Australian cricket in mourning after devastating triple tragedy

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Ashley Mallett, Peter Philpott and Alan Davidson, pictured here in action for Australia.
Ashley Mallett, Peter Philpott and Alan Davidson died within three days of each other. Image: Getty

The Australian cricket community is mourning the devastating deaths of three Test greats in the space of three days.

Leg-spinner Peter Philpott died on Sunday evening after an extended battle with illness at the age of 86.

Earlier on Sunday it was announced that fellow Test great Alan Davidson had died, while Ashley Mallett passed away on Friday.

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Philpott, who played eight Test matches for Australia, suffered complications from a fall.

He took 28 Test wickets at an average of 38.46, while also snaring 245 wickets at 30.31 and making 2889 runs at 31.36 in 76 first-class matches.

Philpott made his Test debut for Australia during the 1964-65 tour to the West Indies and made an immediate impact, taking 18 wickets in the series.

Peter Philpott, pictured here in action for Australia in 1963.
Peter Philpott in action for Australia in 1963. (Photo by Harry Brandon Martin/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).

He also made a memorable home debut, taking 5-90 in the first innings of the first Ashes Test in 1965.

Philpott also captained NSW for two seasons from 1963-64.

After retiring, Philpott became one of cricket's most respected coaches, sharing his knowledge during stints in charge of NSW, South Australia, Yorkshire, Surrey and Sri Lanka.

His death comes at a devastating time for Australian cricket as it also mourns the loss of former Test players Davidson and Mallett.

"As teacher and coach, Peter had the generosity and wisdom to share his knowledge across the globe and helped shape the careers of countless cricketers," Cricket Australia chairman Richard Freudenstein said.

"With the deaths of Peter Philpott, Alan Davidson and Ashley Mallett, this has been an extraordinarily sad few days for Australian cricket.

"We share our thoughts with all those across the world who are both mourning the loss and celebrating the lives of three men who had such an uplifting influence on the game of cricket."

Australian cricket reeling after triple tragedy

Davidson, a legendary all-rounder renowned for his potent ability to swing the ball both ways, died peacefully at age 92 on Saturday morning.

Mallett, a superb off-spinner and prolific author, died on Friday at age 76 after a long battle with cancer.

Davidson, who played 44 Tests in 1953-63, was widely regarded as the world's best left-arm fast bowler until the emergence of Pakistan icon Wasim Akram.

Nicknamed 'Claw' by fellow allrounder Keith Miller after a particularly sharp slips catch, Davidson routinely impressed teammates and fans with his batting, bowling and fielding.

Davidson's on-field skill was paired with a congeniality spirit and love of cricket that touched countless players, wth his connection to the sport continuing long beyond retirement.

Alan Davidson, pictured here presenting Steve Smith with the Frank Worrell trophy in 2016.
Alan Davidson presents Steve Smith with the Frank Worrell trophy in 2016. (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

He served as president of the NSW Cricket Association from 1970 to 2003, was a national selector for five years, Trustee of the SCG for 20 years, and generous mentor and benefactor to many.

"He probably gave me some of the best advice of my life," Usman Khawaja said.

"He said 'the most important thing about cricket is belief, just believe in yourself and don't worry about the rest'.

"It's something I'll always remember. It's very sad ... he was such a gentleman."

Steve Waugh noted Davidson was "one of the best" to don the baggy green and "an even better person".

"He was a regular in the change rooms during the tough times in the mid 80s, unfailing in his support of the team whilst many had given up," Waugh posted on Instagram.

Mallett played 38 Tests from his debut against England in 1968 and took 132 wickets at an average of 29.84, also finishing his Test career against England in 1980.

He is behind only Nathan Lyon (399 wickets) and Hugh Trumble (141) as Australia's most successful Test off-spinners.

Mallett's 8-59 against Pakistan in 1972 was the eighth-best bowling performance by an Australian in a Test innings.

with AAP

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