Feature

Five famous first outings at Lord's

From "The Demon" Spofforth to Lord Beginner's two pals and the teenage Ben Hollioake, we offer some inspiration for Ireland

Alan Gardner
Alan Gardner
06-May-2017
Sonny Ramadhin and Alf Valentine, England, April 1950

The efforts of Sonny Ramadhin and Alf Valentine at Lord's in 1950 inspired a famous cricket calypso  •  Getty Images

Ireland are set to play their first ODI at Lord's against England on Sunday. To mark the occasion, here is a selection of memorable Lord's debuts.
MCC v Australians, May 27, 1878
It shouldn't come as a surprise that the first major Lord's upset coincided with the first Australian tour of England. Frederick "The Demon" Spofforth is probably most famous for his 14-wicket haul in the Oval Test of 1882, which gave birth to the legend of the Ashes, but his performance against MCC four years earlier was just as incendiary. He claimed a match haul of 10 for 20, which included a hat-trick, as a side led by WG Grace were dismissed for 33 and 19 to be beaten inside a day. As John Lazenby wrote in his book The Strangers Who Came Home: "A cannon shell, had it landed on the square, could not have rocked the foundations of the home of English cricket with any more force."
England v West Indies, June 24-29, 1950
Although not technically on debut, Sonny Ramadhin and Alf Valentine had only played one Test apiece before turning out at Lord's in the second match of West Indies' 1950 tour. The spin pair proceeded to claim 18 wickets between them as England were crushed by 326 runs to give West Indies their maiden Test victory at Lord's - and set the team on their way to a first series win in England. Not only was it a defining moment for Caribbean cricket, it inspired Lord Beginner to pen the "Victory Calypso" about "those two little pals of mine", Ramadhin and Valentine. Sing it now: "Cricket lovely cricket, at Lord's where I saw it…"
England v Sri Lanka, August 23-28, 1984
Several visiting players have risen to the occasion on their first appearance at Lord's - from Bob Massie's 16-wicket haul in 1972 to Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid bossing the show 24 years later - but perhaps none was as surprising as the efforts of a couple of Sri Lankans. Having lost eight out of their first 11 Tests, Sri Lanka were expected to be easy meat but Sidath Wettimuny, who scored a first-innings 190, and Duleep Mendis, with 111 and 94 in the match, scotched that thought. Mendis took on England's short-ball plan by hooking six sixes and Ian Botham was reduced to bowling offspin.
England v Australia, May 25, 1997
One for England fans, since we are approaching the 20th anniversary of a day that still burns brightly in the memory. Ben Hollioake was just 19 when he stepped out in whites (this was before England had adopted coloured clothing for home ODIs) for his international debut at Lord's. Batting up the order at No. 3, he proceeded to caress 63 off 48 balls, treating Glenn McGrath (also making his first appearance at the ground) with disdain and putting Shane Warne into the stands to help seal victory and a rare 3-0 series win over Australia. Although Hollioake won another 21 caps before his untimely death at 24, his talent was largely unfulfilled and that innings remained his highest score for England.
England v Netherlands, June 5, 2009
The second World T20 featured an opening fixture of England, the hosts, against Netherlands, one of three Associates at the tournament. Lord's, previously above such frivolity, was also making its T20 debut but the Dutch were in no mood to be intimidated by their illustrious surroundings. After the opening ceremony was cancelled due to persistent drizzle, Netherlands set about raining on England's parade as they chased a target of 163. Needing seven off the final over and two off the last ball, Ryan ten Doeschate and Ed Schiferli gleefully scampered through after Stuart Broad's wayward shy at the stumps to spark a Netherlands pitch invasion and leave England with egg-and-bacon on their faces.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick