Cricket Australia Items/news/2013/7/25/massies-masterclass

Massie's Masterclass

UPDATED 25 July, 2013 4:36PM AEST | by Cricket Australia 3

Bob Massie's name may not be as renowned as his Ashes team-mate Dennis Lillee, but the former Australian swing bowler has the fourth best Test match figures of all time after a record-breaking performance on debut.

The West Australian re-wrote cricket history to record the most Test wickets on debut when he took 16 wickets for 137 during the second Ashes Test match at Lord's, June 1972. Australia won the match on the back of Massie’s dominant bowling performance by eight wickets to level the series at 1-1.

QUICK SINGLE: Second Ashes Test, Lord's, June 22 - 25 1972 scorecard

Massie’s record stood for 16 years until 1988 when India's Narendra Hirwani matched the 16-wicket haul but just edged above Massie on the table taking 16 for 136.

His captain on that tour Ian Chappell says many people thought the stunning figures on debut were a fluke but that he considered Massie to be a very good swing bowler.  

"A guy on debut taking 16 wickets, we certainly weren't expecting that," Chappell told

"Bob was a very good bowler. He was a genuine swing bowler and he knew what was happening. He knew what made the ball swing and what he had to do."

Massie’s tactic of bowling around the wicket proved to be the undoing of England.

"I'd thought about it beforehand,” Massie told

“On the plane on the way over I had thought that I would use that tactic, especially against John Edrich if the ball was swinging, because he was a very good leaver of the ball outside off-stump and I thought by coming around the wicket, if it was moving and I bowled my in-swinger at his off-stump it would be difficult for him and so that was the main reason I came around the wicket.”

His national career, however, was short-lived and 199 days later he played his last ever Test match. 

QUICK SINGLE: Episode one 'Ball of the Century'

A tough tour to the West Indies included a dry and barren pitch that shredded the new ball after just a few overs. Massie was unable to swing the ball so attempted to adapt to the conditions, but the change to his style resulted in a loss of consistency in his natural action.

"When I came back I started to have technical problems and was dropped by WA and didn't play another match for Australia,” Massie explained, though he was philosophical about his curtailed cricketing career.

"I felt like I had got the best of myself and enjoyed every minute of it. The mateship, the good times. We played some good cricket and I had nothing to complain about because there were far better cricketers than me that had never played for Australia or toured England so I consider myself fortunate.”

QUICK SINGLE: Episode two 'Botham resurrects England'

Massie’s Masterclass is episode three of the 'Rivalry that unites Aus' video series.

The video series on features 13 famous Ashes moments from 1972 til 2010, highlighting the intense competition of sport’s oldest international rivalry.

First Posted 25 July, 2013 3:28PM AEST

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