Sir Don Bradman, undoubtedly the greatest batsman in the history of the cricket, is said to have scored 100 runs from just 3 overs way back in 1931 in a match between two local Australian teams Blackheath and Lithgow.
The 23-year-old Bradman, who played for Blackheath, completed his hundred in just 18 minutes in the match at the Blue Mountains region of New South Wales, having hit the first over he faced for 38 runs. But what was about to come next was something extraordinary special that hadn’t been witnessed until then.
When Bradman came out to bat, a bowler called Bill Black was brought into the attack. Bradman casually asked wicket-keeper Leo Waters what to expect. “Don’t you remember this bloke?” Waters replied, adding mischievously: “He bowled you in an exhibition match in Lithgow a few weeks ago and has been boasting about it ever since, at your expense.” To this, a pumped up Bradman went down the pitch to chat with Wendell Bill and reportedly said: “I think I’ll have a go.” What followed was actually breathtaking.
In three eight-ball overs (at that time, an over was of 8 balls), Bradman smashed 100 runs. The first over from Black produced 33 runs (6,6,4,2,4,4,6,1), the second, from Horrie Baker 40 (6,4,4,6,6,4,6,4) while the third, again from Black, 29 (1,6,6,1,1,4,4,6), which included the singles taken by Wendell Bill off the first and fifth ball. In total, he 256 with 29 fours and 14 sixes. Flabbergasting!
Speaking about the knock decades later, Bradman said that the event was not planned and he, himself, was surprised by what had happened during the match.
“It’s important, I think, to emphasise that the thing was not planned. It happened purely by accident and everyone was surprised at the outcome, no one more than I. Wendell Bill became one of my staunchest friends, and in later years he said he got more notoriety out of the two singles he scored in those three overs than anything else he ever did in his life.”
After the match the Blackheath mayor was presented that bat by the Don himself. The mayor mounted the bat on a wall in the council offices and it is rumoured that he asked people to swear on it when an honest response was needed. It is now on loan to the Bradman Museum at Bowral.