‘Caught Marsh, bowled Lillee’ became a very familiar scoreboard entry during the 1970s and early 1980s. It appeared 95 times in Test matches, which is a partnership record between wicket-keeper and bowler that is yet to be broken. Dennis Lillee and his Western Australian teammate Rod Marsh continued their State success in the international arena that would cement the two in Australian cricketing folklore.
Wisden stated, “Few partnerships between bowler and wicket-keeper have had so profound an impact on the game.”
Dennis began his career as a tearaway fast bowler but back injuries fired him to remodel his bowling action and he returned more accurate and dependable, ending his career as the leading Test wicket-taker, taking the 355th off his final ball against Pakistan in Sydney in January 1984. Coincidentally, rod ended his career with a world record 355 Test dismissals – 343 catches and 12 stumpings.
Rod raised the role of wicket-keeper with his acrobatic diving and raucous appeals. he once commented on his understanding with Dennis: “I’ve played with him so much now that most of the time I know what he is going to do before he has bowled.”
In the 1974-75 Ashes series he and fellow quick Jeff Thomson formed on elf the most potent opening bowling combinations in Test cricket to steer Australia to an emphatic 4-1 victory. “Ashes to Ashes, dust to dust, if Thomson don’t get ya, Lillie must,” was the caption The Sunday Telegraph used. Even though he had cut his pace and length of run up , relying more on seam movement, Dennis bowling was still timed at 154.8km/h
The both signed a limited edition run of 10 prints of my caricatures for charity.