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Bradman, Donald George 1908-2001

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Born: 27 August 1908 [Cootamundra, New South Wales]

Died: 25 February 2001 [Adelaide, South Australia]

Cricketer, cricket administrator, businessperson

Bradman grew up in Cootamundra and Bowral, New South Wales, and first began playing cricket at high school. For a time he decided to concentrate on playing tennis, but made a successful return to cricket in the 1925/26 season; he played for Bowral and finished the season with 1318 runs at an average of 101.3 per innings. In December 1927 Bradman was included in the New South Wales cricket team and played his debut Sheffield Shield match for the state against South Australia in Adelaide, scoring 118 runs.

In the 1928/29 season Bradman was selected for the Australian team. He made his Test Debut against England in Brisbane, but did not score highly and Australia was beaten convincingly. By the end of the 1928/29 season, he has scored 1,690 runs in first-class cricket, at that time, the highest season aggregate recorded in Australian cricket. In 1930 Bradman was selected in the Australian team to tour England. On that tour he scored 334 against England at Headingley, breaking the record for highest Test score. This score included a remarkable 309 runs in one day.

The 1932/33 season included the infamous 'Bodyline' series between Australia and England in which English captain Douglas Jardine had his fast bowlers target the batsman's body and set a close, leg-side field. The batsman had little option but to give an easy catch or take a dangerous blow. Bradman felt that these tactics could ruin the game of cricket. While the 'Bodyline' tactics did curb Bradman's prolific run scoring to an extent, his batting average for the series of 56.57 was still higher than the full career Test average of any other Australian player in the history of the game.

In 1935 Bradman moved to Adelaide to commence employment with stockbroker Harry W Hodgetts and from the 1935/36 season he captained the South Australian side. In March 1936 Bradman scored 369 in a match against Tasmania, the highest score ever made at Adelaide Oval. In the following season Bradman was appointed as an Australian selector and as captain of the Australian side.

World War Two and physical problems including acute back spasms interrupted Bradman's playing career until the England tour of Australia in the 1946/47 season. On 15 November 1947, before the Test series began, Bradman scored his 100th first-class century, making 171 in a tour match against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground. No other Australian player has achieved this feat. In 1948 Bradman made his final tour of England with the Australian team. The Australians did not lose a match throughout the tour and this team was immortalised as 'The Invincibles'. In August, Bradman played in his final Test match, at The Oval. He was dismissed by Eric Hollies for 0 from the second ball he faced. His Test career had spanned 20 years and 52 matches in which he scored 6996 runs at an average of 99.94.

In March 1949 Bradman played in his last first-class match, South Australia vs Victoria at Adelaide Oval, a Testimonial match for Arthur Richardson. His first-class career statistics list 234 matches, 338 innings and 28,067 runs, with a highest score of 452 not out, an average of 95.14 and a total of 117 centuries including one 400, five triple centuries and 31 double centuries.

After retiring from playing, Bradman continued his association with the game with a career as cricket administrator serving as South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) Vice President, Chairman of the Australian Cricket Board (twice) and President of SACA as well as being a selector for both Australia and South Australia.

Stands at the Sydney Cricket Ground and the Adelaide Oval are named after Bradman. The Bradman Collection opened at the State Library of South Australia in January 1998. Burbridge Road in Adelaide was re-named Sir Donald Bradman Drive on 1 January 2001 and on 25 February 2002 a statue of Bradman was unveiled outside Adelaide Oval.

Key achievements

December 1927: Played debut Sheffield Shield match for New South Wales (NSW)

November 1928: Made Test cricket debut for Australia

January 1930: Made 452 not out for NSW against Queensland; the highest score in first-class cricket until 1958

July 1930: Scored 334 against England at Headingley, breaking the record for highest Test score; score included 309 runs in one day

1931: International cricket almanac Wisden named Bradman one of its 'Cricketers of the year'

1938-1965: Member of South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) Cricket Committee

June 1940-June 1941: Served in the Royal Australian Air Force and Australian Imperial Forces

1944-1986: Member of SACA Ground and Finance Committee

1948: Australian team toured England; the Australians did not lose a match throughout the tour and were immortalised as 'The Invincibles'

1945-1980: Member of Australian Cricket Board (ACB)

September 1947: Elected as a life member of the SACA

15 November 1947: Scored his 100th first-class century, making 171 in a tour match against India at the SCG

1949: Made Knight Bachelor

1950: Appointed SACA Vice President; holds the position until 1965

1957-1986: Trustee of the SACA

1958: Appointed an Honorary Life Member of the Marylebone Cricket Club, cricket's 'spiritual home'

1960-63: Chairman of the ACB

1965: Appointed President of the SACA

1969-72: Chairman of ACB for the second time

June 1979. Made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC)

2000: Named by Wisden as one of the five 'Cricketers of the Century'

Did you know?

Don Bradman was a keen musician. On the 1930 tour to England he recorded several solo piano pieces at the Columbia Record Studios. Later that same year, a song written for piano by Don Bradman called 'Every Day is a Rainbow Day for Me' had its premiere performance at the Grand Opera House in the presence of the touring West Indian team.

Further reading

The Bradman albums : selections from Sir Donald Bradman's official collection, Sydney : Rigby, 1987

Bradman, Donald. The art of cricket, London : Hodder & Stoughton, 1958

Bradman, Donald. Farewell to cricket, London : Hodder & Stoughton, 1950

Eason, Alan. The A-Z of Bradman, Austral, N.S.W. : Alan Eason, 2002

Derriman, Philip, ed. Our Don Bradman, Sydney : ABC Books, 2001

Page, Michael F. Bradman, the illustrated biography, South Melbourne : Macmillan, 1983

Williams, Charles. Bradman : an Australian hero, London : Little, Brown, 1996


Bradman Digital Library [State Library of South Australia]

Bradman Museum Bowral, New South Wales

Bradman Trail

Cric Info: See: Players: 'B' for Bradman

Culture and Recreation Portal [Australian Government]

National Library of Australia: National Treasures from Australia's Great Libraries: See: National Obsessions: Don Bradman

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