Australia playing…. Australia
10. Quadrangular World Series Cup, Australia, Australia A, England, Zimbabwe, 1994/95
The World Series Cup consisting of Australia and two touring teams playing triangular one day competition had been a staple of the Australian summer for more than a decade when the Australian Cricket Board decided to do something a little bit different in the summer of 1994/95.
England were touring for the Ashes and the other national team to make up the three cornered hat was Zimbabwe. Judging that Zimbabwe wouldn’t provide stiff enough opposition or draw a crowd or something along those lines the powers that be decided adding another Australian team – Australia A – into the mix to make it a 4 team competition and have more games featuring an Australian side was the way to go.
The Australia A team from 1994/95 reads like an Australian Test batting line up line up from about 2003/04. Nearly all the batsmen had either represented Australia or went onto careers for Australia in one form of cricket or another. The bowling was not as strong with a number of players who didn’t even have notable first class careers appearing.
Australia and Australia A met twice in the preliminary rounds and both times Australia was victorious. They met again in the best of three finals series and once again Astralia won both matches however Australia A was closest in the first final when Ian Healy scored the winning runs for Australia off the last ball of the 50th over.
The series had a few notable controversies:
The matches in involving Australia A were not One Day Internationals but instead had List A status.
Paul Reiffell, who was the leading wicket taker for Australia A, was drafted into the Australia team for the finals and was made 12th man so did not play.
The idea of touring national teams playing Australia and Australia 2nd XI wasn’t greatly received and the idea was shelved.
9. Quadrangular A Team One Day Series, Darwin July 2014
For many years Cricket Australia have run an Emerging Players Tournament from the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane, usually inviting a couple of another nations to send along a team of up and comers to test themselves out against one another in the cricket off-season of July-August.
In 2014 Cricket Australia revived memories of 1994/95 by holding Quadrangular A Team limited overs series featuring India A, South Africa A, Australia A and NPS in Darwin.
The NPS (National Performance Squad) not to be confused with the NSP (National Selection Panel) another important TLA (Three Letter Acronym) from CA (Cricket Australia) regularly heard within the COE (Centre of Excellence)
The NPS consisted of younger, up and coming players who hadn’t made the Australia A team and I guess is just a new term for EP (Emerging Players) but it’s hard to think it’s not the Underperforming Squad when Alex Keath captained the team for a game….
Back to the cricket, NPS defeated Australia A in the first of two games in Darwin. It wasn’t even close with the NSP winning by 52 runs however it was their only win of the tournament.
Strong performances by Sean Abbott in this series lead to him being selected for Australian limited overs honours in Dubai few months later.
Also the rarely seen 3rd place playoff was back with the NPS losing to India A
8. Australia v Australia A, SCG, 14 December 1997
Three years after the quadrangle experiment in 1994/95 it was decided it would be a good idea to revive the Australia v Australia A concept.
It was a particularly fractured time to do so given that Australia had for the first time in 1997 decided to go with separate one day and Test captains on a permanent basis: Mark Taylor was Test skipper and Steve Waugh was one day captain.
Ian Healy had also been dropped from the one day side for Adam Gilchrist but remained as Test keeper and played in this match as the Australia A keeper.
Australia won, making their record against Australia A 5-0
Australia A were held together by Darren Lehmann’s 84* and similarly Ricky Ponting guided Australia’s successful chase of 204 with an over to spare by scoring 79*
11,000 fans obliged at the SCG and Australia v Australia A games haven’t been part of the summer since.
7. Australian Cricket Academy v Australia, Adelaide Oval, 17 October 1997
For the 10 year anniversary of the Australian Cricket Academy a match was played a the Adelaide Oval between the Cricket Academy and Australia.
The Cricket Academy XI batted first and boasting a batting line up of Michael Slater, Adam Gilchrist, Greg Blewett, Stuart Law and Ricky Ponting ran up a total of 277.
Led by fast bowlers Paul “Blocker” Wilson (now an international umpire) and a young Brett Lee, 2 years before his test debut when he was still Shane Lee’s brother, the Academy team reduced Australia to 5 for 77.
Enter Micahel Bevan.
Bevan scored 130 off 129 balls to single-handedly save Australia’s blushes – the next highest score was 32. The match ended in a tie after number 10 Adam Dale (remember him) hit the last ball of the match for 4.
The names that stick out in the Cricket Academy XI are Dan Marsh as he was the only one not to go on to represent Australia and I’m pretty sure Michael Kasprowicz didn’t go to the Cricket Academy.
Here is Brett Lee dismissing Steve Waugh and his brother Shane Lee in the same over.
6. New South Wales v Australia, North Sydney Oval, 18 February 1992
This match was a warm up match for the 1992 World Cup. The New South Wales line up included Australian World Cup squad members Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh and Mike Whitney, experienced Australian players Greg Matthews and Geoff Lawson and a young Michael Bevan.
Batting first Australia made 277 thanks to a David Boon century and some late hitting by Tom Moody. All 4 wickets to fall were taken by New South Wales stalwart Brad ‘Burger Flipper’ McNamara.
In reply it was the lesser known Steve Small who led the way for New South Wales opening the batting with a run a ball hundred. Over to Cricinfo to describe the finish:
“Scores were level after 49.2 overs of NSW’s innings. No run was scored on the third ball and wickets fell on each of the final three balls of the match ([Greg] Matthews being run out attempting the winning run off the final delivery).”
The result was a tie, 277 runs apiece. Remarkably the same score as the Cricket Academy v Australia game 5 years later.
Some other notable games of Australia playing with itself in warm up matches:
A warm up match for Australia’s tour of Sri Lanka which soon followed. Strangely the two NT players were put into the Australian XI captained by Allan Border.
The Chief Minister’s XI did inlcude one Territorian – Damien Martyn, who was born in Darwin.
It was Martyn (83) and South Australian keeper Tim Neilsen with a run a ball 40 that secured victory for the Chief Ministers XI over Australia. Shane Warne copped a bit of tap too: 9-0-67-0.
A practice match in preparation for Australia’s tour of Zimbabwe. Steve Waugh’s team was basically the 1999 World Cup winning team and Healy’s was the rest. Despite Michael Slater making a century for the Healy XI, the Waugh XI were too strong.
The day Victoria nearly upset Australia. A full strength Australian team, including Victorian’s Shane Warne and Ian Harvey, played this match as preparation for the ODI tri-series starting a few days later.
Australia scored 271 off their 50 overs with Damien Martyn allowed to bat twice. In reply Victoria was led by 84 to Matthew Elliott and fell just 3 runs short of victory – all out for 269 in 49.1 overs.
D. Queensland v Australia, Allan Border Field, 1 August 2014
The Queensland side was bolstered by some Australian players and Dave Warner made headlines for refusing to wear the Queensland Bulls uniform when offered by Queensland coach Stuart Law. It was a bit of a beat up really as explained in the Courier Mail:
Cricket Australia officials were at pains to point out that all non-Queenslanders in the Bulls line-up wore Australian training apparel.
The ‘Queensland’ side containing Warner (84 off 60 balls) finished on 9-345 off 45 overs, with Bulls batsman Joe Burns hitting 117 off 102 balls at the tiny Allan Border Field.
In response, Australia got off to a strong start thanks to Aaron Finch (90 off 66 balls), and some late big hitting from Steve Smith (66 not out off 40 balls) and James Faulkner (43 not out off 16 balls) got Darren Lehmann’s men over the line.
Young all-rounder Mitchell Marsh (2-24) bowled well at the death and backed that up with the bat, hitting 42 runs.