Bruce Mitchell (cricketer)

Bruce Mitchell (cricketer)

Infobox Historic Cricketer

nationality = South African
country = South Africa
country abbrev = RSA
name = Bruce Mitchell
picture = Cricket_no_pic.pngbatting style = Right-hand bat
bowling style = Legbreak
tests = 42
test runs = 3471
test bat avg = 48.88
test 100s/50s = 8/21
test top score = 189*
test balls = 2519
test wickets = 27
test bowl avg = 51.11
test 5s = 1
test 10s = 0
test best bowling = 5/87
test catches/stumpings = 56/-
FCs = 173
FC runs = 11395
FC bat avg = 45.39
FC 100s/50s = 30/55
FC top score = 195
FC balls = 12360
FC wickets = 249
FC bowl avg = 25.63
FC 5s = 15
FC 10s = 2
FC best bowling = 6/33
FC catches/stumpings = 228/-
debut date = 15 June
debut year = 1929
last date = 5 March
last year = 1949
source = Cricinfo

Bruce Mitchell (8 January 1909 in Johannesburg, Transvaal1 July 1995 in Abbotsford, South Africa) was a South African cricketer who played in 42 Tests from 1929 to 1949. He was a right handed opening batsman and played in every Test South Africa played in that period.

By the end of his career he had 3471 Test runs to his name which at the time was a national record. With his eight centuries he finished just behind Dudley Nourse who made 9.

Early First Class Career

Mitchell made his first-class debut for Transvaal, against Border, at the age of 17. He took 11 wickets with his legbreaks and googlies. It was only later in the following season that he started to develp his batting. In 1927-28 the MCC tourned South Africa and Mitchell, batting at 3, struck 40 runs. He showcased his allround abilities against Natal in the 1928-29 trial matches and later in a game against Griqualand West he showed his fighting spirit by rescuing his side after the top six batsmen scored no more than 11 runs between them. His maiden first-class century came in England, against the a successful Yorkshire side at Sheffield. For most of the games in the rest of the tour he opened the batting and it would be a position that he would stay in for most of his career.

Test Cricket

His Test debut came against England on June 15 1929 at Edgbaston. In both innings he produced a hundred run opening stand with Robert Catterall and finished the game with 88 and 61 not out. The rest of the series was disappointing and he ended the Test tour with 251 runs at 31.37.

In 1930-31 the he was to meet England of his own shores and in the 1st Test he made a second innings 72 in a low scoring encounter which South Africa went on to win. He was back as opener in the 2nd Test at Newlands and he scored a national record opening stand of 260 with Jack Siedle for which Mitchell contributed 123. He scored a further three half centuries in the remaining three Test to finish with 455 runs at 50.55.

In the summer of 1931-32 he toured Australia and New Zealand but was ill for most of the tour, finishing with 1048 runs at 34.93. His best performances were 75 and 95 at Adelaide and 58 at Brisbane.

His form was better in New Zealand, after a century against Auckland he scored 113 in the 1st Test, at Christchurch.

The South Africans tourned the UK in 1935 and Mitchell finished second in the averages with 1451 runs at 45.34 despite missing 8 matches at the start of the tour. In addition he also took 35 wickets at 19.02 which allowed him to top the bowling averages. In the Tests he scored 488 runs at 69.71 which included centuries at Lord's and The Oval. His innings of 164 not out at Lord's was made in the second innings and helped his side to their first ever win against England in England. Another highlight of the tour was his highest ever first class score of 195 which he made against Surrey at the Oval. This included and opening stand of 330 with Eric Rowan which was the highest ever partnership by a South African pair in England.

The Australians visited South Africa in 1935-36 and in his 7 matches he only once passed 50. He bowling however was more successful, in the 2nd Test he took 4 for 5, 3 of those wickets in the same over. In the 5th Test at Kingsmead he took 5 for 87 which by the end of his Test career was his only 5 wicket haul.

Before the war interrupted his career he played a series against England where he finished with 466 at 58.25, including a century in a losing cause at Kingsmead.

He went on to serve with the Transvaal Scottish Regiment in East Africa and on return in 1945-46 he scored 426 runs at 47.33 in the domestic season. Against Griqualand West he and Alan Melville made a new South African seventh-wicket record of 299.

Mitchell returned to the UK in 1947 and went one better than his last tour there by topping the first-class average with 2014 runs at 61.03. His effort included 8 centuries. He finished second in the Test averages with 597 runs at 66.33. The aggregate however was the highest by a South African on tour. In the final Test, at the Oval, he wrote his name in the record books by becoming the second South African to score two centuries in a Test. He batted over 13 hours for his innings of 120 and 189 not out, the latter finished as his highest Test score.

It was then England's turn to tour South Africa and with an innings of 120 at Newlands in the 3rd Test he equaled Herbie Taylor's record of 7 Test centuries against England. In the final Test he made 99 and 56 at Port Elizabeth. This turned out to be his last Test match for South Africa as he finished his Test career the way he started it with a pair of 50's.

External links

* [ Cricinfo profile]

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