Dennis Lillee's Aluminium Cricket Bat

The bat that caused a great deal of controversy when Dennis Lillee used it in a December 1979 Test match in Perth against England.

By Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Dennis Lillee's Aluminium Cricket Bat (1979) by Combats. Bradman Museum CollectionBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Dennis Lillee’s Aluminium Bat

Manufactured by a friend of Lillee’s, this hollow aluminium cricket bat was intended only as a cheap alternative for the developing aport of indoor cricket.

However, Lillee chose to use it in a Test match and at that time, the rules did not outlaw bats made of other materials.

The Aluminium Bat Combat

The 1970’s were a time of immense social changes in Australia, and cricket especially. The arrival of Kerry Packer’s controversial and unorthodox World Series Cricket indelibly transformed the game; from night matches to introduction of helmets. Changing the boundary lines of cricket (so to speak), in just about every way.

Perth, December 1979

Arriving at the crease on the second day of the first Test in the series against England, Australian fast bowler Dennis Lillee is batting on his home WACA ground. Lillee brought shockwaves amongst spectators and players alike when he appeared on the field with an unusual first in Test cricket history, an aluminium bat.

Lillee faced four deliveries with this bat and made an additional three runs to his overnight score.

Thereafter, England captain Mike Brearley complained to the umpires that the unorthodox ‘Combat’ by the metal bat was damaging the ball.

After a 15-minute delay, during which Lillee hurled the bat away in apparent disgust, the match eventually resumed with a conventional willow blade.

The national publicity generated around the incident promoted the aluminium bat’s presence in the market, but forced the Marylebone Cricket Club to introduce a new law for bats, stating that ‘The blade shall consist solely of wood’ – Law 6b (4).

Dennis Lillee objects (2019) by Bradman Museum CollectionBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

"You know I still hold the world record I think for the longest throw in a Test match with an aluminium bat, and I can assure you that will stand!" Dennis Lillee, interview with Bradman Museum. 21 October 2009.

Credits: Story

Bradman Museum © 2019

Objects:
Dennis Lillee signed Combat Bat: Donation Ross Barrat.
WSC signed Jersey: Loan, Dennis Lillee.
Dennis Lillee portrait: Viv Jenkins Collection, Bradman Museum.

Image:
Combat bat: Google Art Cam 2018.
Dennis Lillee collection: Monica Donoso for Bradman Museum, 2019.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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