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Cricket Records: Len Hutton’s 364 in 1938

31st August 2016

Cricket records were smashed yesterday at Trent Bridge. England’s 444-3  against Pakistan.was the highest ever ODI team total. Alex Hales achieved his record-breaking ODI score of 171 at his home ground. Joss Buttler hit England’s fastest ODI 50 (off 22 balls). Although the game seemed to go all England’s way, Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir broke an impressive record too. He scored 58. As Pakistan’s no 11, his score was the highest for a no.11 in ODI history too.

England’s success yesterday reminded us of an earlier batting triumph, which also made cricket history.

The 5th Ashes game in 1938 took place at the Oval from 20-24 August. England needed to win the test match to draw the series – one match had already been abandoned. Len Hutton opened…and continued batting for 13 hours 20 minutes during 8 batting sessions. His score of 364 broke test match cricket records. In particular he surpassed the batting record of  Australia’s then captain and cricketing legend, Don Bradman. Bradman had scored 334 at Leeds in the 1930 Ashes.

Len Hutton's 364 in the 1938 Ashes, cricket, scorecard, batting, cricket records
Len Hutton’s 364 in the 1938 Ashes

Hutton’s record-breaking score took England to an unassailable win of 903-7. He mused on the experience in later years. He remembered how he had started to relax on the Monday afternoon, having batted for 8 hours or more. He lifted a ball over mid-on’s head. England’s captain, Wally Hammond immediately popped up on the pavilion balcony. He made it very clear that Hutton was to keep his head and his shots down. Hutton dutifully pressed on. By Monday evening Hutton had become understandably tired from his long stint at the crease. Leyland advised him to have a port and a pint of guinness to help him sleep. The teetotaller Hutton did as suggested. He later reckoned he would have needed 5 or 6 pints to knock him out that night.  He was haunted by the face of fiercesome, Australian bowler, Bill O’ Reilly, who he knew he’d have to face the next day. O’Reilly was an aggressive bowler, who ran in as if he’d like to eat batsmen for breakfast.

O’Reilly did indeed bowl Hutton on the Tuesday…but not before Hutton had destroyed all previous cricket records by scoring 364.  In the meantime no.s 5 & 6, Eddie Paynter and Denis Compton had spent nearly two days padded up in the pavilion, waiting to go on. Eddie Paynter bet Compton £1.00 that they wouldn’t score more than 10 between them.  Paynter was out for a duck. Compton was bowled for 1. The fall of that wicket was particularly galling to Compton. He was bowled by Australia’s Mervyn Waite…and that was Waite’s only wicket in his whole Test career!