SAM Loxton, the Australian all-rounder whose bludgeoning first innings at Headingley in 1948 helped defeat England in a match they should have won in Don Bradman’s celebrated last tour, has died aged 90.
He was Australia’s oldest Test cricketer and one of the last surviving members of the side which became known as the Invincibles, after being unbeaten on the tour. Neil Harvey and Arthur Morris are now the only survivors as what is regarded as one of the greatest cricket teams of all time.
Loxton was a middle-order batsman who had a talent for bowling, and when he went into bat in Australia’s first innings they were 189 for four. England had made 496 although at one stage they were 423 for two, Loxton having taken three for 55.
Bradman had made only 33 and the tourists appeared to be in trouble when Loxton joined Harvey at the wicket and proceeded to thump 93 runs, including an amazing five sixes and eight fours, changing the entire course of the match.
But England assisted in their own downfall by playing badly on the fifth day. Having set the tourists to get 404 in 344 minutes in their second innings on a pitch taking spin, the Australians won with the loss of only three wickets.
Loxton was a very competitive cricketer who was also one of the finest fielders of his time, but he made only one century in a career of 12 Test matches between 1948 and 1951.
He announced his arrival in first class cricket in 1946 by scoring 232 not out, against Queensland, which remains a record for any Australian player on debut.
He also played Australian football for St Kilda in the Victoria State Football League, with another of the Invincibles, Keith Miller.
He was born Samuel John Everett Loxton in Melbourne, and educated at Armadale State School and Wesley College. In the Second World War he served with a tank unit in the 2nd Australia Armoured Division.
When his playing career ended, he became a cricket administrator before going into politics and spending 24 years as a Liberal in Victoria’s Legislative Assembly.
Loxton is survived by his son, Peter.