10th September 1948 saw Don Bradman’s last great innings on English soil. The boy from Bowral had a long history of performing superbly and troubling the English bowlers since his first tour in that country in 1930. He scored a record 974 runs in his first Test series in England which is still a record and kept reaching new heights in the subsequent tours. Australia reached new heights when in his last tour in England in 1948 Bradman led his team of ‘Invincibles’ who remained unbeaten throughout the tour.
The Australian team played 32 First-class matches in that series. They won 23, 15 of them in an innings and nine were drawn. Bradman, already 40 also had a pretty successful tour as a batsman scoring 11 centuries including the one in his last First-class innings in England.
It was the traditional end of the tour match against the HD Leveson Gower’s XI at Scarborough. Although it was more of an exhibition match, a near strength England squad including Hutton, Edrich, Bedser, and Laker was selected. Bradman also wanted to finish the tour in a high and selected the fittest eleven for the Australians.
On the first day of the match, 8th September was mostly washed out. In whatever play was possible, Ray Lindwall shone brightly and put the English team in trouble. Hutton was out for a duck and the rest of the batsmen did not fair too well. When the English team were all out for 177 on the next day Lindwall finished with six for 59.
Significant amount of rain on day two also ensured that a result except draw was very much less likely. However, the openers Sidney Barnes and Arthur Morris batted aggressively and put up 102 on the board before Morris was dismissed. Bradman entered the arena with great applause and remained unbeaten on 30 with Barnes at the end of the day.
10th September, the third day saw Bradman showing his mastery one last time as he kept playing his range of shots to entertain a cheering crowd. He reached his hundred by lunch and decided to play some big shots post the lunch session. Finally he was dismissed for an outstanding 153 and it was a memorable day for anyone present in the ground. Finally he skied a ball from Bedser to be caught by Hutton and sprinted towards the dressing room.
He came to England first time in 1930 as a shy 22-year old and now was leaving the ground for the last time as a legend and applause was thunderous. He scored 9,837 First class runs on English soil with an average of 96.44. The match ended in a draw but on that day it was all about the great man, Don Bradman!