Once more, a great anniversary at Lord’s was celebrated with a festival match between MCC and Rest of the World, featuring the very best players of the current era.
It was in fact the third of three special matches scheduled to celebrate two centuries of cricket at the third Lord’s Ground: a women’s MCC v Rest of the World match took place in May while on 21 June, MCC played Hertfordshire - 200 years to the day since the sides met in the first ever fixture on the Ground.
With an appropriate nod to history, the game marked a rare opportunity to watch a 50-over contest played in whites with a red ball. There was also a unique opportunity to watch two of the game’s greatest ever batsmen, Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar, batting for MCC against two of the greatest ever bowlers, Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan. None of the four feature on the Lord’s Honours Boards, despite their almost limitless achievements in the game. In one respect the crowd was to be disappointed. Batting towards the end of the Rest of the World innings, Shane Warne was struck on the arm by an accidental beamer bowled by his Australian teammate Brett Lee. A bone was broken. The great leg-spinner was unable to bowl and the much-anticipated battle between Warne on one side, and Lara and Tendulkar on the other, would never take place.
The Rest of the World’s 293 for 7 was dominated by a run-a-ball 132 by Yuvraj Singh, who brought back memories of his match-winnings efforts at Lord’s in 2002, striking eight fours and six sixes. But Yuvraj was outdone by MCC opener Aaron Finch, who matched his six sixes and added 23 fours in a monumental 181 not out off 145 balls. Perhaps it was inevitable that without Warne, it would be difficult to contain MCC’s batting. Tendulkar fell to Muralitharan for 44 and Lara went for only 23, but Finch still led MCC to victory with more than four overs to spare.