Don Bradman © Getty Images
Don Bradman played the game in his civilian shoes © Getty Images

December 14, 1927. A young Don Bradman played in his Sheffield Shield team for the first time in a one-day match against the local Barrier District team. And he did that in his civilian shoes. In this series, Arunabha Sengupta lists several firsts of Bradman’s career. ALSO READ: Don Bradman Firsts Part 2: Don Bradman’s First-Class debut

Jubilee Oval cricket ground was a somewhat primitive arena in Broken Hill.  However, the newly opened railway line that serviced the silver-mining town was a boon. ALSO READ: Don Bradman Firsts Part 3: Don Bradman run up to the first Test

The New South Wales Sheffield Shield side was sent down on the train from Central Station, Sydney, a journey that used to consume aeons and produced aches and pains was now faster and much more comfortable. ALSO READ: Don Bradman Firsts Part 4: His disappointing Test debut

Amongst the twelve men who travelled was a young 19-year-old from the bushes, slated to be the 12th man, the only one who had not played a single First-Class match. His name was Don Bradman.

Even this was a bonus. When the team to leave Sydney for the Southern tour was announced, the 12 listed names did not include Bradman’s. It was only when Test stars Jack Gregory and Hammy Love informed they would not be able to travel, two replacement players were picked from the St George Club. One was Albert Scanes, a Sydney-based cake-maker, who had played for the State when the major stars were away in England in 1926. The other player picked was The Don.

The rudimentary cricket facilities notwithstanding, a large crowd assembled at the ground to watch the State side contest in a one-day match against a Barrier District team.

It turned out to be the first time Bradman played in the Shield side, albeit in a rather inconsequential match. He got in because Archie Jackson, the other young prodigy, was afflicted with a boil just above the knee.

Bradman tested the concrete pitch. The sprigs on his cricket boots made him slip. He tried to adjust but could not quite manage to maintain his balance. Hence, when the second wicket fell, he walked in wearing his civilian shoes. That remained the only time he would do so in a serious cricket match.

Salter, the home captain, opted to bat, but the hosts did not stand a chance against Arthur Mailey, whose 6 for 66 was instrumental in bowling them out for 206. Bradman had a go with the ball, but without success. Salter himself top-scored with 81.

He arrived at the fall of the second wicket, scored 46 that day before he charged down the wicket and was stumped by Chandler off AN Pincombe. His captain Alan Kippax joined him when the third wicket went down and the two added 97. G Morgan and Bert Oldfield ensured the State side secured a lead before batting out time.

Brief scores:

Broken Hill 206 (Salter 81; Arthur Mailey 6 for 66) drew with New South Wales 215 for 5 (Don Bradman 46, Alan Kippax 79, AN Pincombe 4 for 72).

(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/senantix)