Sir Donald Bradman created many records but one will go down in trivia history: What was his career batting average?
Sir Donald Bradman created many records but one will go down in trivia history: What was his career batting average? Bill North

'The Don' is born and cricket will never be the same again

HE WAS the finest cricketer to some, to others he was a knight with a bat instead of a sword, but to most Australians he was simply 'The Don'.

Australian Sir Donald Bradman - widely acknowledged as the greatest batsman of all time - was born on this day in 1908.

Bradman was born at Cootamundra, New South Wales, but grew up in Bowral, where his game of playing with a cricket stump and golf ball in the backyard became legend of Australian sport lore.

He scored his first century at the age of 12, made 320 not out in bush cricket and was selected to play grade cricket in Sydney at the age of 18, scoring 110 on debut.

And this was wedged between a two-year hiatus when he decided to play tennis!

Bradman made his first-class debut - another century - at the age of 19 and was given his baggy green in his first Ashes series. It was a debut to forget. Bradman scored just 18 and 1 as Australia lost by 675 runs - a record that still stands today.

But his star was on the rise and in the Third Test of the series he scored his maiden Test ton.

In the 1930 tour of England, Bradman stole the limelight, scoring multiple centuries, including his favoured 254 at Lord's and the then record-making 334 at Headingley. Australia regained the Ashes and Bradman returned a hero. A Legend was born.

However, fame did not sit well with Bradman, and he treated the media with a cool demeanour while his popularity strained relationships with several teammates.

But that did not stop the runs in the middle. Though the controversial 'Bodyline' series did slow him down, with England's plans to attack the Australian batsmen's bodies thought to have been attributed to Bradman's dazzling displays.

Bradman survived a close shave with death, bickering within in his team and World War 2. But it was his body that was beginning to slow his great ability.

But then came 'The Invincibles' - a 4-0 sweep of England - and his eventual retirement with a career average that has become the norm in any trivia contest around the country: 99.94.

After his playing days, Bradman entered the administrative sphere, and was known for his hard-nosed tactics on many issues, including the World Series of Cricket.

Bradman was hospitalised with pneumonia in 2000, returned home in the New Year and died on February 25, 2001. He was 92.


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