Compton and Edrich put on 370 against South Africa

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The first full post-war summer of cricket in 1946 was spoiled by wet weather.

There followed one of the most bitterly cold winters in living memory and great misery as the realities of post-war austerity and continued rationing hit home. Meanwhile in Australia, Wally Hammond’s England team were discovering that an eight-year interval had done nothing to improve their hopes of beating Don Bradman’s Australia. They endured a miserable Ashes tour, losing each of the first two Tests by an innings and surrendering the series 3-0.

But then came 1947, a summer when the sun shone constantly and Compton and Edrich seemed always to be batting together under cloudless skies at Lord’s. Compton hit 3816 first-class runs in beautiful style, including 18 centuries; Edrich hit 3539 runs including 12 hundreds. Their secret? “I was as fit as a flea, I did what came naturally and I enjoyed myself," Compton recalled. The 370 they put on against South Africa remains a record for any Test partnership at Lord’s. They did it in some style, striking 46 fours and one six in five and a half hours together at the crease. Edrich fell at last for 189 and Compton for 208. England were able to declare on 554 for 8 and while South Africa battled hard, their eventual defeat by ten wickets came inevitably. Compton and Edrich even managed to grab seven wickets between them.

That wasn’t the end of it for South Africa’s bowlers. Compton took them for four hundreds and two fifties in total that series, amassing 753 runs at 94; Edrich missed the fifth Test but still claimed two hundreds and two fifties in among 552 runs at 110. Together they helped England defeat South Africa 3-0 in the Tests and Middlesex to claim the County Championship. No English summer before or since has seen run scoring like it.