Prudential World Cup 1979, first Group A match

ENGLAND v AUSTRALIA

At Lord's, June 9. England won by six wickets. With all tickets sold before the match, a crowd of 25,000 saw what proved to be a comfortable victory for the home team. As usual, the meeting of England and Australia at Lord's produced its own special atmosphere of expectation and excitement. Brearley, winning the toss on a dull, grey morning, put Australia in to bat in conditions that were not easy for them. However, they began sensibly with the opening pair, Hilditch and Darling, withstanding the England attack for eighty minutes. They were content with 14 runs from the first ten overs, and the first wicket had brought 56 from 21 overs before Willis returned for his second spell to remove Darling leg before.

Hendrick always moved the ball awkwardly and Willis, Old, Botham and Edmonds all gave the Australians a thorough test until, just before lunch, Brearley surprised many people by introducing Boycott. Yet it was Boycott who made the breakthrough immediately after interval when Hilditch touched the ball against his off stump. Next, Hendrick, racing from mid-wicket, took a great catch to remove Hughes.

When Border, after a stubborn display, edged a catch to Taylor - who previously had missed two stumpings - Australia collapsed completely. They threw away wickets with four run out, and England needed only 160 to win.

Suddenly, Australia lifted themselves again, the first two England wickets falling for five runs. As in Australia, Boycott went to Hogg, leg before, and a casual stroke by Randall when he intended to drive resulted in a catch to the wicket-keeper. Fortunately for England, Gooch was at the top of his form. He hit six magnificent boundaries in his stay of two and three-quarter hours and with Brearley, who played competently, put on 108 for the third wicket. Laughlin removed both in consecutive overs before Gower, cover driving and pulling in his best style, and Botham, full of aggression, applied the finishing touches to an absorbing day's cricket. Gooch was a comparatively straightforward choice for Fred Titmus to make as Man of the Match.

Boycott's feat in taking two wickets posed the question: When, if ever, had the Yorkshireman taken more wickets than he made runs in the same match?

© John Wisden & Co