The world's best go Head to Head
As we await cricket to return to grounds around the world, the MCC Heritage & Collections team has delved deep into their archives to simulate a series of Test matches between some of the greatest players to ever grace Lord’s.
Based on each player’s profile and career statistics - including batting and bowling averages and strike-rates - a one-off match is simulated based on randomly determined playing conditions.
A detailed scorecard is produced, which we have then turned into a full match report to replicate the action.
Home Honours Board XI v Visiting Honours Board XI
First up in the series is an XI of the greatest England players to have appeared on the Honours Boards at the Home of Cricket taking on a Visiting Honours Board XI, full of names that adorn the away dressing room.
South Africa’s Graeme Smith, captain of the Visiting Honours Board XI, won the toss and elected to field first on the opening morning at Lord’s. The pitch looked to be fair, however the forecast of heavy cloud cover for much of the first day was enough for him to ask the opponents to bat first.
His decision was vindicated as the Home Honours Board XI were reduced to 83 for 6 at lunch, with West Indian paceman Malcolm Marshall taking the key wickets of Joe Root (28) and Kevin Pietersen (22) who both looked to be settling in for big scores.
The Home XI recovered in the afternoon session thanks to a fine partnership of 74 between Alec Stewart and Ian Botham. The latter fell for 45 but nobody else could offer Stewart enough support, and the Surrey wicket-keeper made 63 as the Home XI were bowled out for 212. Aussie metronome Glenn McGrath was the pick of the bowlers with 4 for 52, whilst Marshall finished with figures of 3 for 25.
The Visiting XI began their innings shortly before the close and finally declared in the afternoon session on the third day, making the most of much-improved batting conditions on days two and three to compile a mammoth 535 for 5 declared.
Smith, who holds the record for the highest Test score by an overseas player at Lord’s, made 158 and the great Don Bradman 148, the pair putting on an incredible 274 for the second wicket.
Garfield Sobers (78) and Allan Border (55) also chipped in with half-centuries before the declaration came. No man has taken as many Test wickets at Lord’s as James Anderson, and his 3 for 109 was the relative pick of the Home XI’s tattered attack.
A deficit of 323 always looked severely imposing, but an opening stand of 191 between Essex duo Alastair Cook and Graham Gooch gave the Home XI a real opportunity to salvage something from the match. Gooch’s 115 and Cook’s 98 were statements of intent, but the next four wickets falling for 159 runs broke the back of the rear guard effort.
Battling half-centuries from Ben Stokes (70) and Stewart (69) did restore hopes for a second time, but at 413 for 9 at the close on the penultimate day, a lead of only 90, a Visiting XI victory still looked by far the most likely of outcomes.
As it was, the Visiting XI had almost all of the final day to make the 99 which was set for victory. Despite the early loss of Smith, Bradman showed his undisputable class to make an unbeaten half-century and help seal an eight-wicket win, twenty minutes after lunch. The almost indomitable Australian also claimed the Man of the Match award.
Visiting Honours Board XI (535 for 5 and 99 for 2) beat Home Honours Board XI (212, 420) by 8 wickets.
Click here for full scorecard