Being just four runs short in his last innings to touch the perfect figure of 100, Bradman was knocked over by Hollies for a duck at The Oval on August 14, 1948, having to end his 52-Test career with 99.94 as his batting average
Sydney: Taking equal blame along with late English spin bowler Eric Hollies, the one who popularly bowled Don Bradman for a duck in his final Test, is one of Australia's all-time favourite cricketing sons, Neil Harvey, who turned 90 on Monday.
Being just four runs short in his last innings to touch the perfect figure of 100, Bradman was knocked over by Hollies for a duck at The Oval on August 14, 1948, having to end his 52-Test career with 99.94 as his batting average.
In the previous Test before Bradman’s final match, Harvey, having scored 112 in the first innings, came out to bat at number five in the second essay, with Bradman unbeaten on 173 at the other end, at Headingley.
Young Harvey shattered the only delivery he faced for a boundary, winning the match for his team. Over 70 years have passed since that match was played but Harvey is still "filled with guilt" over Bradman missing to score those four runs. In his mind, he's sure that it would have allowed him to pull off that unimaginable feat of averaging 100.
“That four at Leeds fills me with guilt. It’s entirely my fault Bradman couldn't average 100 in Test cricket. Had he scored those four runs instead of me, he’d have got there," this is what Harvey had to say to Sydney Morning Herald.
"I went in when Ken Cranston, a seam bowler from Lancashire, bowled this thing on my leg stump but I whacked it through mid-wicket for four. The public charged onto the ground and I can still recollect Bradman (who’d scored 173) yelling, ‘come on son, let’s get out of here’.”
What followed Harvey's boundary wasn't realised until after Bradman fell for a duck in Australia's only innings of the fifth and also the final Test of the 1948 ‘Invincibles’ tour.
"I’m quite willing to take the blame, but I assure you that I didn’t know he was going to get a duck in his last Test match. Nobody neither knew that Bradman needed four runs at Leeds nor that he needed four runs when he played in his last Test at The Oval," said Harvey, the last surviving member of Bradman's 'Invincibles'.
“Statistics weren't mentioned back at that time; there was no access to television and no one in the media seemed to know. When the poor bloke was bowled, that was it. Sadly enough, he wasn’t going to get another chance because England was dismissed by us for 52 in their first innings.”
The left-handed Harvey bid his Test career goodbye with 6,149 runs in 79 matches at an average of 48.41, with 21 hundreds along with 24 fifties.
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Last Updated Oct 8, 2018, 2:42 PM IST