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Former Australia Test opener Colin McDonald dies aged 92

Former Australia Test opener Colin McDonald dies aged 92

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He was a reliable and gutsy presence at the top of the order for Australia through the 1950s

Colin McDonald, Australia’s lone resister during Jim Laker’s world record 19-wicket haul in the 1956 Old Trafford Ashes Test, has died at the age of 92.

In a lengthy and reliable stint at the top of the order for Australia for the best part of the 1950s and early 1960s, McDonald was a key part of the team in the era spanning the captaincies of Lindsay Hassett, Ian Johnson, Ian Craig and Richie Benaud, playing the last of his 47 Tests on the 1961 tour of England that saw the debut of his fellow Victorian opening batsman Bill Lawry.

Batting with a range of partners, McDonald was at his best during the 1955 West Indies tour and the 1958-59 Ashes series at home, the scenes of four out of his five Test hundreds and plenty of cut shots and leg-side deflections with a technique that was dominated by the bottom hand.

But McDonald’s most enduring efforts were arguably his run of scores in the Laker-led defeats of the Australians by both England and Surrey during the 1956 tour: scores of 89, 45, 32 and 89 out of team totals worth 259, 107, 84 and 205 represented high skill and no little determination against the turning, spitting ball.

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