Cap of Don~~s conqueror fails to sell at auction

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:A Test cap belonging to the English bowler who claimed Don Bradman's final Test wicket to keep the Australian cricketing great's batting average below 100 failed to sell at auction.

England leg-spinner Eric Hollies bowled Bradman for a duck in the Australian's final Test appearance at The Oval in London in 1948, meaning his career Test average was 99.94 runs an innings instead of 100-plus.

While "The Don's" batting average remains far above any other Test batsman in the history of the game, his inability to reach triple figures still rankles some Down Under, where he is regarded as the country's greatest sportsman.

Legend has it that Bradman was unable to concentrate on the two balls he faced from Hollies because his eyes were still full of tears from the standing ovation he received from players and spectators as he strode to the crease.

After the Test, Hollies gave his cap to Australia opener Arthur Morris, who was at the other end of the crease when Bradman was dismissed.

The cap was accompanied by a letter from Morris authenticating it when it went up for auction in Melbourne Wednesday.

The intriguing piece of cricketing memorabilia had been expected to fetch up to 30,000 dollars (23,000 US) but was passed in at an opening bid of 18,500.

"There was not a lot of interest in it," a spokeswoman for Charles Leski Auctions said. "People will still be able to buy it over the next few weeks."

Hollies, who died in 1981, has the added distinction of being regarded as one of the most incompetent English batsmen of the modern era.

He failed to reach 20 in any innings he played between 1946 and 1953 and took more wickets in first class cricket than he made runs.

Bradman keepsakes are big business in Australia, his first Test bat was sold for 58,000 dollars earlier this year.

Bradman averaged a world-record 99.94 runs in 52 Tests between 1928 and 1948.

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