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Ian Chappell, Mark Taylor pay tribute to cricket icons

Two of Australia’s greatest-ever cricketers have paid tribute to Test greats Ashley Mallett and Alan Davidson, after the two icons died during a devastating 24-hour period.

Ashley Mallett lost a battle with cancer on Friday at 76, before Davidson departed at 92 just hours later.

Mallett was a brilliant off-spinner who took 132 wickets at 29.84 from 38 Tests between 1968 and 1980, while he was also renowned for being a phenomenal gully fielder.

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Davidson, a left-arm quick, took 186 wickets at the exceptional average of 20.53 from 44 Tests between 1953 and 1963, while he also averaged 24.59 with the bat and scored nine first-class centuries.

He then served as president of the NSW cricket association, now known as Cricket NSW, for 33 years, and an Australia selector for five years.

Former Australia captain Mark Taylor shared fond memories of Davidson on Sydney’s 9News.

“Just a lovely man,” Taylor said.

“Good fun to be around. Loved talking cricket. He’d run you through every delivery he bowled, every four he hit in his career.”

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Former Australia skipper Ian Chappell remembers Davidson as a sharp-minded competitor.

“He was a smart cricketer,” Chappell said.

“He had a pretty fair idea where you had problems (while batting) and he just hammered away at those problems.”

In one of Davidson’s finest performances on a cricket field, he made 80 runs on the final day of the 1960 tied Test against the West Indies at The Gabba, combining with captain Richie Benaud (52) as they led an incredible Australian rescue mission.

“Australia were dead and buried,” Chappell recalled.

“He and Richie Benaud revived the innings, had a terrific partnership.”

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It was in the same match that Davidson became the first man in history to score 100 runs and take 10 wickets in the same Test. He registered 44 and 80 with the bat and took 5-135 and 6-87 with the ball.

While Davidson played his final Test almost two years before Chappell made his debut, Chappell played with and captained Mallett.

The 75-Test icon gave a fascinating fact to put into perspective just how quality a bowler Mallett was.

“It took him 23 Tests to get 100 wickets – exactly the same as Shane Warne,” Chappell said.

“The better the batsman at the other end, the better he bowled.”

Tributes for Mallett and Davidson have also poured in on social media.

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