Sir Don Bradman - simply the best

The greatest batsman of all time, 'The Don' represented Australia for 20 years, playing in 52 Tests achieving an incredible - and since untouchable - batting average of 99.94.

Bradman was one of the world's most revered cricketers during his lifetime and his legacy lives on. Among his fans is former South African President Nelson Mandela, whose first question to an Australian visitor on his release from prison in 1990 was: "Is Sir Donald Bradman still alive?"

Born in Cootamundra in New South Wales, Bradman was noted for his obsessive practice as a youngster and would often hit a ball repeatedly against a wall using only a cricket stump.

Bradman was a keen tennis player in his youth but then decided to focus fully on cricket and by the age of 18 had been drafted into grade cricket in Sydney. He was representing New South Wales within a year - scoring 118 on his first-class debut - and made his Test debut within three.

His Test career suffered a stuttering start as he struggled for runs during England's successful tour in 1928-29, but a year later he excelled as the Aussies clinched a shock 2-1 victory on English soil.

In the five-Test series, Bradman scored 974 runs at an average of 139.14, with four centuries, including two double hundreds and a triple ton. It remains a record to this day.

Although uncomfortable in the spotlight, Bradman's form during his career meant he had to get used to it - on and off the pitch. England captain Douglas Jardine attempted to nullify 'The Don' in the 1932/33 tour by devising the 'bodyline' tactic - short, fast bowling aimed at the batsman. England won the series 4-1 but lost many friends.

By the time Bradman retired in 1948 he had broken scoring records for both first-class and Test cricket. His highest score of 334 stood for decades as the best ever Test score by an Australian, as was his achievement of two triple centuries.

He needed only four runs in his final Test innings at the Oval in 1948 to finish with a Test average of 100 but was bowled by a googly from Eric Hollies. Australia still won the match by by an innings and 149 runs to take the five-match series 4-0 under Bradman's captaincy and deservedly were given the nickname 'The Invincibles'.