Trivia - batting August 26, 2008

Sir Donald Bradman - a fresh analytical look

I am not sure whether I would jump with joy if someone, as reported recently, conclusively proved that Don Bradman scored those elusive four runs, by mistake credited to Jack Ryder, during 1929

1. Best ever batting performance in a test

During 2001, Wisden came out with a list of the 100 best Test innings of all time. Don Bradman's 270 played in Melbourne in 1937 was adjudged the best ever test innings. This was closely followed by Brian Lara's match-winning 153* and Graham Gooch's 154*.

Playing on a gluepot, Bradman declared at 200 for 9 and Gubby Allen countered by declaring at 76 for 9. The wicket was still very difficult and Bradman sent his tailenders in. Soon they were 97 for 5. Then Bradman and Jack Fingleton added 346 for the sixth wicket, . Bradman continued on and was ninth out at 270. England fought gamely but lost by a big margin. A tactical battle was won by Bradman, the captain and he led from the front. A potted summary of the match is given below.

Test # 257. Australia vs England.
Played on 1,2,4,5,6,7 January 1937
at Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Australia won by 365 runs.
Australia: 200 for 9 wkt(s)
England: 76 for 9 wkt(s)
Australia: 564 all out (Bradman 270, Fingleton 136)
England: 323 all out

2. The best 10-innings stretch

Bradman's best 10-innings stretch was during 1937-46, when he scored 1236 runs at an average of 154.50

The scores were 212, 169, 51, 144*, 18, 102*, 103, 16, 187 and 234.

Also relevant here is "Alex"'s comment, reproduced below.

Also, regarding the 'best 10-innings stretch'. Bradman scored 1370 runs in 10 innings during 1930 and 1931: 131, 254, 1, 334, 14, 232, 4, 25, 223, 152. There were no not-outs during this period however, so his average was 'only' 137.0.

3. The worst 10-innings stretch

Bradman's worst 10-innings stretch started during the second Bodyline test during 1932-33 and continued until 1934 when he scored 426 runs (in 11 innings) at an average of 38.72. He finished this streak with his monumental 304 at Headingley during 1934.

The scores were 8, 66, 76, 24, 48, 71, 29, 25, 36, 13 and 30.

4. Highest average reached (after 10 innings)

Bradman reached his highest career average of 112.29 after the Adelaide Test against South Africa, in which he scored 299*.

5. Lowest average reached (after 10 innings)

Bradman reached his lowest career average, after passing the initial period of 10 Tests, of 89.56 after the Old Trafford Test against England during 1934. Not surprisingly this was the end of his worst streak, referred to elsewhere in this article.

6. When the average of 100.00 was reached

Surprisingly Bradman did not have a great start to his career. He reached an average of 100.00 (agreed very few have ever touched this milestone) only after 15 innings.

7. Quality of opposition bowling

Surprisingly the bowling Bradman faced in his career was slightly below the all-time average, 29.62 against 29.50. However it must be noted that he faced this level of bowling almost all the time. The all-time average arrived consists of 40s and 20s scattered across the 1800-odd Test matches.

8. Runs scored in each batting position

Batting Position      3      4      5       6      7
Runs scored         5078    485    427     681    325
Batting Average    103.63  53.89  142.33  97.29  162.50
The No. 7 total is bolstered by that amazing innings of 270 referred to earlier in this article.

9. Analysis by batting position

Bradman's Batting Position Average is 3.65, indicating that he batted at No. 3 most of the time. For the record he batted at No. 3 a total of 56 times (70%).

10. Analysis of 100s

This is the one measure where he has yielded to a contemporary batsman. The average of the 29 hundreds Bradman has scored in Test cricket is a very high 185.97. Till a few weeks back, he was the No.1 batsman in this regard. Sehwag overtook this figure with his 319 in Chennai. However, Bradman's 100s frequency of 1.8 Tests per hundred is way ahead of any one else.

11. Home/Away runs scored

Not so surprisingly, considering his success in England, Bradman's away performance is superior to his Australian performances. He has scored 2674 runs away at an average of 102.85 while in Australia, he has scored 4322 runs at an average of 98.22.

12. How far ahead of the next

Just to show how far ahead Bradman is of the other batsmen, a relative scale table is shown below.

Measure          Bradman     %    Next Best    %     Difference

Batting Avge 99.96 100.0 68.38 68.47 31.53 (Hussey) Runs per test 134.53 100.0 99.54 74.00 26.00 (Headley) Tests per 100 1.79 100.0 2.20 81.00 19.00 (Headley) Inns per 100 2.76 100.0 4.00 69.00 31.00 (Headley)

13. Man of the Match awards

Hey what is this, no Man of the Match awards were given when Bradman played. True. So I have gone through the scorecards and using the Innings Rating points, determined which player could have got the MOM award, if these were given. Bradman would have got no less than 16 MOM awards in the 52 Tests he played, a frequency of 3.25 tests per award. Compare this with the current leaders. The best is a frequency of 6.00.

Kallis         123     20    6.15
Muralitharan   123     19    6.47
Wasim Akram    104     17    6.12
Shane Warne    145     17    8.52
Ambrose         84     14    6.00
14. Movement of averages

Finally a footnote. I am not sure whether I would jump with joy if someone, as reported recently, conclusively proved that Bradman scored those elusive four runs, by mistake credited to Jack Ryder, during 1929. The figure of 99.94 is etched into the memory of people and sounds far better than 100.00. It also confirms a nice human element to one perceived to be a super-human.

Anantha Narayanan has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket and worked with a number of companies on their cricket performance ratings-related systems

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on November 3, 2010, 14:40 GMT

    couple of points.

    In noting that the overall bowling average of the bowlers faced, you must consider that those guys had the misfortune to bowl to Bradman! - thus raising their averages, compared to other eras. I'm sure if Bradman were taken out of the equation, their figures would match those of other attacks.

    Neville Cardus tells a story of when he was sitting with Larwood in the press box during the 50/51 Ashes series. On a perfect Melbourne wicket, neither team passed 200 in any of the 4 innings. "You seem to be brooding on something, Harold?" he asked "Yes. Look at them getting out on this beautiful pitch" After another long silence, Larwood turned to Cardus and said, "You know Mr. Cardus, when I look back on my test career, I seem to have spent all my time bowling at Bradman" A cry from the heart, was Cardus' verdict.

    Regarding averages at home and away, minus bodyline, it probably evens out. He scored tons of runs against India and South Africa.

  • testli5504537 on September 8, 2008, 0:20 GMT

    In the past 120 years I would say that the only sportsmen that made their peers look like children alongside them are Wilt Chamberlain, WG Grace, Donald Bradman, Jesse Owens, Bob Hayes and Usain Bolt.

    Going just by statistics, I would rate Bradman at No.1 in the above list, with Wilt second. But if I look just at the first 5-6 years of Wilt's career when he played primarily as a points-scorer and not as a defensive player, I would put Wilt first and Bradman second.

    In my opinion Wilt's 50-point season in 1961-62 is the greatest performance in sports followed by the Don's average of 99.94

    In terms of towering over their sport as a whole I would put WG Grace first and Wilt second.

    Behind these six, I would place Bubka, Zelezny, Moses, Jehangir Khan, Wayne Gretzy, Jack Johnson, Joe Louis and Sam Langford in a second category and then all the rest like Woods, Jordan, Ali, Pele, SR Robinson and so on - remember the criteria - the sportsman that most towered over his peers

  • testli5504537 on September 4, 2008, 12:31 GMT

    Hi Ananth, I would like to decline the offer of exchanging email addresses with "Shawry." I'm not interested in continuing a dialogue RE: Mr Bradman and would prefer the integrity of my email to remain intact. Thanks. Next subject? [[ Thanks. At least now can we close this thread. ]]

  • testli5504537 on September 4, 2008, 8:13 GMT

    Shawry heres an idea write your own work instead of copying mine.Im flattered that you consider my quips worthy of imitation,not surprised, but flattered. The broken femur was something called an analogy. But since u asked 24 USA BBllers died from 1984-1998 10 from trauma to the skull. Fact:thats more than documented for cricket for the enitre 20Ct.I can also c that u r confused but I wont repeat myself re: the don, charles davis & stats. Read some previous posts for the full story & learn something.Deaths in sport are usually bad luck eg Cric deaths: Jasper Vinall 1624 & Henry Brand 1647: both struck by the batter & died!Folley was batting got hit in the eye but took the field & died later during an operation. A total of 3 docd deaths in Eng over 384 yrs. There are a couple of others 2: Abdul Aziz was struck in the chest by an offspinner & died en route to hospital (absent dead on scorecard) BTW Lamba was actually fielding when he was struck & died later. Hardly a case for lethality. [[ Somewhere there shouldn't the readers understand that they have gone way, way off from Sir Don Bradman. With your permission I could give you people the other's mail ids so that you could correspond with each other directly. ]]

  • testli5504537 on September 3, 2008, 9:51 GMT

    Tboy - I never said anyone died during bodyline. What I did say was "could die". That was the consequences of being struck - far more serious than anything Jordan faced (broken leg or a few stitches doesn't cut it - sorry). As for cricket rules being changed to enhance scoring - that was after Bradman and still nobody comes close to him. Are you arguing for or against - I'm confused. There are indeed other athletes with amazing records - but, at the risk of repeating myself, not so good that they are as far clear of their peers than Bradman was, and is. If there are, name them. None you so far indicate come close. BTW: Ian Folley & Raman Lamba both died as the direct result of being struck by a cricket ball. No exaggeration there. Here's an idea - back up whatever you "could easily claim" with facts.

  • testli5504537 on September 2, 2008, 8:02 GMT

    Shawry yes they r 2 diff sports mate. Did u even read the earlier posts on this forum? For the final time I engaged in a post by someone comparing sports & stated at that time it was bloody impossible but I would engage in it. 2nd, dont exagerate, no one was killed in Bodyline even after being hit in the head. Yes a cricket ball to the head hurts but so does being tackled four feet off the ground by 2 7ft 280 pound men. I could easily claim this is more dangerous for compound fractures of the femur & lead to death. Incidently Isaih Thomas once got 62 stitches on the head from a well placed deliberate elbow. Thats more stitches than any cricket ball has ever caused in a single blow. As I pointed out once before Wilt Chamberlain avg 44 points per game for his first 4 yrs & dominated the NBA to the extent that the rules were changed to stop him. It did. Cricket rules changed to enhance scoring. Heres an idea : there are other athletes with amazing records too, check a few out mate.

  • testli5504537 on September 1, 2008, 14:41 GMT

    TBOy - 2 different sports mate. If Jordan makes a mistake, his game goes from 30 points to 28. Bradman's innings ends right there. Far less margin for error and far less forgiving. As for averaging less against Bodyline, when Jordan Rules means if you miss you could die, lets see how Michael reacts. That's what Bradman was up against even at relatively slower speed bowlers. The worst poor old Michael had to face meant a couple of towel-boys wiping the pristine floor so he didn't risk slipping over. Given stats againsrt those around him, he stands above his peers by a greater margin than any sportsman I've seen named, in any sport.

  • testli5504537 on August 30, 2008, 19:41 GMT

    @ Vidhya....That really is the most pointless arguement ive read in this entire post. Of course Lara and Viv's 1st class avg was less than their test avg. SO WAS BRADMAN'S!!!! Quite clearly the pressure and the importance of test cricket far outweighs any 1st class game, hence the great players avg more in test cricket. Ive read many times how Ambrose would run in faster playing for the Windies than he did for Northants. If we could transport Lara, Tendulkar, Richards etc back to the 20's,30's or 40's they WOULD face lesser bowlers than today but they would still play the game as TEST cricket with the intensity and importance they did in their own time. They would definately avg more than mid fifties, how much more? we will never know!

  • testli5504537 on August 30, 2008, 4:02 GMT

    Making large scores consistently is a ability that is distinct from pure batting talent. You think that given worse bowling Richards and Lara would average in the 80s or 90s, don't you ? Like in the ordinary first class matches that they play other than the Tests ? In fact, Richards' first class batting average is 49.40 and 51.88. Both below their Test averages.

  • testli5504537 on August 29, 2008, 16:43 GMT

    I agree with you Alex (29/8 blog) that his average was far above his fellow players and this probably does makes him the best batsman ever. However, on this particular subject, I always like to make the point about the West Indian attack etc because I am not sure some people take those facts into account. If I was to say someone was the greatest batsman ever, part of me thinks that by making this statement, I am saying they would be the best player in any era they played in. We can only speculate if DGB would have been the greatets if he played in the last 30-40 years compared to the 1930's and 1940's. Given his vast average anyway, I am sure he would have still been head and shoulders above most. I also think it would be intersting to imagine how high Lara and Richards' average might have been if they played in Bradman's era (when I believe the quailty of bowling was not as good then) given the fact that they averaged around 50 in a much more tougher era of cricket.

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