Bob Massie reached the Lord’s Honours Boards by producing a bowling performance on his debut that will be remembered forever in the Home of Cricket folklore.
His figures of 16-137 are not only still the best ever at Lord’s, but also the best by an Australian anywhere.
It was the all-time debut record until Indian leg-spinner Narendra Herath broke it by the barest possible margin by taking 16-136 against the West Indies at Chennai in January 1988.
After England had won the first Test of the 1972 Ashes series at Old Trafford, the home side elected to bat first at Lord’s with ambitions of hoping to continue their momentum.
However, Massie’s eight-wicket haul completely stunned England, who could not pick up the debutant’s raw pace.
Massie’s figures after the first innings read 32.5 overs, seven maidens, 84 runs conceded and eight wickets taken with Geoffrey Boycott, Mike Smith, Basil D’Oliveira, Alan Knott, Tony Greig, Ray Illingworth, John Snow and Norman Gifford all losing their wickets to the fast bowler.
Australia managed a total of 308 in their first innings given them a slender lead of 36, which gave Massie the motivation to repeat his efforts earlier in the Test.
Once Boycott lost his wicket to Dennis Lillee for six, Massie began his onslaught of the English batting line-up once more.
He took the wicket of John Edrich, before once again removing Smith, D’Oliveira, Greig, Knott, Illingworth, Snow and finally, John Price to finish with figures of 27.2 overs bowled, nine maidens, 53 runs conceded and eight wickets taken.
That gave Massie a world record match figures of 16-137 and a place forever in Lord’s history.
Australia chased down their target of 81 within 27 overs to tie the series 1-1 and it goes without saying that Massie received the man-of-the-match award for his iconic performance.