The story behind Australia vs England game at MCG
ONE-DAY cricket is a late 20th century development in world cricket. One-day competitions were introduced as early as the 1960s but it was January 5, 1971 when the first official ODI was played. The build-up to what is now a popular format of the game is bizarre to say the least.
England had no plans to play an ODI match in Australia when they had come for a 6-Test tour. The 40-overs-per-side game with 8 deliveries in an over was played after the 3rd Test in Melbourne was washed out due to wet weather. Fearing a financial loss of close to £80 000 in Melbourne, both England and Australia agreed to play an exhibition match on a weekday – Tuesday.
The authorities at MCG had expected only 20 000 people to turn up for the match but more than 45 000 had turned up. The game was played with a red ball and white clothes, unlike today where white balls and coloured clothing are used.
Australia captain Bill Lawry won the toss and opted to field. England, led by Ray Illingworth, managed just 190 in their quota of 40 overs. In fact, England did not last 40 overs as they were bowled out in 39.4 overs.
John Edrich won the Man-of-the-Match award despite being on the losing side as he hit a 119-ball 82. He scored 4 of the 7 boundaries scored in England’s innings.
Surprisingly, spinners Ashley Mallett and Keith Stackpole dominated with the ball as they picked up 6 wickets between them.
A BIT OF JOKE
Mallett, recollecting the first ODI, had said both the teams thought the one-day experiment was a “bit of joke”.
“They called it the first one-day international which rather surprised me years later. I thought, ‘Gee it’s part of history’. That game we thought was a bit of a joke,” Mallett said, as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.
In response, Australia rode on Ian Chappell’s 103-ball 60 and Doug Walters’ 51-ball 41 to gun down the total in just 34.6 overs. Captain Lawry hit a 49-ball 27 while Greg Chappell remained not out with a 29-ball 22. (India Today)