32 fours and one five. He scored at his career best rate of 90 runs an hour.
Wicketkeeper Ron Saggers and Sam Loxton notched up rapid tons to propel the visitors. Towards the latter stages of the day, the Essex bowling looked exhausted. Against the batting lineup in the history of cricket, even international teams struggled, but they were still club players. The Aussies were severe on every bowler.
In all, there were four centurions and in the 129 overs, the Invincibles amassed 721 runs, at 5.58 runs per over. It must be remembered that the Australians were all out! But not before rewriting history.