2014/15 Sheffield Shield Round Up 8

The results

South Australia v Tasmania, Glenelg Oval, Adelaide

Tasmania made another string of changes after their shelacking against Queensland in Hobart last round. To accommodate the out of form captain Alex Doolan dropping down the batting order from number 3 to number 5, Tasmania re-jigged there top order with Jordan Silk batting at number 3 and Dom Michael opening with Ed Cowan.

Tasmania batted first and the reshuffled order worked with all 4 batsmen making half centuries. Dom Michael was dismissed just 3 runs shy of a maiden first class hundred and was one of three victims of the occasional off spin of new Redback’s skipper Travis Head. Tasmania managed a total of 364.

In reply South Australia started calamitously with their top 3 all dismissed for ducks to leave the team reeling at 3/2. Tom Cooper (104) and Travis Head (50) righted the innings and thanks to some lower orders runs to Joe Mennie (58) South Australia were dismissed for 295. Best for Tasmania was Jackson Bird with 4 wickets.

In Tasmania’s second innings Beau Webster and Alex Doolan both made half centuries as the Tigers declared with a lead of 288 and gave South Australia two and a half sessions to chase down the target.

Thanks to a brilliant century to Cal Ferguson and a late order 47 off 38 balls to Adam Zampa South Australia chased down the difficult target to win the match.

Points: South Australia 7.36, Tasmania 0.57

Victoria v Queensland, Traegar Park, Alice Springs

Victoria took it’s home match to the Northern Territory and tasted success at their temporary home. David Hussey returned to the line up after a successful Futures League outing replacing Cameron White who was surprisingly made 12th man.

Batting first Queensland were dismissed for 207 with Joe Burns playing a lone hand with 86. For the Bushrangers leg spinner Fawad Ahmed took 5 for 50 and James Pattinson took 3 for 34.

In reply Victoria managed 389 thanks to a century to Rob Quiney and half centuries to Marcus Stoinis and peter Handscomb. Queensland all rounder Michael Phillipson put in a remarkable effort taking 7/106 off 30 overs.

Batting again the Bulls were blown away for 168 with Peter Forrest making nearly half of those runs with 82. Peter Siddle lead the way for the Vics with 3 wickets, Jon Holland and Fawad Ahmed also picked up two wickets each.

Victoria won by an innings and 14 runs inside 3 days, arresting a worrying form slump post BBL. The only negative note for Victoria was James Pattinson bowled just 8 overs in Queensland’s second innings due to a hamstring strain.

Points: Victoria 8.68, Queensland 0.57

New South Wales v Western Australia, Newcastle

New South Wales batted first and were in a lot of trouble until keeper Peter Neville (112) found an unlikely ally in Number 9 Gurindher Sandhu who made 77 to lead the Blues to 345 all out. Débutante WA fast bowler David Moody , nephew of Tom, was the pick of the bowlers with 4 wickets.

In reply the Warriors were rocked by a pair of run outs to Kurtis Patterson in the space of 5 overs to dismiss Marcus Harris and Michael Klinger. Adam Voges continued his fine form with 87 and he was ably supported by wicket keeper Sam Whiteman with 74. Nathan Lyon took 3 wickets to be the pick of the NSW bowlers as the Warriors were dismissed for 300.

New South Wales second innings collapsed spectacularly with only Scott Henry (43) providing resistance as the Blues were rolled for 97. David Moody impressed again with 3 wickets and Ashton Agar returned the miserly figures of 20-9-22-4.

This left WA the relatively straight forward task of chasing 143 runs for victory in over 2 sessions. As has been the pattern this season it was the veterans Klinger and Voges who did the heavy lifting in the run chase and Voges finished with an unbeaten half century.

In his 54* Voges past 1000 runs in a Shield season for the first time. He is the first batsmen in 6 seasons to reach the milestone; the last batsmen to achieve the feat were Michael Klinger (1205) and Chris Rogers (1195) in 2008/09.

Points: Western Australia 7.27, New South Wales 1.42

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The points table

Western Australia 41.21
Victoria 39.49
New South Wales 37.01
Queensland 30.61
Tasmania 25.74
South Australia 24.61

Leading run scorers

Player State Matches Innings Not out Runs Highest Average 100 50
AC Voges WA 8 15 6 1031 249 114.55 5 3
M Klinger WA 8 15 2 788 190 60.61 3 3
EJM Cowan TAS 8 15 0 761 158 50.73 4 2
CJ Ferguson SA 8 15 3 713 140 59.41 3 3
PM Nevill NSW 8 12 4 677 235* 84.62 2 3
JA Burns QLD 8 13 1 597 183 49.75 1 4
MP Stoinis VIC 7 12 1 566 99 51.45 0 6
CT Bancroft WA 8 14 0 560 132 40 2 2
TLW Cooper SA 8 15 2 544 121 41.84 2 3
SE Marsh WA 8 12 3 528 134* 58.66 2 2

Leading wicket takers

Player State Matches Wickets Average Economy Strike rate
Fawad Ahmed VIC 8 32 28.46 3.5 48.6
AL Fekete TAS 8 29 24.24 3.07 47.3
NJ Rimmington WA 7 26 22.26 2.85 46.7
SNJ O’Keefe NSW 7 23 19.65 2.18 53.8
JR Hopes QLD 7 22 20.04 2.01 59.6
AC Agar WA 6 22 28.81 3.25 53
SA Abbott NSW 6 21 23.33 3.5 39.9
MG Hogan WA 6 21 29.66 2.78 63.9
SP Mackin WA 6 20 27.75 3.21 51.8
DE Bollinger NSW 6 29 26.77 3.11 51.6

 

Moving games

The World Cup has necessitated the moving of Shield matches away from traditional first class venues. Queensland and South Australia have chosen to use suburban venues not far from there capital city home bases. New South Wales has taken their matches to regional areas – Wagga Wagga and Newcastle – as well as suburban Bankstown Oval.

Victoria on the other hand have played politics with the moving of their home Shield matches. To get funding for an upgrade of the Junction Oval, Cricket Victoria have stated that there are no grounds in Victoria up to first class standard other than the MCG. Hmm, interesting considering Afghanistan and UAE played a World Cup warm up match at the Junction Oval in February.

Consequently all three Victorian home games have been moved interstate. Playing two games in Alice Springs is understandable to an extent but in this coming round Victoria play a ‘home’ game against South Australia at Glenelg Oval in Adelaide. If Cricket Victoria had not played politics this match could have been played in regional Victoria in places like Ballarat, Bendigo, Traralgon or even Geelong.

Newcastle,Wagga Wagga and Alice Springs can host Shield cricket; I’m sure Victorian regional centres have facilities of a similar standard and can likewise host first class cricket.

Cricket Victoria needs to think about playing Cricket IN Victoria.

The XI

1. Rob Quiney (Victoria)

Quiney scored his 10th first class hundred in Alice Springs.

2. Dom Micahel (Tasmania)

Michael was thrust in as opener in the Tigers batting reshuffle and responded with 97, just shy of his maiden first class hundred.

3. Cal Ferguson (South Australia)

Ferguson’s final innings 117 lead South Australia to a successful run chase

4. Tom Cooper (South Australia)

Cooper held together the Redbacks first innings with 102.

5. Adam Voges (Western Australia)

A pair of half centuries to the WA skipper guided his team to victory and continues his amazing run of good form.

6. Peter Neville (New South Wales) +

Made a fist innings century that kept the Blues in the match, and completed sa stumping to dismiss his opposite number, Sam Whiteman.

7. Michael Phillipson (Queensland)

A great allround display taking 7 wickets and making 70 odd runs. A name to look out for in coming seasons

8. Ashton Agar (Western Australia)

Captured 4 second innings wickets against New South Wales to help dismiss them for 97 and set WA on the path to victory.

9. Jackson Bird (Tasmania)

Bird took 5 wickets for the match against South Australia and has been steadily improving since his return from injury.

10. David Moody (Western Australia)

The pace bowler made a fine debut taking 7 wickets which didn’t include any cheap tail end wickets. In the first innings it was 4 wickets in the top 6 and he removed the top 3 in the second innings.

11. Fawad Ahmed (Victoria)

The legspinner returned to form with 5/50 in Queensland’s first innings and followed up with another 2 in the second innings.

The round ahead

Matches start on Thursday

New South Wales v Tasmania, Bankstown Oval, Sydney

Queensland v Western Australia, Allan Border Field, Brisbane

Victoria v South Australia, Glenelg Oval, Adelaide

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2014/15 Sheffield Shield Round Up 7

The results

New South Wales v Victoria

In a low scoring affair at Robertson Oval in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales scored an outright victory and Victoria were consigned to their second 3 day outright defeat in a fortnight.

Batting first New South Wales were bundled out for just 206 but in reply Victoria were blown away for just 114 in 47 overs with spin doing most of the damage. Nathan Lyon took 3 wickets and Steve O’Keefe 4 before Doug Bollinger claimed a hatrick to clean up the Victorian tail. Marcus Stoinis played a lone hand making 56% of the Bushrangers runs with 64.

In the second innings the Blues were held together by Nic Maddinson’s 93, the highest score of the match, and were all out for 233 in 50 overs.  This set the Vics a victory target of 326 but they were dismissed for 169 with Peter Handscomb providing the only resistance with 66. Spin was the key again, with Lyon and O’Keefe each claiming 4 wickets.

Points: New South Wales 7.56, Victoria 1.50

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Tasmania v Queensland

This game was even shorter wrapped up in two days as Tasmania crashed to an humiliating innings defeat. In selection news Tim Paine returned to keeping duties for the Tigers and fast bowler Mark Steketee debuted for Queensland.

Tasmania batted first and despite a fine 71 to Ben Dunk were dismissed for 149. James Hopes was the pick of the Queensland bowlers with 4 wickets. In reply Queensland started with a century opening partnership thanks to half centuries to Chris Hemphreys and Joe Burns. However they then slumped to 7 for 181 before skipper James Hopes righted the ship for the Bulls.

Hopes scored 98 off 79 balls with 12 fours and 2 sixes and lead the Bulls to 320. Jackson Bird (remember him?) took 4 wickets for Tasmania.

Facing a defecit of 171 on the first innings, Tasmania were run through by débutante Stekete with 4/33 and second gamer Simon Milenko with 5/15 off 10 overs. The Tigers were all out for 121 to lose by an innings and 50 runs.

Ducks galore in this match with 3 first ball ducks and 3 second ball ducks in amongst 9 ducks in total. Ed Cowan made a pair and Tasmania need to have a good look at their batting order.

Points: Queensland 8.30, Tasmania 1.50

South Australia v Western Australia

In complete contrast to the other two low scoring matches that finished days early this match in the Adelaide suburb of Glenelg was a high scoring, thrilling draw.

South Australia batted first and ran up a total  of 469 that unusually contained no individual century makers but five half centuries. The best was Tom Cooper’s 83 whilst for the Warriors Ashton Agar took 5/133.

In reply Western Australia posted 633 all out with their first innings not finishing until the morning of the final day. Like the last round, the Western Australian innings was anchored by the two veterans in the century making form of their careers – Adam Voges and Michael Klinger. Both went big with Klinger making 151 and Voges 249 as they shared a 309 run partnership. The only other run scorer of note was Ashton Agar who made a rapid half century with 64 off 47 balls.

South Australia were 171 runs behind on the first innings and looked in deep trouble in their second innings when they slipped to 9/171. Enter Adam Zampa, the number 9 batsmen who made 75 and used up a valuable 20 overs in a last wicket partnership of 67 with Garry Putland. Ashton Agar was the destroyer with the ball claiming another 5 wickets, 5/81 off 30 overs, to achieve his maiden 10 wicket haul in first class cricket.

This left the Warriors chasing 75 in 9 overs for victory and they almost made it. T20 hitter Shaun Marsh opened the innings and reduced the target to 15 required from the last over. Despite hitting a six and scrambling some singles and two’s the Warriors needed 4 off the last ball but could manage only a single to fall 3 runs short of victory; Marsh had scored 44 off 29 balls.

Points: Western Australia 2.79, South Australia 2.21

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Points table

New South Wales 35.59
Western Australia 33.94
Victoria 30.81
Queensland 30.04
Tasmania 23.60
South Australia 17.25

Futures League

There were some interesting performances in the Victoria v Tasmania Futures League match played during this Shield round.

Opener Travis Dean made 187* not out in Victoria’s first innings of 3/381 declared. Tasmanian skipper Jonathan Wells took 3/43 off 7 overs of what looks to have been deceleration bowling.

Wells then took a more familiar position at the crease and made 128 opening for the Tigers U23s. James Pattinson continues his managed program of bowling and took 3/45 off 15 overs.

In Victoria’s second innings captain Dave Hussey scored 167 on his return to cricket after a broken hand in the BBL.

The XI

1. Mark Cosgrove (South Australia)

In a poor round for openers, Cosgrove top scored with 74.

2. Nic Maddinson (New South Wales)

93 was the highest score at Wagga by a fair margin, Maddinson showed he is more than a BBL slogger.

3. Michael Klinger (Western Australia)

The run machine delivered again for the Warriors, this time 151.

4. Adam Voges(Western Australia)

The rich vein of century scoring form continues this time with 249 against South Australia

5. Peter Neville (New South Wales) +

Neville made a vital half century in a low scoring tussle against Victoria.

6. James Hopes (Queensland)

Hopes loves some late season form and for the past 2 season’s has played his best cricket post BBL. Here he made 98 and took 4 first innings wickets.

7. Ashton Agar (Western Australia)

Agar took his first 10 wicket haul with 5-fers in both innings.

8. Steve O’Keefe (New South Wales)

Two 4 wicket hauls meant meant match figures of 8/86 for the one test player.

9. Simon Milenko (Queensland)

Milenko took his first 5 wicket haul in just his second match. 5/15 off 10 overs – good figures.

10. Nathan Lyon (New South Wales)

Part of the spin twins that accounted fro Victoria, 7 wickets for Lyon.

11. Doug Bollinger (New South Wales)

A hatrick against Victoria, well bowled Dougie.

The round ahead

Shield cricket ventures to Alice Springs and returns to Newcastle

Starting Tuesday

South Australia v Tasmania, Glenelg Oval

Starting Wednesday

New South Wales v Western Australia, Newcastle

Victoria v Queensland, Alice Springs

Cricket World Cup thoughts

Here are a few of my World Cup thoughts that have appeared elsewhere:

Fixing the World Cup format

The biggest problem with the cricket World Cup is its format.

Two groups of seven teams with the top four qualifying for the quarter finals is junk. With six group stage games, three wins should see you through to the knock out rounds.

There is too little riding on each of the group games with qualification for the quarter finals too easy to achieve. It makes the group stage a phoney war. Having weaker nations play six games each is also far from ideal as it diminishes the quality of the product on offer.

Read my solution and a new World Cup format here:

http://dennisdoescricket.com/fixing-world-cup-format/

And over at The Roar this one has got 5000 reads already

Where’s the Cricket World Cup on free-to-air?

So after a big summer of cricket on Channel Nine and Channel Ten, we have the 2015 Cricket World Cup beginning.

Read more here:

http://www.theroar.com.au/2015/02/10/channel-nine-drop-the-ball-again-for-the-cricket-world-cup/

2014/15 Sheffield Shield Round Up 6

The 2014/15 domestic cricket season enters its fourth and final phase as the Sheffield Shield returns after a hiatus for another successful Big Bash season in BBL|04.

Coaching changes

A number of coaching changes have taken place after the BBL.

Darren Berry has stepped down as coach of South Australia on indefinite family leave. Assistant coach Jeff Vaughan currently has the reigns. Also South African captain of South Australia, Johan Botha has been replaced by 21 year old batsmen Travis Head. It is somewhat surprising to change captaincy half way through a season. Botha was not selected for the match against Western Australia and his contract will not be extended at season’s end.

In Queensland, Bulls and Brisbane Heat coach Stuart Law was sacked after the Heat finished last in the BBL and the Bulls sit on the bottom of the Shield table at the half way point of the season. Law was said to have lost the support of the players and has been replaced by interim coach Justin Sternes. Sternes has been part of the Queensland coaching set up for 15 years and is on his third stint as interim coach following similar roles in 2010 when Trevor Barsby departed and 2013 when Darren Lehmann took on the Australian job.

The games

Queensland v Victoria, Gabba

Queensland handed debuts to three players: opener Charlie Hemphrey, Michael Phillipson and Simon Milenko.

Batting first Victoria struggled to 260 all out thanks to a fighting 152 to captain Matthew Wade. It was his highest first class score and he held together the Bushrangers innings coming in at 4/31 and being last man out. The best bowler for Queensland was one test player Peter George who took 5/78.

In reply Queensland stumbled to 3/7 thanks to 2 wickets to James Pattinson. Then Chris Lynn took over. In his first Shield match of the season due to shoulder surgery in the off season, Lynn batted all day on Day 2 to score 250. He was supported by a fine 123 to keeper Chris Hartley, his 9th first class century, as Queenslands innings closed on 512.

James Pattinson was the pick of the Victorian bowlers with 4/96. It was his first match since injuring himself in the Test series in South Africa almost 12 months ago.

In their second innings the Bushrangers folded for 239 with only Chris Rogers and Wade offering resistance with half centuries. Queensland débutante allrounders Simon Milenko and Michael Phillipson shared 5 wickets between them.

Points: Queensland  9.56, Victoria 1.1

Tasmania v New South Wales, Bellerive Oval

For Tasmania, Tim Paine remains on the outer in 4 day cricket with Ben Dunk once again taking the gloves. All rounder Luke Butterworth made his long awaited return form injury to play his first match this season. In the absence of George Bailey, Xavier Doherty and Paine, Alex Doolan captained Tasmania (and made a 7 ball duck.)

Tasmania batted first and were dismissed for 272. Ed Cowan continued his fine form at the top of the order with 76, whilst at the opposite end of the order, number 9, Ben Hilfenhaus recorded a rare half century making 52.

In reply New South Wales were in deep trouble at 5/66. Enter wicket keeper Peter Neville. He scored 235 not out to guide NSW out of danger and to a commanding 9 declared for 576. He was ably supported by the tail in Steve O’Keeffe, who was dismissed for 99 just one short of a maiden first class century, and Doug Bollinger who chipped in with 41* at number 10, his highest first class score in 100 matches.

For Tasmania Jackson Bird and Ben Hilfenhaus took 3 wickets apiece.

In it’s second innings Tasmania were looking well placed to hold on for a draw at 1/148 but then Doug Bollinger dismissed opener Jordan Silk for 71 sparking a spectacular collapse. Tasmania lost it’s last 9 wickets for 65 to be all out for 213. Bollinger cleaned up with 5/56.

Points: New South Wales 8.91, Tasmania 1.72

 

Western Australia v South Australia, WACA

Travis Head took on the captaincy of the Redbacks and they compiled 328 thanks to 80’s in the top order to Mark Cosgrove and Callum Ferguson, a player who, I believe, was surprisingly overlooked for the state captaincy position.

Western Australia’s reply was based around it’s two veterans Michael Klinger, who made 190 and Adam Voges who made 101. For Voges it was his 3rd ton in 3 innings and 4th ton in his last 5 innings.

Western Australia were eventually dismissed for 467 with he only sour note being fast bowler Ryan Duffield breaking his thumb whilst batting – an injury that could sideline him for the rest of the season.

South Australia’s second innings was held together by another 80 to Cal Ferguson and a half century to Travis Head. But the Redbacks were dismissed for 260 with Michael Hogan the pick of the WA bowlers with 4/64 leaving the Warriors needing just 122 to win outright.

The Warriors ran down the victory target with ease in just 22 overs.

Points: Western Australia 9.14,  South Australia 1.28

The Points Table

 

Team Points
Western Australia 31.15
Victoria 29.31
New South Wales 28.03
Tasmania 22.1
Queensland 21.34
South Australia 15.04

 The XI

1. Ed Cowan (Tasmania)

In a bad round for openers, Cowan was the top scorere with 76

2. Michael Klinger (Western Australia)

190 runs for the 3 state veteran. He has proved his worth yet again.

3. Adam Voges (Western Australia)

Brought up his 3rd consecutive ton with 101 at the WACA

4. Chris Lynn (Queensland)

250 runs and batting throughout Day 2 in his first game of Shield cricket this season

5. Matthew Wade (Victoria)

152 for the Vics captain, his highest first class score

6. Chris Hartley (Queensland)

123 for Hartley his 9th first class ton

7. Peter Neville (new South Wales) +

235 for Neville, his highest first class score.

8. Steve O’Keefe (New South Wales)

Only picked up 3 wickets in the match but made 99 – missing his maiden first class hundred by just 1 run.

9. Micahel Hogan (Western Australia)

4 wickets in South Australia’s second innings went a long way to securing victory for WA

10. Doug Bollinger (New South Wales)

Ran through the Tasmanian batting order it eh second innings with 5/56 to take 7 wickets for the match and chipped in with 41* with the bat.

11. Peter George (Queensland)

George put the Vics on the back foot early with 5/78 in their first innings and took another 2 wickets in the second innings.

 

The round ahead

The World Cup begins so some Shield matches move to regional or suburban venues. Also different starting days for the first time in two seasons.

Starting Sunday

New South Wales v at Robertson Oval, Wagga Wagga

Starting Monday

Tasmania v Queensland at Bellerive

South Australia v Victoria at Glenelg Oval, Adelaide

Unusual Limited Overs Matches in Australia – Appendix

Miscellaneous charity matches, tour matches and other oddities

1. Bushfire Appeal Match, NSW Invitational XI v South Africa, SCG, 18 January 1994

This match was played for the victims of the Sydney bushfires that raged from January 6 to 10, 1994.

The New South Wales Invitational XI was pretty close to an Australian line up with the top 6 featuring Taylor, Slateer, M Waugh, S Waugh and a young Michael Bevan. The ‘Invitational’ part was the fact that two non-New SOuth Welshamn bolstered the ranks.

The ring ins were Australian captain Allan Border who, despite being born, raised and making his first class debut for NSW was, by this time, a proud Queenslander and Merv Hughes. Yes staunchly Victorian Merv Hughes played for New South Wales – hard to imagine!

The only player within the NSW side not to play for Australia at some stage in their career was 1993 Ashes tourist and fast bowling cult hero, Wayne ‘Cracker’ Holdsworth.

Despite the strength of the New South Wales line up South Africa were too strong and won convincingly in front of 11,000 spectators.

In contrast to a lot of other charity matches this was a List A match.

2. Victorian Bushfire Appeal Match, Australia’s Big Bash, SCG, 22 Febraury 2009

This match was played as a fund raiser for the Red Cross Appeal for the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria in 2009.

Steve Waugh and Mark Taylor captained there respective sides in this T20 match using pink balls. The teams were made up of cricketers past and present both male and female plus footballers form various codes, a couple of pro surfers and Shannon Noll and Peter Garrett.

Despite the cause and big names playing in the match it wasn’t televised.

Steve Waugh slog sweeps the pink ball
Steve Waugh slog sweeps the pink ball

TAYLOR XI: Mark Taylor , Michael Slater, Lisa Sthalekar, Mick Fanning, Beau Casson, Lote Tuqiri, Joel Parkinson, Barry Hall, Matthew Burke, Anthony Minichiello, Moises Henriques, Jay Marmont. Coaches: Ricky Stuart and Laurie Daley.

WAUGH XI: Steve Waugh , Shannon Noll, Ellyse Perry, Anthony Mundine, Peter Garrett, Braith Anasta, Phil Waugh, Robbie Farah, Glenn McGrath, Matthew Hayden, John Aloisi, David Warner, Nathan Bracken. Coach: Robbie Deans.

3. Bradman XI v England, Bradman Oval, Bowral, 8 January 2003

Mark Waugh never had a testimonial match when he was omitted form the 2002/03 Ashes squad and promptly announced his retirement from international cricket in October 2002.

Mark Waugh and Jamie Cox in their state helmets for the Bradman XI
Mark Waugh and Jamie Cox in their state helmets for the Bradman XI

Waugh continued to play for NSW and turned this tour match against England into his own tribute match, captaining the side and producing a mach winning century.

With this match played just 2 days after the 5th test England rested most of it’s Test players and was captained by allrounder Ronnie Irani, who had an infamous 2002/03 one day series. Batting first England made 8/279 of their 50 overs.

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White ball and white clothing? No problem.

The Bradman XI innings was all about Mark Waugh.

Defying poor light and playing through light mist he compiled an unbeaten 108 to lead the Bradman XI to victory.

Waugh brought up his century off 92 balls with a six over extra cover off the hapless Irani. In near darkness, Waugh closed the match with another six, this one off  the gentle bowling of Nick Knight.

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Mark Waugh leaves the ground after his match winning century.

The Bradman XI is or was a curious team. They played each touring England team at Bradman Oval in Bowral between 1990 and 2003 but only played one other touring side – South Africa in 1998.

4. Australian Country XI, 1986 – 2003

Each January the best country cricketers from each state compete against one another in a 10 day championship. The NSW country XI play the Victorian Country XI and the Queensland Country XI and so on. At the end of the carnival the Australian Country XI is named.

This continues to the present day with the Australian Country Championships held in Bendigo in January 2015.

From 1986 to 2003 the reward for being named in the Australian Country XI was a match against one of the international touring teams usually in a regional centre. If the touring teams were not available the Country XI had to settle for a match against a state side.

One of the more memorable results was the Australian Country XI defeated India in a World Cup Warm up match at the Lake Oval in Melbourne.

30 overs in, India was cruising toward victory chasing a small target but then rain intervened and brought an end to the game. The ‘highest scoring overs’ formula to be used in the World Cup, the Country XI’s best 30 scoring overs were combined to leave India 25 runs short of victory.

Perhaps then alarm bells should have been ringing about the dangers of the highest scoring overs rule for rain affected matches.

As an aside on the venue, the Lake Oval was the home of South Melbourne Football Club (now Sydney Swans) until 1981 and South Melbourne Cricket Club until 1994.

Two years after the World Cup warm up match the cricket was banished from the Lake Oval with the cricket pitch removed and the ground redeveloped into a soccer stadium for South Melbourne Hellas.

5. Prime Minister’s  XI v ATSIC Chairman’s XI, 2001, 2002, 2003

The annual Prime Ministers XI one day match against an international touring team held at Manuka Oval in Canberra is well known and dates back to 1951 with matches played regularly since 1984.

What is less well known that the only other matches the Prime Ministers XI played an annual one day match against an Indigenous team, the Australian and Torres Straight Islanders Commission Chairman’s XI in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

The first match in 2001 was played as a Centenary of Federation event to commemorate the 1868 Aboriginal team that was the first representative team from Australia to tour England. It was the brainchild of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission chairman Geoff Clark and was embraced by the Prime Minister John Howard, who hosted the teams at the Lodge.

The inaugural match for the Johnny Mullagh Trophy was a 40 over match played on April 19th, 2001 at Manuka Oval. The PM’s XI was captained by Steve Waugh and included Belinda Clark and Joe Hockey (who made a golden duck.) The ATSIC Chairman’s XI, captained by Jason Gillespie and including Kyle Vander Kuyp and Geoff Clark, successfully chased 195 in the 40th over for victory.

The ATSIC Chairman XI in the field in replica uniforms form the 1868 Aboriginal tema to England. Geoff Clark looking like WG Grace in the background.
The ATSIC Chairman XI in the field in replica uniforms form the 1868 Aboriginal team to England. Geoff Clark looking like WG Grace in the background.

The second installment on March 8th 2002 was also at Manuka Oval but didn’t feature Australian players with the PM’s XI made up of first class cricketers and the ATSIC Chairman’s XI contained indigenous players.

The third  match on March 21 2003 was held at Adelaide Oval with Mark Cosgrove scoring a century to lead the PM’s XI to victory.

Despite promising it would be an annual event on the cricket calendar and a showcase for reconciliation the Prime Minister’s XI v ATSIC Chairman’s XI cricket match was short lived because the Government decided to scrap ATSIC in 2004.

6. Old Australia XI v Old England XI, April 1988

Before the charity and testimonial matches and the ‘masters’ tours of the 1990’s the Old England XI toured Australia to play three matches against an Old Australia XI in April 1988.

The Old England XI featured names like Bob Woolmer, Tony Grieg, Derek Underwood and Bob Willis whilst the Old Australia XI contained the recently retired Greg Chappell, Rod Marsh and Denis Lillee plus Doug Walters, Max Walker and Kerry O’Keefe. Curiously the Old Australia XI also included 33 year old David Hookes who was still playing first class cricket for South Australia.

The three matches were played on the April 10th at the WACA, April 13th at Adelaide Oval and April 17th at the Gabba.

The timing was a little odd, the 6 month cricket season has just concluded by April and most sports fans thoughts have turned to football codes by this time of year.

7. Beach Cricket, January 2007, 2008 & 2009

Remember this?

In a made for TV product, Channel 10 launched the XXXX Gold Beach Cricket Tri-series in January 2007. Matches played at beaches around Australia with teams featuring retired players from years past.

The 2007 series featured Australia, England and West Indies with England victorious and matches played at Scarborough beach Perth, Coolangatta beach on the Gold Coast and Maroubra beach in Sydney.

In 2008 the competing nations were Australia, England and New Zealand and Glenelg Beach in Adelaide

By 2009 all matches were played at Coolangatta beach on the Gold Coast with New Zealand having he better of Australia and South Africa.

It is interesting to note that the commentators used by Channel 10 for their beach cricket coverage were Andy Maher and Mark Howard, the same commentators that are now used in the networks Big Bash coverage. Was Beach Cricket a trial run for getting the Big Bash onto Channel 10?