The Prudential World Cup 1975, first semi-final


In recent years the Headingley pitch has often been criticised as unsuitable for the big match occasion. This surface was strongly criticised by both captains and in that a game, supposedly, between some of the finest batsmen in the world could be finished in 65 overs, there was much to be said for their opinion. Yet, there was no feeling of being cheated by anyone in the capacity crowd. There was tremendous excitement, especially when Australia, in search of 94 runs needed to win, lost six wickets for 39 runs. Gasps, groans, or cheers, followed every ball.

The pitch was the same strip as that used ten days earlier in the Pakistan-Australia game but, of course, the groundsman had watered it and it looked green and damp. Australia had no hesitation about putting England in to bat after winning the toss and, from the way fieldsmen ran to change round at the end of each over they were obviously trying to get as many overs as possible bowled before the greenness went, or, if things went badly, they were concerned about batting in the faint light of late evening. They need not have worried for things went gloriously right for them. Their fast-medium, left-arm bowler Gilmour ripped through the England batting. Bowling a full length, over the wicket, he not only swung the ball in the heavy atmosphere, but he moved it both ways after pitching. Bringing the ball back after pitching on the off stump he had Amiss, Fletcher, Hayes and Knott lbw - Fletcher without playing a shot - and all played back. He bowled Wood with a perfect yorker and had Greig caught one-handed by Marsh. In his 12 overs, bowled in one spell, Gilmour took six wickets for 14 runs. England came in for lunch at 52 for eight. Denness and the tail took the score to 93.

Not until the eighth over with the new ball did England meet success and then Snow and Old ripped into the Australian batsmen as dramatically as Gilmour had treated England. Then came Gilmour as a batsman. With Walters he shared an unbroken partnership adding 55 vital runs. The huge crowd rose to him and the former West Indies captain, Jeffery Stollmeyer, had no difficulty in naming him Man of the Match.

© John Wisden & Co