Located in a relatively crowded locality of London’s St. John’s Wood, the Lord’s Cricket Ground is a famous tourist attraction on days, when the place is devoid of any cricket action. Most international tourist operators include a visit to Lords as an item of their itinerary. A 2-hour guided visit to Lords costs 18 pounds or nearly US $31 but for those, who are knowledgeable about cricket, the visit is a highly cherishing experience. The ground is celebrating it bicentenary year in 2014 and all through this year, various events have been planned for its commemoration. The ground has got its name from its founder Thomas Lords and its owner is the Marylebone Cricket Club or MCC. It is also the headquarters for the Middlesex County, England & Wales Cricket Board and European Cricket Council. Until 2005, the offices of the ICC, International Cricket Council were also located at Lords but they have now been shifted to Dubai. St. John’s Wood, however, is not the original site of Lords. The first ground was built in 1787 by Thomas Lords, a Yorkshire bowler and a businessman at Dorset Square, from where he moved and developed another ground at Regent Canal in 1811. Thomas Lords was forced to evict from both sites because local council and builders wanted those areas for house-building. The current location is, therefore, the third and it became functional in 1814. A lot has happened at Lords since then. Lords 100th test was played between England and the West Indies and the 2000th test in cricket history between England and India was also played at Lords.
On July 5, 2014, the celebrations were marked by a 50-over game between the MCC XI and the Rest of the World XI. The two sides were studded with legendary past and present cricketers. MCC was led by India’s batting maestro, while Australian legend Shane Warne captained the ROW. After winning the toss, Shane Warne decided to bat first and two world-famous openers; Adam Gilchist and Virender Sehwag walked out to begin the ROW innings. Gilchrist provided a unique sight to the sold-out audience by wearing a Go-Pro camera on his helmet and marked it as the first instance of a batsman having a camera strapped on his helmet. Viru and Gilchrist put up a racy first-wicket stand of 54 in 6.4 overs. But after Sehwag was bowled by Brett Lee for a 24-ball 22, MCC captain Tendulkar introduced Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal into the attack. The decision immediately paid off as Ajmal wreaked havoc. In a space of 15 balls, Akmal removed Gilchrist, Tamim Iqbal, Kevin Pietersen and Shahid Afridi to leave ROW tottering at 68/5. Just when the match looked like ending as a one-way contest, Yuvraj Singh took command. In the company of Paul Collingwood, the swashbuckling Yuvraj went on a rampage to pile up 131 for the sixth wicket. His personal contribution of 132 off 134 balls included 8 fours and 6 sixes. Yuvraj lost Collingwood but his new partner Peter Siddle provided him able support with 33 from 32 balls. The two of them took ROW to a commanding position with 293/7 in 50 overs. Yuvraj was at the other end, when a Brett Lee express beamer broke Warne’s hand, ruling the champion bowler out of the match. Yuvraj was the last man out being interestingly claimed by Sachin Tendulkar.
Set to score 294 for victory, MCC began solidly with Aaron Finch opening the innings with his captain Sachin Tendulkar. Both batsmen played glorious cricket and put on 107 for the first wicket, before Tendulkar was foxed by the wily Murlitharan. The Maestro scored 44 in 45 balls with 7 exquisite hits to the fence. Brian Lara joined Finch in a support role, as the Australian was already in full cry. Lara scored 23 runs off 38 balls, before falling to Paul Collingwood. Rahul Dravid joined Finch but Collingwood bowled him with a beauty for a duck. Regardless, Finch was unperturbed as he went on hammering the ROW bowlers mercilessly. West Indies veteran Chanderpaul provided able support to Finch, who finished unbeaten for 181 scored off 145 balls with 23 fours and 6 sixes, before taking MCC to an easy 7-wicket victory in 45.5 overs.
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