India tour of Sri Lanka, 4th ODI: Sri Lanka v India at Colombo (RPS), Aug 26, 2008
Match abandoned without a ball bowled
26 August 2008 - day/night match (50-over match)

5:59 pm: Game has been called off. It will be played tomorrow on the reserve day.

This is Sriram Veera, signing off. Join us tomorrow; hopefully weather will clear by then. It will be another day-and-night affair tomorrow. Hope you enjoyed the Don stories. I promise there won't be any more Bradman stuff tomorrow from me in case there is rain. We will talk about other characters and entertaining events. See ya tomorrow.

5:50 pm: Jamie: "Highly unlikely we will have any cricket this evening. Large puddles all across the plastic tarps. They will need plenty of time to drain the water. The drainage system here is not a reputed one. "

---- Give him 300 and ask him to go out,'' shouted a spectator at the Australians v Worcestershire match in 1934 during Don Bradman's innings of 206, the second of the three consecutive double centuries he made against that County. A lady watching the Don score 452 not out in 415 minutes for NSW against Queensland on January 30, 1930, remarked ``Why don't they let someone else have a turn? I am sick of looking at him.''

That the Don was a nightmare to the bowlers is revealed in a despatch by Arthur Mailey in 1949. He wrote ``I felt sorry for those bowlers who were and will be up tomorrow against Bradman. Breaking through his defence is even more difficult than getting clearance from the Taxation Department.I've tried both.''

On Bradman's first tour of England in 1930 there was a popular rumour that the English pitches would sort him out. As an ardent subscriber to this theory, George Macauley, the feisty Yorkshire seam bowler, couldn't wait to get at Bradman.

When Yorkshire played the Australians Macauley demanded loudly of his captain: "Let me have a go at this bugger." His first over was a maiden. Bradman then hit him for five fours in the second over and took 16 from the third. A spectator yelled: "George, tha' should have kept thi' bloody trap shut."

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5:10 pm: Yep, you guessed it: It's raining. They can wait till 8:15 pm to make it 20 overs a side. We have a reserve day tomorrow in case there is no play today. Next update in 30 minutes.

Dennis Batchelor: During Bradman's second century I learned that he was suffering from ill-health. I fancy it was a touch of 'flu with a rising temperature. I dare say if he had had plague we should have got rid of him for 150. -- Was Larwood the fastest bowler you ever saw?

Don: No he wasn't. At his best he was very good, very fast, but the fastest bowler I've ever seen was Frank Tyson ... he wasn't a good a bowler as Harold but he was exceptionally fast.

Charles Williams (Labour life peer in the English House of Lords and biographer of Bradman) : Within the ranks of the Australian cricket side, however, Bradman wasn't always as popular with his team-mates as he was with the public. Charles Williams says that one of the reasons for this, that bubbled away under the surface, was the sectarian divide in the team, the division between Catholics and Protestants that was potent in Australian society and politics throughout the first half of the 20th century.

Williams: Like all these things it's a mixture. Certainly there was that, and as Don said to me in a slightly bitter tone, it's the only time he got rather bitter during our conversation, 'Fingleton was the ringleader' and he said when they went to Melbourne they were met by priests in cassocks. You know, it was quite powerful stuff. That was part of it. Part of it of course was jealousy, straight jealousy, that Bradman was the hero, Bradman was the man that people wanted to see. If Bradman got out, all the grounds emptied even if Jack Fingleton was going in to bat. And that was irritating for people like O'Reilly and Fingleton, who were in their own right, cricketers of the highest standard.

The third problem was that Don himself was not the easiest character to get on with. He was, in his playing days, he was quite sharp, he was a pretty fierce Captain, he played to win and there wasn't much quarter given to the opponent or indeed sometimes his own side. He was also, up until the late '30s he was a teetotaller, didn't like all this noisy stuff, couldn't understand why people drank beer, didn't understand why people smoked, didn't see what good it did them.

Whereas the O'Reilly/Fingleton/Fleetwood-Smith those people, they all of them enjoyed a beer and enjoyed having a good time and there was a good deal of social tension of that nature. The classic story is when Don came out at Headingley in 1930 and all the boys rallied round and said, 'Well, you know, Braddles, you know, have a drink and celebrate', and he said, 'I'd rather go up to my hotel room and write a few letters', which he did, and listened to some music. Now that was an odd thing in a way, if I may put it like this without offence, for an Australian to do. An odd thing for anybody to do, but for an Australian particularly in a side like that, in a touring side, it was regarded as being pretty stand-offish, they didn't like it. So there was a combination of all these factors. -- And the Bradman song

Now shadows grow longer, and there's so much more yet to be told But we're not getting any younger, so let the part tell the whole Now the players all wear colours, the circus is in town And I no longer can go down there, down to that sacred ground He was more than just a batsman, he's something like a tide More than just one man, he was half the bloody side Fathers took their sons 'cos fortune used to hide In the palm of his hands; in the palm of his hands

----

4:30 pm: It's still raining. It doesn't look too good. It's not heavy, just a relentless drizzle. If the rain stops, the game can begun in 60 to 90 minutes or so. But the rain has to stop first. Next update in 30 minutes.

Bill O'Reilly: "Bradman was the greatest cricketer ever that I saw walk through a gate onto a cricket field anywhere that I've been, there's no doubt whatsoever about that. He had everything it needed to take charge of a game and to call the tune all the time he was out in the middle, which he generally did. To bowl against Bradman with my way of bowling, I regarded it as the greatest experience that you could have out in the middle, because I acquitted myself - I think I just about broke even with him, too. Someday some researcher will tell me how I stood with him.

For instance the first time ever we played against each other as kids, he got 234 on the first Saturday. I did get him spilled a couple of times under tragic circumstances in the slips. And 234 not out, and I spent the rest of the week wondering (I was then a university boy, home on holidays at Bowral and Wingello) and the rest of that week I spent saying to myself, 'Well God blimey, forget about cricket, go back to Botany Harriers and start high jumping and running again. If a kid like that, 17, can do what he did to you there, there's not much hope.' But then again, the next Saturday, I rolled him head over heels first ball of the day, and I thought, 'God, this isn't a bad game at all; this'll do me, I'll stick at it.' And I think probably a little bit of research along the track would show that my duels with him weren't lopsided.

I would say old Walter Scott writing one of his novels would have regarded him as a recluse. He was a man who had nothing really to contribute socially amongst any of the boys at all, and in fact what's more, looking back now, I don't think I ever really got to know Bradman, and I knew him longer than any other cricketer that has ever lived, because we met as kids in the bush. --------

4:02 pm I am afraid I have no good news for you. Rain and covers are still on. They can wait till 8:15 pm to play a 20-overs a side game

Greig MacGillivray from South Africa : "I heard briefly on the news yesterday that somebody (a statistician?) had found somewhere, in some scorebook, an extra 4 runs which should have been credited to Sir Don, in a Test Match. Apparently these elusive 4 runs had been given to his batting partner at the time, but in fact, should have been his. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of his batting partner, nor the game in question. have you any further info on this?"

Yeah but no conclusive proof that the runs belong to Don. The partner was Jack Ryder. Charles Davis, the statistician, wrote this: "Is it really possible? Well yes it is, but unfortunately it is unlikely. Newspaper accounts do not mention an extra boundary to Bradman, and other possibilities, giving the runs to Ryder earlier in his innings, seem rather more likely." Read the full article here .

3:34 pm Jamie: "It's still drizzling. Spectators still trickling in, very optimistic." They can wait till 8:15 pm to make it 20 overs a side. We have a reserve day tomorrow in case there is no play today.

Be part of the Tony Greig Show . Send him a bright question and if Tony fancies it, he will invite you to be on the show - send in your question via the feedback page. Click that feedback page link and enter your questions.

----------- A fanciful story from Michael Henderson on Don. Absolute Gem. Nevertheless, I think I have a beauty. It was told to me by the great Australian batsman, Dean Jones, who positively swore on the head of his daughter it happened, and I have since been told that Merv Hughes also confirms its truth.

The scene is set at a Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Adelaide Oval back in February 1989. These were the days when the Windies were the greatest power the cricketing world had ever seen, the days when they used to select 11 fast bowlers in the team and a 12th man who was a fast bowler just to be on the safe side.

And it was into just such a furnace that the young bowler Mervyn Hughes walked - with bat in hand. Figuring fortune favoured the brave, Hughes wielded the willow like an axeman his axe, and somehow - after snicking fortutiously, connecting full-bloodedly, and missing entirely - he finished the day's play at 72 not out.

The tradition in Test cricket is that the batting side take a few beers into the fielding side's dressing-room afterwards, but not on this evening. Instead, Merv took an ice-box full of bottles, so keen was he to give the men of the Windies the full blow-by-blow account of every run he'd made. So it was that half an hour later, Jones - who himself had contributed 216 - and Hughes and several other Australian players were in the Windies dressing-room, when a sudden hush fell upon the gathering.

They looked to the door and there was Sir Donald Bradman himself, being ushered into the room by several South Australian cricket officials. The Don had expressed a desire to meet this mighty team, and now here he was.

For the next 15 minutes or so, the great man was introduced to the visiting players, with each West Indian standing up well before Sir Donald got to their position on the bench. Then, when their time came, they warmly shook his hand and had a few words.

This all proceeded splendidly until Sir Donald got to the last man on the bench, Patrick Patterson - the fastest bowler in the world at that time. So the story goes, not only did Patterson not stand, he simply squinted quizzically up at the octogenarian. Finally, after some 30 seconds of awkward silence, Patterson stood up, all two metres of pure whip-cord steel of him, and looked down at the diminutive Don.

"You, Don Bradman!?!" he snorted. "You, Don Bradman?!?! I kill you, mun! I bowl at you, I kill you! I split you in two!"

In reply, Sir Donald, with his hands on his hips, gazed squarely back at Patterson and calmly retorted: "You couldn't even get Merv Hughes out. You'd have no chance against me, mate!"

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3:10 pm: The entire ground is covered. Quite a sight. Overcast skies. It doesn't look too good.

Be part of the Tony Greig Show . Send him a bright question and if Tony fancies it, he will invite you to be on the show - send in your question via the feedback page.

------ Teetotal and a non- smoker, when possible he [Don Bradman] avoided rowdy celebration, although as a talented pianist he would occasionally be roped in to accompany sing-songs. After he made 309 not out on the first day of the Test match at Headingley in 1930, against an attack including Larwood and Tate, he went up to his room to listen to music and write letters all evening.

Some of his team-mates resented this attitude. In particular, the Irish and Roman Catholic members of Australia's side in the 1930s - Jack Fingleton and Bill O'Reilly to the fore - took exception to the tight, dedicated, Empire-loving, Royalty-idolising, aristocrat-appreciating genius under whose shadow they lay.

``A churlish little man,'' Fingleton called Bradman in 1980, all passion clearly not spent ------

3:03 pm It's still drizzling. The covers are still on. There is nothing to do but wait.

----- When the Don scored 334 runs in a 1930 Test at Leeds, and a London newspaper finally trumpeted just two grateful words on posters aroundthe city: "HE'S OUT!"

The Don never played in India, but was adored here nevertheless. He retired in 1948, and five years later decided to make another visit to England, as a journalist. As it happens, his aircraft made an unscheduled stopover at Kolkata's Dum Dum airport. Word got around, somehow, and within minutes there were 5,000 cricket-crazy Indians on the tarmac, screaming for him. Bradman hastily got into an army jeep and took refuge in a barricaded building. ---

2:39 pm: Jamie: "Now almost the entire playing area is covered. Head curator standing under an umbrella in the middle. Doesn't look too good. Still the music plays on ... "

----------- Don: personal setbacks ----------------- Sir Donald has had to confront much sadness in his personal life, which perhaps strengthened his resolve to remain a private person.

His son, John, born in 1939, three years after the death of the Bradman's infant son, was afflicted by poliomyelitis was a young teenager. He made a full recovery from the virus but continued to suffer because he was the son of Don Bradman.

In 1972 John changed his name by deed poll. At that time Sir Donald said: "Only those who have to live with the incessant strain of publicity can have any idea of its impact".

Daughter Shirley was born with cerebral palsy. Lady Bradman, who had heart bypass surgery .. and her husband have had periods of indifferent and poor health

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2:16 pm Jamie Alter, our man at the ground, has this update: "Decent crowd gathered, no where as large as Sunday's, but they're keeping busy waving stuff and playing a bit of music. The ground staff are standing around. Light drizzle in the air. "

And the news is Warnapura will be playing today. He just had a chat with Tony Greig.

Australia will commemorate Don Bradman's centenary on Wednesday. Time for some Don anecdotes. ----------------- Bradman had a horror start as captain. He lost the toss at the 'Gabba, watched his main strike bowler Ernie McCormick break down and was out for a duck in the second innings on a sticky wicket. England romped home by 322 runs and won the second Test in Sydney by an innings, rain once again coming to its aid. Bradman made his second successive duck and the critics were not impressed with the scoreboard - England 2, Australia 0 and in grave danger of losing the Ashes. One newspaper reported that Bradman, the spotlight now focused on him all the time and his anxiety level full to overflowing, was not getting the loyal support of all his players. McCabe issued a statement saying the players were behind him.

Things turned around for Australia and Bradman in the third Test in Melbourne. With rain a factor for the third time and England batting on a sticky wicket, the shrewd Bradman told his bowlers not to get England out. When Allen declared (too late, as it turned out) towards the end of play on Saturday, the wicket was still unfriendly. Bradman gambled and opened the second innings with tail-enders Bill O'Reilly and a stunned `Chuck' Fleetwood-Smith.

O¦Reilly was out first ball, but Fleetwood-Smith survived, joking that he had the game by the throat.

BY Monday the wicket had lost its fire and, with Bradman back to his fluent best with 270, Australia won. Bradman's improvisation had paid off. This time Allen's captaincy was under fire. He might have clinched the series 3-0 if he had declared England's second innings sooner and exposed Australia to the damp wicket. Australia won the next two Tests, the captain contributing 212 and 169, to retain the Ashes 3-2 and Bradman had come through his first baptism of fire with his reputation enhanced. -------------

2:07 pm Rain still on. More covers are being added.

1:37 pm: It's been raining for the past 35 minutes. Nothing strong but intermittent drizzle. The covers are on and the outfield is obviously damp.

Read Jamie Alter on Sri Lanka's batting problems . If you like this story and want to share it with friends, or post it on your blog or any any networking site, click on the 'Share' link at the bottom of the story.

And there is the Sri Lanka v India edition of Cricinfo Quiz: - this has quiz questions on both India and SL, and some involving games between the two sides... last few days to get on to the leaderboard! Hurry!

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