Alexander ('Alec') Bannerman


BANNERMAN, ALEXANDER CHALMERS, born in Sydney, March 21, 1859, died September 19. A member of the first Australian team in England in 1878, Alec Bannerman will be remembered as long as cricket is played. After his first trip he paid five other visits to England, coming over with the teams of 1880, 1882, 1884, 1888 and 1893. He had his most vivid experiences in England in connection with matches in which he did not personally meet with much success. He was not only on the side that in 1878 made the fame of Australian cricket for ever by beating the M.C.C. at Lord's in one afternoon, but he took part in the Test Match in this country at the Oval in 1880, and also in the unforgettable match on the same ground in 1882, when the Australians beat us by seven runs. Indeed, the catch--quite an easy one--by which he got rid of W. G. Grace in the last innings proved the turning-point of that tremendous struggle. Alec Bannerman among Australians was the most famous of all stone-walling batsmen; his patience was inexhaustible. It was said that the Sydney public had become tired of his super-caution when Lord Sheffield's eleven were out in Australia in 1891-92, and were inclined to barrack him, but that everyone spoke of him as Good old Alec, when he took seven hours and a half to score 91 in the match that gave the Australians the rubber against the Englishmen. In that innings of 91--spread over three days--he scored from only five of the 204 balls bowled to him by Attewell. Still, though such a slow run-getter, he made many big scores, and as a partner to great hitters like Percy McDonnell, Bonnor and J. J. Lyons he was invaluable. In Test Matches with England he scored 1,105 runs with an average of 23.03, and for New South Wales v. Victoria 1,209 runs with an average of 29.29. Apart from his batting he was a superb field at mid off--fast, sure, and untiring, and a wonderfully safe catch. When his active days as a player had ended he did excellent work as coach for the New South Wales Cricket Association. Alec Bannerman took his cricket very seriously. It was said of him, not ill-naturedly, that when in the match with England at the Oval in 1888 he was out to the finest of all the catches at cover slip ever brought off by George Lohmann, he talked about his bad luck, and of nothing else, for the rest of the afternoon.

© John Wisden & Co