A Lord's Test is always special. But 1938
's was more unique than most: it was the first cricket match to be shown on television. At 11.29 on June 24, a little over six months after the birth of Kerry Packer, Ian Orr-Ewing handed over to Teddy Wakelam, sat by a couple of cameras on the top tier of the Nursery End, to begin commentary as Ernie McCormick bowled the opening over to Charlie Barnett.
Coverage of cricket has inevitably evolved - remember those old videos where every second over was viewed from behind the wicketkeeper? - and has been fundamental to Packer and to the development of one-day cricket in particular. Now we have double-ended coverage, Hawk-Eye, more than 30 cameras, stump-cams stump-mikes, Snickometers. Yet in some ways the advances have been a double-edged sword: television holds too much clout for the traditionalist's comfort, a recent example being the sacrifice of a decent contest to accommodate day-night matches during the World Cup. Good outweighs bad, though: anyone in any doubt should shove on a video of Botham's Ashes, of Sachin batting, of Warne and Murali at their most magnetic. Television has brought cricket's distinctive magic to parts that no other medium can reach.