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Alan Ross (1922-2001) – distinguished poet, travel writer, and editor of London Magazine – also managed to excel in the role of cricket correspondent for the Observer, in which capacity he followed England/MCC on tours of Australia, South Africa and the West Indies. In the book-length accounts he published of these tours, his lifelong love of the game found glorious expression.
Australia 63 offers Ross’s account of an Ashes series that pitted the England XI led by Ted Dexter against Richie Benaud’s host side. On paper England had talent to spare, including the recall to the team of ordained minister David Sheppard, and the renowned bowling attack of Fred Trueman and Brian Statham. But Benaud’s Australian side had strength in depth too. Both captains were expressly committed to playing entertaining cricket. The reality, however, did not quite live up to the billing.
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