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World Cup Vignette

Gilmour cooks England's goose

England were wary of Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson going into the semi-final of the 1975 tournament, but they were swung out by a 23-year-old rookie

England went into their World Cup semi-final against Australia wary of the threat posed by Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson after the pummelling they had received the winter before. As it was, they were blown away by Gary Gilmour, a 23-year-old swing bowler playing in only the third of his five ODIs. Gilmour was a late inclusion in the side, but low cloud, a stiff breeze, and a grassy Headingley pitch were ideal for him.
Opening the attack with Lillee, Gilmour took 6 for 14 in 12 unchanged overs from the Football Stand end - after nine overs he had 6 for 10 - reducing England to 36 for 6. Greg Chappell had intended bowling him from the Kirkstall Lane End, but Lillee wanted to come downhill, so the junior bowler was switched. Five of the batsmen fell to inswingers - Frank Hayes padding up to one he thought was leaving him but which zipped back so far it might well have been missing leg.
The only one to fall to the awayswinger was Tony Greig, spectacularly caught one-handed by Rodney Marsh, leaping wide to his right. England were skittled for 93, but the game wasn't over. The sideways movement and uneven bounce that had scuppered England did much the same for Australia, and when Gilmour strode to the middle, the score was 39 for 6.
With Doug Walters at the other end, Gilmour threw the bat to good effect, surviving one chance to Greig in the slips with the score on 78, as Australia won by four wickets. Judging the Man of the Match was not a hard decision. Three days later, Gilmour took 5 for 48 in the final against West Indies, but that was to be in a losing cause.
Gilmour played just one more ODI after the World Cup, against the same opposition in Adelaide.
This article was first published in 2014