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Legendary cricketer Bradman still unbeaten

Published: Wednesday, August 27, 2008, 12:12 [IST]
 
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SYDNEY :
Australians on Wednesday marked the centenary of their greatest sporting hero, cricketer Don Bradman, by celebrating the fact his unbeaten record is still untouchable 60 years after he quit the sport.

Bradman, who died in 2001 aged 92, played his last match in England in 1948 and retired with a yet-to-be topped Test batting average of 99.94.

Australian media used the occasion to revisit the legend of the 'Boy from Bowral' whose run-scoring feats lifted the hopes of the country during the Depression and inspired generations of sportsmen and women to come.

Newspapers splashed images of the small-statured batsman across their pages while television bulletins re-broadcast rare snippets from interviews with 'The Don', who loathed his celebrity.

In Bradman's boyhood home of Bowral, a small town south of Sydney, scores of children formed a massive 100 on the cricket oval on which he first played, and sang 'Happy Birthday'.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting, who will deliver the Bradman Oration at a dinner to be hosted by Hollywood star Hugh Jackman later Wednesday, led tributes to the global cricketing hero.

"That Bradman made a century on average every time he batted is remarkable in itself, but to realise his batting average is virtually twice as high as anyone who played Test cricket for any length of time shows why he is one of sport's great stories," Ponting wrote in The Australian.

Ponting said sporting records were made to be broken, with the Beijing Olympics no exception with the breathtaking feats of swimmer Michael Phelps and runner Usain Bolt. But Bradman's was an "unassailable" record, he said.

"Of the 2,519 batsmen who have taken the crease in 131 years of Test cricket, Bradman stands alone and untouched," he said. "I am no aware of any other sport which has one competitor so far above any other performer."

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