The perfect fast-bowler’s combination of aggression and skill characterised Fred Trueman.
Genuinely fast in his youth, as his career progressed, he learned to rely on movement off the pitch and in the air, becoming the first bowler to take 300 Test wickets in 1964. ‘Fiery Fred’ played 12 of his 67 Test Matches at Lord’s taking 63 wickets at 22.12. He claimed five wickets in an innings five times, including one 10-wicket match haul. That performance came in 1963 during a thrilling drawn game against West Indies. Trueman took 6 for 100 and 5 for 52 as the game ended with England just six runs short of victory with the last pair at the crease. His other outstanding performances came against Australia in 1956 (5 for 90) and 1964 (5 for 48), and against Pakistan in 1962 (6 for 31).
His five wickets against Australia in 1964 made him the first bowler to claim a ‘five-for’ on three consecutive Test appearances at Lord’s. The match, sadly, was always destined for a draw after the first two days were lost to rain, but that didn’t stop Trueman running in with his usual determination from the very first ball. He started off by bowling opener Bill Lawry for just four, then returned in his second spell to remove Brian Booth and Bobby Simpson and leave Australia reeling at 88 for 6. He then made short work of the tail, bowling both Garth McKenzie and Graham Corling to finish with figures of 5 for 48 from 25 overs.
Later that summer, Trueman claimed his 300th Test wicket when he had Neil Hawke caught at slip by Colin Cowdrey. Asked whether anyone would ever pass his achievement, Trueman showed a fine appreciation of Yorkshire history in his reply: “whoever does will be bloody tired.” George Hirst had made the same remark after reaching 2,000 first-class runs and 200 wickets in the summer of 1906.