Third Prudential Trophy Match

ENGLAND v AUSTRALIA 1977

At The Oval, June 6. Australia won by two wickets with 10 balls to spare at 8.15 p.m. The final stages were played in heavy rain against a blinding low sun at the Vauxhall End with pools of water in the middle. So Australia avenged their defeats at Old Trafford and Edgbaston thinks almost entirely to brilliance of their captain, Greg Chappell, who made 125 not out. He received splendid help from Robinson in a stand of 148. Just as this pair contributed so much with the bat for Australia, so did Amiss (108) and his captain, Brearley (78), for England at the beginning of the exciting contest. Their opening stand extended to the 38th over and produced 161 runs out of a final total of 242.

Despite a forecast of bad weather and a gloomy morning, Chappell, winning the toss, sent in England to bat and soon a large Bank Holiday crowd were entertained with some brisk batting which yielded 44 from the first ten overs. Thomson and Pascoe concentrated more on length and direction than excessive pace but apart from a difficult chance by Brearley when 23 off Pascoe to Thomson at first slip the batsmen generally played soundly with attractive cover drives and strokes past mid-wicket.

The stand ended when Brearley moved far out of his crease to drive O'Keeffe and left Robinson a simple stumping. Only 17 overs remained, but apart from Old the other batsmen did not try to settle down before attempting to hit. Amiss went on to complete his second Prudential hundred against Australia and was seventh out in the 50th over.

It was significant that except for putting himself on for the last over, Chappell preferred to reserve his energy for batting and how wise this proved. So far the threatened rain had held off and with some sunshine the light had been good; moreover it was a good pitch for batting, unlike those in the two previous one-day Internationals.

Australia suffered a set-back at 33 when McCosker was leg before in the 10th over, but Robinson had begun soundly and Chappell lost no time in finding a powerful range of strokes, and one over by Old cost 16. Both men drove well and Robinson hooked Lever for 6, but with the total 83 for one teeming rain held up the match for an hour. As the weather cleared the captains agreed to complete the match that evening (if possible) which was sensible seeing the morrow was Jubilee Day.

Underwood put in a grand spell at the crisis, but though he removed Walters, and twice saw Chappell lift him perilously near mid-on Australia slithered to a well deserved victory.

After Brearley's fine innings, the selectors named him captain for the first two Tests. Attendance 15,139; receipts £35,597.

© John Wisden & Co