In 1932, England’s cricket team, led by the haughty Douglas Jardine, had the fastest bowler in the world: Harold Larwood. Australia boasted the most prolific batsman the game had ever seen: the young Don Bradman. He had to be stopped. The leg-side bouncer onslaught inflicted by Larwood and Bill Voce, with a ring of fieldsmen waiting for catches, caused an outrage that reverberated to the back of the stands and into the highest levels of government. Bodyline, as this infamous technique came to be known, was repugnant to the majority of cricket-lovers. It was also potentially lethal – one bowl fracturing the skull of Australian wicketkeeper Bert Oldfield – and the technique was outlawed in 1934.
After the death of Don Bradman in 2001, one of the most controversial events in cricketing history – the Bodyline technique - finally slid out of living memory. Over seventy years on, the 1932-33 Ashes series remains the most notorious in the history of Test cricket between Australia and England.
David Frith’s gripping narrative has been acclaimed as the definitive book on the whole saga: superbly researched and replete with anecdotes, Bodyline Autopsy is a masterly anatomy of one of the most remarkable sporting scandals.