July 10, 2011

England cricket

Australian smashes 358 in 40 overs

Cricinfo

Vithushan Ehantharajah

Ashley Gray surpassed The Don  © Getty Images
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Ashley Gray, a 19-year-old batsman from Queensland, smashed 358 not out in 40 overs, and a clutch of records in a cup match last month in the Home Park grounds of Windsor Castle.

Her Majesty’s grounds were treated to an onslaught from her Australian subject, who helped his team – Royal Household Cricket Club – beat Tambler Valley Ramblers by the small matter of 334 runs.

Gray led them to an astonishing 454 for 1 from 40 overs, smashing 34 sixes and 26 fours on his way to his 358, which surpassed the previous record of 177 not out by a fair way. Gray normally plays for Old Actonians Cricket Club in the Middlesex Championship, as their designated overseas player, and was in shock after his mammoth innings.

“I’m still pinching myself now,” he said. “I was hitting them well, but I never thought I’d get 358 not out. I beat my personal best of 200, which I had made only a couple of weeks back in a league match and offered to retire after 30 overs (while on 240). But my teammates told me to go on and I didn’t really look back!”

As well as getting his name (and picture) on the honours board, he also goes down as one half of the highest opening stand for RHCC, putting on 354 for the first wicket with fellow opener David Skirrow, who contributed a rather paltry 75. Word of Gray’s exploits reached home - where he plays for the Sunshine Coast Scorchers – and he was featured live on Melbourne’s Radio Sport National network.

While the Royal Household Cricket Club regularly hosts international stars – past and present – in exhibition matches (Andrew Strauss, Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey played there in July of last year), this looks to be one record that may stand the test of time.

“It’s such an honour to have my name on the board of such a prestigious club,” he said. “Even to get a score in excess of 300 is an amazing feeling; when I got past 334 I couldn’t help but think of Don Bradman. It goes without saying that he is on another planet, but it felt pretty special.”

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.