1908 - 2001
"Theme from The Sullivans"
Born in Cootamundra on 27 August 1908, Don moved to Bowral with his family in 1911 where he played his first competitive game of cricket at the age of 12. In that first game he scored 115 not out and took 8 wickets.
Playing for the Bowral Cricket Club in 1925, he represented the Southern Zone in the 1927 NSW Country Cricket Week, after which he was asked to play for the St George Cricket Club in the Sydney Grade competition. He scored 110 in his first match, and he played for the Club until he moved to North Sydney in 1932. Within three months of his first match for St George he was selected to play for New South Wales against South Australia. In this match he scored 118 - the first of his 117 first-class centuries. Sir Don was selected to play for Australia in November 1928 - and so followed twenty amazing years where "The Don" would dominate the world of cricket.
Sir Donald became the greatest run-getter of all time, averaging a century in every three innings he played in first class cricket. His highest first class score was 452 not out for New South Wales against Queensland in 1930.
The 1930 tour of England was perhaps his greatest personal triumph, during which he scored 4 centuries in the series; 131 at Trent Bridge; 254 at Lord's; 334 at Headingley and 232 at The Oval.
For the 1932 English tour of Australia, English captain Douglas Jardine devised a method for containing Bradman and the Australian batsmen fashioned on "Leg Theory" bowling. This method was called "Bodyline" by the press and public of the day. Basically, the English fast bowlers aimed their balls at the outside edge - or line - of the batsmen body, causing them to either step out of the crease, and risk a run out, or to stand their ground and take the risk of being hit by the ball. Many times the batsmen were hit and seriously injured by this method. "Bodyline" bowling was later outlawed from the game.
In 1936 "The Don" was appointed captain of the Australian side. Under his leadership, the Australian team won all five series between 1936 and 1948. Don regarded the 1948 tour of England as his greatest team performance, however. The Australian team, known as The Invincibles, did not lose a match during the tour.
Sir Donald retired from Test cricket in 1948 with an incredible batting average of 99.94 from 52 Test matches. He scored 6,996 Test runs, with 29 centuries and a highest Test score of 334.
In 1949 "The Don" became the only Australian cricketer to be knighted. He continued to serve cricket as a selector and a member of the Australian Board of Control, including the position of Chairman for two terms. Don's contribution to cricket has been acknowledged with the development of the Bradman Foundation in his home town of Bowral.
In a retrospective of the twentieth century Sir Donald was selected as Australian Sportsman of the Century, Wisden Cricketer of the Century and named in the Top Ten of world sports figures of the century by the World Confederation of Sport. He was also only one of two Australians to be selected in the top 100 world figures of the twentieth century.
"The Don" in action
Further information on Donald Bradman, Australian Cricket and the "Bodyline" series can be found at the following sites :
- the Official Sir Donald Bradman Site
- Bradman the Legend
- The Bodyline Series
- Australian CricInfo