When Don Bradman arrived on English shores for the first time in 1930 many pundits thought his technique would not cope with English wickets.
By the end of that summer, how to get Bradman out was the most pressing problem in English cricket. The 254 he made on his first Test appearance at Lord’s was rated by him as the finest innings of his entire career. "Practically without exception every ball went where it was intended", Bradman wrote in his autobiography.
Bradman had begun the tour with an innings of 236 at Worcester, immediately dispelling the doubts about his method. By the time the first Test began at Trent Bridge he had already plundered four centuries off English bowling, two of them doubles. He scored 131 there as England won by 93 runs. England were probably quite happy when their first innings ended on 425 on the second morning at Lord’s. But by the close of play Australia were 404 for 2 with Bradman going strong on 155. He added 99 to his own score the next day and another 181 with Alan Kippax. Australia eventually declared on 729 for 6; well on the way to a convincing seven-wicket victory. Bradman followed up his innings at Lord’s with 334 at Lord’s and 232 at the Oval. His aggregate of 974 remains a record for any Test series. Next time they met, England knew they would have to come up with something special to combat Bradman. Bodyline was their answer.