An opener, Morris is regarded as one of Australia’s greatest left-handed batsmen. He is best known for his key role in Don Bradman’s Invincibles side, which made an undefeated tour of England in 1948.
He was the leading scorer in the Tests on the tour, with three centuries. His efforts in the Fourth Test at Headingley helped Australia to reach a world record victory target of 404 on the final day.
Morris was named in the Australian Cricket Board’s Team of the Century in 2000 and was inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame in 2001.
Morris’ first-class cricket career was interrupted by the Second World War, when domestic matches were cancelled at the end of the season.
On 5 January 1943, he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force, and served in the South West Pacific, mostly in New Guinea with the 8th Movement Control Group, part of the Royal Australian Corps of Transport.
During his time in the army, Morris spent more time playing rugby union than cricket. The coach of the Army and Combined Services rugby team, Johnny Wallace, regarded him as the “best five eighth in Australia”.
He remained a Private throughout his military service and was demobbed on 18 June 1946. Despite his eligibility, Morris was not selected for the Australian Services XI in 1945, something that baffled commentators, although he did play a one-off military match in 1943.
Morris started the 1947–48 Australian season strongly, scoring 162 in his second match as New South Wales crushed the touring Indians by an innings ahead of the Tests.
He played in the first four Tests, scoring 45 and an unbeaten 100 in the Third Test victory in Melbourne. In that match, he dropped down the order as Bradman used the tail-enders to protect the batsmen from a sticky wicket.
Morris then came in and combined with Bradman in a double century stand. The selectors wished to trial other possible choices for the 1948 tour of England, including Brown in the opening position, so wither Barnes or Morris had to sit out.
This was decided by a coin toss. Morris lost and did not play; he was given 10 pounds as compensation. Morris thus ended the series with 209 runs at an average of 52.25.
Australia won the final Test to seal the series 4–0, and Morris ended the season with 772 runs at 55.14. He scored four consecutive half-centuries for his state as they reclaimed the Sheffield Shield from Victoria.
For the first two Tests, Morris was paired with the recovered Brown, before the latter was replaced by Barnes.