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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Australia to celebrate 1958-59 Ashes winners

Australia to celebrate 1958-59 Ashes winners

January 02, 2009 10:47 IST

Australian cricket will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its 1958-59 Ashes success at a lunch on the opening day of the third and final Test against South Africa at the SCG in Sydney on Saturday.

The nine surviving members of the victorious 1958-59 team will be special guests of Cricket Australia, Cricket New South Wales and the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust 50 years after helping Australia to an unexpected 4-0 Ashes series victory.

The series win was an important moment in the history of Australian cricket because it marked the transition point into another successful era following the departures of Invincibles -- Lindsay Hassett, Arthur Morris, Bill Johnston and Keith Miller in the previous five years.

In Richie Benaud's first series as captain, Australia reversed three successive Ashes series defeats to reclaim the Urn for the first time since 1950-51.

The series featured the Test debut of Norman O'Neill, Ray Lindwall's Australian Test wicket-taking record and Benaud's inspirational leadership and bowling, but is also remembered for the 'throwing' controversies which had engulfed international cricket at the time.

"Australian cricket continues to recognise those players and teams who contributed so significantly to our game, and we're delighted to be able to bring the players from the 1958-59 team together," Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland said.

"The rich history, tradition and culture of Australia's national sport and its stories help keep the game alive in the nation's imagination.

"While Don Bradman's 1948 Invincibles remain Australia's most famous cricket team, Richie Benaud's 1958-59 team deserves to be celebrated for its important contribution to the success and growth of Australian cricket."

Players attending the SCG Lunch: Richie Benaud, Alan Davidson, Neil Harvey, Lindsay Kline, Colin McDonald, Ian Meckiff, Gordon Rorke, Bob Simpson, Keith Slater

1958-59 Ashes Series Highlights:

- Australia's first Ashes series victory since 1950-51

- Richie Benaud's first series as captain. He led the wicket takers with 31 at 18.83 (career best bowling in a series)

- Bowlers placed under intense scrutiny as world cricket wrestled with accusations of 'throwing'

- The series victory started a streak of 11 unbeaten series which ended when Australia lost the Frank Worrell Trophy in 1965 (away)

- After 1958-59, England was not able to win back the Ashes until 1970-71 in Australia  Norman O'Neill made his Test debut

- Ray Lindwall returned for the 4th Test and broke Clarrie Grimmett's Australian Test record of 216 wickets

- The opening Test was the first to be televised live to the home audience

Match Results

1st Test: Australia won by eight wickets
2nd Test: Australia won by eight wickets
3rd Test: Match drawn
4th Test: Australia won by 10 wickets
5th Test: Australia won by nine wickets

Series: Australia won series 4-0