OTD 1971: The first-ever ODI was played

The one-day format of cricket was introduced to the world in the late 20th century. One-day contests were first introduced in the 1960s, but the first official ODI was not played until January 5, 1971. The development of the game’s current popular format has been, to put it mildly, odd.

When England arrived in Australia for a 6-Test tour, they had no intentions of playing an ODI game. The third Test in Melbourne was canceled due to rain, thus a 40-overs-per-side match with 8 deliveries per over was played instead. Both England and Australia decided to play an exhibition game on a weekday, Tuesday, out of fear of suffering a financial loss of over £80,000 in Melbourne.

Only 20,000 spectators were anticipated to come for the game at the MCG, but more than 45,000 showed up for the game. In contrast to today, where white balls are utilized and coloured apparel are worn, the game was played with a red ball and white attire back then.

Bill Lawry, the captain of Australia, called the toss and decided to field. Ray Illingworth was the captain of England, and the team made only 190 as they were dished out in 39.4 overs and failed to play their allotted 40-overs quota completely.

John Edrich, England’s opening batter, endured despite the team losing wickets frequently and finished with a score of 82 off 119 balls. Producing numbers of 3/34 and 3/40 respectively, spinners Ashley Mallett and Keith Stackpole were the top performers for the home team. Despite being on the losing side and scoring an 82 from 119 balls, Edrich was named Man of the Match.

Australia lost two early wickets, but a partnership of 66 runs between Ian Chappell (60*) and Doug Walters (41*) enabled them to chase down the target with five wickets in hand in 35 overs. With numbers of 3/50, England’s skipper Illingworth was the team’s top bowler. The remaining two wickets were taken by fast bowlers Basil D’Oliveira and Ken Shuttleworth.

Looking at how people turned up in thousands, that is when the board realized how well the ODI format could do in international cricket. That is how the ODI format was introduced to the cricketing world.