An Australian view, 1938

D. G. Bradman, 1927-37

The Hon. Mr Justice Herbert V. Evatt

In 1937 D. G. Bradman completed ten years of first-class cricket. During that period many of his batting performances have been unprecedented. He has broken one record after another and already, in actual achievement, he has far surpassed the performances of all other batsmen of Australia. There is an easy-going tendency to discount the significance of cricket records and averages and in some circumstances they may be misleading. But, in the long run, the records may lead irresistibly to certain conclusions, and in Bradman's case, they prove beyond doubt that he is one of the very greatest batsmen of all time, possessing the faculty of doing his best on the most important occasions.

Owing to the limited quantity of first-class cricket, the feat of scoring 1,000 runs in an Australian season is rarely performed. Very few Australian cricketers have done it at all and, with the exception of Bradman, not one of them more than twice. Bradman has scored 1,000 runs in every season he has played except his first, i.e., on eight separate and consecutive occasions. The details are:

SeasonInningsTimes not outHighest ScoreTotal RunsAverage
1927-28101134*41646.22
1928-29246340*1690(a)93.88
1929-30162452*1586113.28
1930-31180258142279.00
1931-32131299*1403116.91
1932-33212238117161.63
1933-341122531192132.44
1934-35(Did not play)
1935-36903691173130.33
1936-37191270155286.22
Total:14115452*1160592.10

During the ten years under review, Bradman made two visits to England, his figures being:

SeasonInningsTimes not outHighest ScoreTotal RunsAverage
19303663342960(b)98.66
1934273304202084.16
Total:639334498092.22

As Bradman has not played first-class cricket outside England and Australia, a summary of his complete first-class record is:

InningsTimes not outHighest ScoreTotal RunsAverage
20424452*1658592.13

    (a)
  • Record Aggregate for an Australian first-class season.
  • (b)
  • Record Aggregate for an Australian visiting England.

Bradman's record may be further analysed thus:

(A) TEST CRICKET

InningsTimes not outHighest ScoreTotal RunsAverage
Australia v. England402334340689.63
Australia v. South Africa51299*806201.50
Australia v. West Indies6022344774.50
Total:513334465997.06

(B) SHEFFIELD SHIELD

( Australia)6410452*5788107.18

(C) Other First-class

8911369613878.69
GRAND TOTAL:20424452*1658592.13

A further classification is as follows:

(A) IN AUSTRALIA

InningsTimes not outHighest ScoreTotal RunsAverage
Tests v. England252270167472.78
Other Tests111299*1253125.30
New South Wales v. Victoria217340*2065147.50
New South Wales v. South Australia200258126963.45
New South Wales v. Queensland112452*1299144.33
South Australia v. New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland1213571155105.00
Other First-class412369289074.19

(B) IN ENGLAND

Tests v. England1503341732115.46
Other First-class489252*324883.28
(c) Total:20424452*1658592.13

Bradman, in first-class cricket, has made 61 centuries, which is a record number for any Australian cricketer. They were obtained as follows:

SeasonScoreMatchVenue
1927-28134* New South Wales v. Victoria Sydney
(c) 118 New South Wales v. South Australia Adelaide
1928-29123 Australia v. England Melbourne
112 Australia v. England Melbourne
(d) 340* New South Wales v. Victoria Sydney
131 and 133* New South Wales v. Queensland Brisbane
175 New South Wales v. South Australia Sydney
132* New South Wales v. M. C. C. Team Sydney
1929-30(e) 452* New South Wales v. Queensland Sydney
157 New South Wales v. M. C. C. Team Sydney
(f) 124 and 225Trial Match Sydney
139Australian XI v. Tasmania Hobart
1930(g) 334 Australia v. England Leeds
254 Australia v. England Lord's
232 Australia v. England The Oval
131 Australia v. England Nottingham
252*Australians v. Surrey The Oval
(h) 236Australians v. Worcestershire Worcester
205*Australians v. Kent Canterbury
(i) 191Australians v. Hampshire Southampton
185*Australians v. Leicestershire Leicester
117Australians v. Somerset Taunton
1930-31223 Australia v. West Indies Brisbane
152 Australia v. West Indies Melbourne
258 New South Wales v. South Australia Adelaide
220 New South Wales v. Victoria Sydney
121 New South Wales v. South Australia Sydney
1931-32(j) 299* Australia v. South Africa Adelaide
226 Australia v. South Africa Brisbane
(k) 167 Australia v. South Africa Melbourne
112 Australia v. South Africa Sydney
219 New South Wales v. South Africans Sydney
135 New South Wales v. South Africans Sydney
167 New South Wales v. Victoria Sydney
1932-33103* Australia v. England Melbourne
238 New South Wales v. Victoria Sydney
157 New South Wales v. Victoria Melbourne
1933-34200 New South Wales v. Queensland Brisbane
253 New South Wales v. Queensland Sydney
128 New South Wales v. Victoria Sydney
187* New South Wales v. Victoria Melbourne
101Testimonial Match Melbourne
1934304 Australia v. England Leeds
244 Australia v. England The Oval
206Australians v. Worcestershire Worcester
160Australians v. Middlesex Lord's
149*Australians v. An England XI Folkestone
140Australians v. Yorkshire Sheffield
132Australians v. An England XI Scarborough
1935-36357 South Australia v. Victoria Melbourne
233 South Australia v. Queensland Adelaide
(l) 117 South Australia v. New South Wales Adelaide
369 South Australia v. Tasmania Adelaide
1936-37270 Australia v. England Melbourne
212 Australia v. England Adelaide
169 Australia v. England Melbourne
212Testimonial Match Sydney
192 South Australia v. Victoria Melbourne
123 South Australia v. Queensland Brisbane

    (c)
  • His first innings in first-class cricket.
  • (d)
  • A record score for New South Wales v. Victoria.
  • (e)
  • World's record score for first-class cricket.
  • (f)
  • Both centuries were scored on the one day.
  • (g)
  • Record score in Tests between Australia and England.
  • (h)
  • His first innings in England.
  • (i)
  • During his innings, Bradman reached 1,000 runs before the end of May.
  • (j)
  • A record score in Test cricket in Australia.
  • (k)
  • In seven successive matches, Bradman scored his seven centuries in 1931-32, six of them against South Africa.
  • (l)
  • His first innings for South Australia in the Sheffield Shield.

Bradman has scored 18 centuries in Test matches, having equalled Hobbs's record in obtaining 12 centuries in England v. Australia Tests. Bradman obtained 4 Test centuries against South Africa and 2 against the West Indies. Of his 18 Test centuries, 10 have exceeded 200, 7 of the 10 having been made against England. He has taken part in five series of Tests for Australia v. England, his amazing figures being:

SeasonInningsTimes not outHighest ScoreTotal RunsAverage
1928-298112346866.85
193070334974(m)139.14
1932-3381103*39656.57
19348030475894.75
1936-379027081090.00
Total:402334340689.63

(m) A record aggregate for any Test series.

* Signifies not out.

In no fewer than 27 of his 61 three-figure innings, Bradman has scored 200 runs or over. It follows that, provided Bradman has reached 100, it is almost an even chance than he will reach 200. Averaging his century scores, the result is 194 runs per innings, or 242 per completed innings.

His performances in minor cricket may be briefly mentioned. In Australian grade or pennant cricket, he has scored 4,304 runs at an average of 86 per innings. In all second-class matches he has scored 19,131 runs, also at an average of 86 per innings. During the tour of the Australian team to America in 1932, he scored 3,779 runs at an average of 102, obtaining 18 centuries. In first and second-class cricket, he has aggregated 141 centuries.

Bradman's figures are necessarily silent as to important aspects of his batting. At times the speed of his scoring has been phenomenal. For instance, his world's record score of 452 was made in 406 minutes. Typical of his brilliant hitting in Sheffield Shield cricket was the 238 in 195 minutes obtained for New South Wales against Victoria in 1932. His record Test score of 334 at Leeds in 1930 was made in 381 minutes. In 1934 at Folkestone he hit Freeman for 30 runs in an over. At Scarborough in the same season he scored 132 in ninety minutes. In 1931-32, in a second-class fixture at Blackheath, New South Wales, Bradman and Wendell Bill scored 102 runs in three eight-ball overs, Bradman obtaining 100 out of the 102. He hit ten 6's and nine 4's including 40 from one over. His total for the innings was 256, including fourteen 6s and twenty-nine 4s.

Whatever the original limitations of his stroke repertoire, Bradman has become the master of every stroke in the game. But the outstanding quality of his batting skill is that he employs it functionally, ever adjusting it to the task in hand. In England in 1934, when he was fighting against the onset of illness, some of the critics declared that he had degenerated into a mere slogger. But he rose to the great occasions of the fourth and fifth Tests. Undoubtedly his big partnerships with Ponsford in those two games accentuated his illness and the operation he subsequently underwent prevented his playing cricket again until 1935-36. He then captained South Australia to its first Sheffield Shield Championship since 1926-27. Most recently, what I have called the functional character of his batting has been shown during his three great Test centuries against the last England side. Characteristic of Bradman's in-cricket is his perfect running between wickets and his shepherding of younger players during critical periods of an innings. Moreover, the team value of his performances is also evidenced by the fact that they have frequently synchronized with partnerships during which Bradman's partner has also batted with remarkable success.

Indeed, the team value of his mammoth scores has been immense. His innings have ensured not only practical freedom from the risk of defeat, but very often actual victory. Thus, in games without time limit, he has exceeded 200 on seven occasions (all of them Tests), and each time his side has won. Upon the other twenty occasions when he has scored 200 or more, his side has lost only once--a Testimonial Match where the result was of no significance. Bradman's powers include, but are not limited to, magnificent batting skill, backed by patience, concentration and determination. In addition he has the extremely rare quality of cricket imagination and employs it scientifically. Throughout his Sheffield Shield cricket career, the 4 and a third-day or the 4-day time limit has been in force. Bradman it was who first appreciated the increased importance of the time factor in such matches. He also perceived that, even in limitless Test matches, and certainly in Tests subject to a time limit, quick scoring must usually be of enormous advantage to his side. Thus, both in Australia and England, Bradman has always endeavoured to accelerate the rate of scoring during the course of the day's cricket, a practice which few batsmen of modern times have adopted.

During the period of Bradman's career, the treatment of international cricket by the popular Press has often added to the responsibilities of the players; and, in Bradman's case, praise and blame have sometimes succeeded each other with bewildering rapidity. Fortunately his character has enabled him to concentrate all his attentions upon the game itself. Further he has vindicated the opinions of many that he would be a great success as captain, and it now seems certain that he will captain Australia for some time to come.

I cannot part with the subject of this sketch without expressing gratitude for the infinite pleasure which Bradman's batting has given to all cricket lovers. Unique as his record is, it cannot adequately describe his cricketing genius. Despite all his honours, Donald Bradman is still as modest and unassuming as the young country lad who came to Sydney in 1927 intent upon success in the greatest of all games.

© John Wisden & Co