The legendary batsman turned the series against England.
For most cricket fans the name Don Bradman is associated with being the best batsman of all time and leading Australia to Ashes triumph over England.
Whilst with an almost superhuman average of 99.99 it is difficult to argue with that statement, in 1937 Bradman was not the untouchable hero we know of today.
No doubting the Aussie captain was considered a great player, but with scores of a duck and a golden duck in the first two Tests of the Ashes series and a 2-0 deficit to the English, the pressure was on Bradman.
The Australians had been utterly outplayed under the batsman’s leadership on both occasions and the result was in danger of being decided within three of the five matches.
In the third Test at Melbourne a record number turned up to see the action – an almost unbelievable 350,534 – as Australia had to win to keep Ashes’ hopes alive.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat the home side fell to 181-6 before the rain (the Aussies’ enemy all series) set in and play was postponed for the day.
On day two Bradman looked at a wicket that later he described as the worst he had ever seen and with Australia on 200-9, the skipper declared to start a gripping battle of tactics with England captain Gubby Allen.
England limped to 76-7 and 132 runs behind with Bradman, in a bizarre twist, scared the tourists would be dismissed too quickly on such a terrible pitch.
The English players were calling for a declaration themselves and it duly came with 45 minutes of play left in the day.
Bradman had to think quickly. With it being Saturday and Sunday used as a rest day at the time then all Australia needed to do was last until close of play and hope conditions would have improved by Monday.
However, on such a bad pitch the Aussie great didn’t want to risk his best batsmen and ingeniously turned the order on its head – with Nos 10 and 11 opening the innings.
By Monday Australia were on the brink of victory with a 221-run lead but with five wickets down. In came Bradman and he duly scored a whopping 248, guiding the side to victory and restoring Aussie confidence.
The innings was decided by cricket almanack Wisden to be the best ever years later and subsequent scores of 212 and 169 from Bradman in the remaining two Tests gave Australia Ashes victory against the odds.