Len Hutton was not quite 18 when he made his debut for Yorkshire and quickly established himself at the top of the batting order.
He made his Test debut for England just three days after his 21st birthday (when he had shared an opening stand of 315 with Herbert Sutcliffe at Hull) and at the age of 22 broke the world record with a massive innings of 364 against Australia at the Oval. Like many of his generation, Hutton lost some of his best years to the Second World War and when he returned to the game it was with a slightly shortened left forearm following a bad break during training. Serious as the injury was, it did not prevent Hutton from cementing his place as one of the all-time great English batsmen. In 1952 he was appointed as England captain, the first professional cricketer to take on the role, leading his country to a first Ashes victory in 20 years in 1953 and a successful defence in Australia in 1954/55.
The match got off to a bad start for England’s captain, Len Hutton; Australia made a competitive 346 and Hutton dropped three chances. But he quickly made amends with the bat, a partnership of 168 with Tom Graveney taking England to 177 for 1 by the close of day two. Graveney fell quickly on the third morning, but Compton joined his captain to add another 102 before Hutton finally fell to Bill Johnston after almost 5 ½ hours. For over after over Hutton and Compton had defied Australia’s great fast bowlers Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller in what Wisden called ‘one of the highlights of the season’.
Sir Leonard Hutton (1916-1990)
79 Tests for England averaging 56.67 with the bat
Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1938