Which England bowler prevented Sir Donald Bradman from averaging 100 runs in Test match cricket?

The late Sir Donald Bradman, who died on February 25, 2001, was, unquestionably, the greatest batsman in the history of cricket. ‘The Don’, as he was affectionately known, was the scourge of England between 1928 and 1948, scoring 19 centuries in Test matches and being on the winning side in six out of seven Ashes series. The only exception was the infamous ‘Bodyline’ series of 1932/33, during which England resorted to the tactic of bowling short, fast deliveries on the line of leg stump in an effort to unsettle Bradman; England won that series 4-1, but Bradman still averaged 56.

All told, Bradman scored scored 6,996 runs in 52 tests at an average of 99.94. He made his final appearance, as captain, in the fifth and final Test of the Australia tour of England at the Oval in August, 1948. England won the toss and elected to bat first, but were skittled out for just 52, with only opening batsman Sir Leonard Hutton reaching double figures and fast bowler Ray Lindwall taking 6-20 off his 16.1 overs.

Australia made a solid start to their first innings, with openers Sid Barnes and Arthur Morris putting on 117 before Barnes was caught at the wicket by Godfrey Evans off the bowling of leg-spinner Eric Hollies. Bradman, who needed just four runs to average 100 in Test cricket, arrived at the crease to a tumultuous ovation from the crowd and three cheers, led by England captain Norman Yardley.

However, his final Test innings proved hugely anti-climactic. Clearly emotional, Bradman survived his first ball from Hollies, although he later admitted that he was not sure he really saw it, but was clean bowled, second ball, for a duck, by what he later described as ‘a perfect length googly which deceived me’. Australia went on to win the match by an innings and 149 runs, and the series 4-0, but Bradman finished his Test career just 0.06 short of an average of 100 runs.

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