The Ashes 2019: Metal bats, 'bodyline' and broken arms - Ashes controversies that went down in infamy

We look at some of the Ashes' most infamous moments of controversy, featuring Dennis Lillee's odd new bat and the risk of serious injury.

From metal bats to serious injury, batsmen refusing to walk and whole teams leaving the field, England versus Australia for the right to a tiny urn has created some unforgettable moments of infamy in the past 137 years.   -  getty images

The Ashes is certainly no stranger to moments of controversy.

Pitting two giants of cricket against one another in an age-old rivalry is always likely to be a recipe for some... well, let us say 'tasty' encounters.

From metal bats to serious injury, batsmen refusing to walk and whole teams leaving the field, England versus Australia for the right to a tiny urn has created some unforgettable moments of infamy in the past 137 years.

Here are some of the most notorious flashpoints...

'Bodyline'

Perhaps the most infamous of all Ashes controversies took place in the 1932-33 series, where England captain Douglas Jardine resorted to rather prosaic means to combat the batting of Don Bradman.   -  getty images

 

Perhaps the most infamous of all Ashes controversies took place in the 1932-33 series, where England captain Douglas Jardine resorted to rather prosaic means to combat the batting of Don Bradman.

In the first Test, the tourist bowled straight for Australian torsos with short-pitched deliveries in a tactic that was described by local media as 'Bodyline'.

It was brutally effective - England won the series 4-1 - but not only was Jardine's plan considered far outside the spirit of the game, it left Bill Woodfull with a bruised chest and fractured Bert Oldfield's skull. New laws were introduced to stop it happening in such fashion again.

Lillee ready for ComBat

In 1979, in a tour where tensions were already high, Lillee emerged at the WACA with an aluminium bat.   -  getty images

 

Test cricket is steeped in tradition, arguably more so than most other global sports, so you can imagine how well received it was when somebody tried to play with a metal bat. Step forward, Dennis Lillee.

In 1979, in a tour where tensions were already high, Lillee emerged at the WACA with an aluminium bat. He faced four balls and plenty of bemused looks, particularly given the unearthly noise of the thing when he made contact.

Ian Botham complained to the umpire and Australia skipper Greg Chappell, apparently believing the bat to be a disadvantage, reportedly told Lillee to swap back to willow. A furious Lillee hurled the bat towards the boundary before agreeing.

Digging for (no) victory

The vandalism was a protest calling for the release of George Davis, a 34-year-old London minicab driver who had been sentenced in 1974 to 20 years in prison for armed robbery.   -  getty images

 

On the final day of the third Test at Headingley in 1975, Australia was all set to continue its chase for 445 and regain the Ashes.

As groundsman George Cawthray removed the covers that morning, however, he saw huge chunks had been dug out of the pitch, some of them filled in with oil. The match was duly abandoned.

The vandalism was a protest calling for the release of George Davis, a 34-year-old London minicab driver who had been sentenced in 1974 to 20 years in prison for armed robbery.

England walk off to escape Snow flurry

An acrimonious series reached boiling point in the seventh test in Sydney in 1970-71 - an extra match scheduled after a previous abandonment.

England bowler John Snow, who had upset Australia with bouncing balls in earlier Tests, caught Terry Jenner on the head with a fearsome delivery and home fans were not happy. One grappled with Snow on the pitch; others rained down cans and bottles in his direction.

Skipper Ray Illingworth had seen enough. He marched his side off, despite the risk of a forfeit, until the pitch was cleared of debris and order was restored. In the end, England returned and won the Test by 62 runs to take a 2-0 series win.

What's glove got to do with it?

James Anderson and Monty Panesar were hanging on in Cardiff in 2009 as England desperately tried to draw the first Test.   -  getty images

 

James Anderson and Monty Panesar were hanging on in Cardiff in 2009 as England desperately tried to draw the first Test.

With England effectively waiting for the clock to tick down, 12th man Bilal Shafayat was sent on with a new pair of gloves for Anderson. One over later, he brought on another. When England physio Steve McCaig appeared to offer some advice to the batsmen, the umpires stepped in.

"He changed [the gloves] the over before, I don't think they'd be too sweaty in one over," an incensed Australia captain Ricky Ponting said. "I'm not sure what the physio was doing out there. We came to play by the rules and the spirit of the game - it's up to them to do what they want to do."

England skipper Andrew Strauss insisted the whole affair was just a misunderstanding. It was a useful one - England got the draw and went on to win the series 2-1.

'Broad, walk! Umpire?!'

The ICC was encouraged to suspend Stuart Broad after he refused to walk from the stumps during the third day of the first Test in 2013.

Broad was given not out by umpire Aleem Dar despite blatantly edging Ashton Agar's delivery to Michael Clarke, and he chose not to depart the pitch amid some pretty intense fury from the Australians, most notably coach Darren Lehmann. The anger only increased after Broad helped England to a narrow win.

Although Broad was not compelled by the rules to accept his fate, it was considered by many to be against the spirit of the game. Indeed, West Indies wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin got a suspension for a similar offence just a month earlier.

Clarke threat takes sledging to new levels

Six years ago, one particular comment from Clarke caused a real stir: the stump microphone picked him up telling England star Anderson to "get ready for a broken f****** arm" as Australia chased victory in the first Test.   -  getty images

 

Sledging - for the uninitiated, that's trying to put off the opposition through insults - is a fairly common if discouraged practice in cricket, and no less so during the Ashes.

Six years ago, one particular comment from Clarke caused a real stir: the stump microphone picked him up telling England star Anderson to "get ready for a broken f****** arm" as Australia chased victory in the first Test.

Clarke was fined 20 per cent of his match fee and accepted his language was unwarranted, but he insisted he was right to stick up for team-mate George Bailey. Still, it provoked plenty of discussion and even forced former vice-captain David Warner to admit their sledging tactics had gone too far.