The former Australia spin bowler, who was battling with cancer passed away at the age of 71 in Western Australia. Yardley, who was born in Midland, started his career as a medium pacer and occasionally bowled off-spin. However, it was at the age of around 27 when Bruce Yardley switched completely to off-spin. He snared the lone wicket of the opener, John Loxton, in that game.
Yardley had to wait nearly four more years for his next first-class game against Victoria. Initially, he found success hard to come by, evidenced by the fact that he had scored only 246 runs and picked up six scalps in his first 14 first-class games. Eventually, during the 1976-77 season, Yardley took his game to an elevated level, ending up with 19 wickets at a shade under 26. The highlight of his breakthrough season was the six-for he took against New South Wales at the SCG. He also cracked a vital hand of 97 in WA's second essay. Post-retirement, he became a commentator and coached Sri Lanka from 1996 to 1998, and was a staunch supporter of Muttiah Muralitharan's action.
"Bruce was a significant figure in Australian cricket, contributing in many ways on and off the field," Cricket Australia noted. "As a player, it took him more than ten years of persistence playing First-Class and Premier cricket to find the art of off-spin, earning him a Test debut at the age of 30.
"Bruce's bowling dominates his career highlights with 126 Test wickets, holding the mantle as Australia's most successful Test off-spinner before being surpassed by Nathan Lyon. He was also an excellent fielder and handy batter, holding the record for the quickest Test fifty for 38 years.
"Off the field, Bruce had an infectious personality and was regarded as one of the best spin-bowing coaches in the world, coaching Sri Lanka and mentoring the greatest Test wicket-taker of all time, Muttiah Muralitharan."