There has been a considerable revolution in the way in which international 50-overs cricket is now played. Although England took time to embrace this, the national side has done so to an extreme degree. After finding evidence that the county game has followed suit, Paul Dyson looks back at a high-scoring international match of 11 years ago.
Before the start of the 21st century Headingley had seen only three scores in limited-overs matches which totalled more than 300. There are now no fewer than 17 and, moreover, five of the seven highest came in the record-breaking season of 2017. The top ten totals at Headingley in List A cricket are:
HIGHEST TOTALS IN LIST A CRICKET AT HEADINGLEY
349-7 Yorkshire v Derbyshire 2017
345-5 Yorkshire v Nottinghamshire 1996
339-4 Yorkshire v Durham 2017
339-6 England v South Africa 2017
338-5 Somerset v Yorkshire 2013
335-5 Durham v Yorkshire 2017
334-8 Derbyshire v Yorkshire 2017
324-2 Sri Lanka v England 2006
324-6 India v England 2007
321-7 England v Sri Lanka 2006
The alert reader may well notice that six of the above totals came in three matches, their aggregates being:
683 Yorkshire v Derbyshire 2017
674 Yorkshire v Durham 2017
645 England v Sri Lanka 2006
On July 1st, 2006 England’s batsman must have been pretty pleased with themselves at the halfway stage of that year’s Headingley ODI. They had come to the ground a demoralised side, already losing 0-4 in the five-match series. However a century from Marcus Trescothick and scores of over 40 from Alastair Cook and Vikram Solanki propelled the home side to the highest total ever made in any ODI at the Leeds ground. Lasith Malinga’s four wickets all came too late to have any serious impact.
Sri Lanka’s response to this imposing total was to indulge in ‘an assault of unparalleled ferocity’ (Wisden). Upul Tharanga (109) and Sanath Jayasuryia (152) poured scorn on England’s effort with a world record opening stand of 282. The runs were put together in a mere 32 overs as England’s bowlers were put to the sword. Jayasuryia’s innings took him only 99 balls as the diminutive batsman smote four sixes and 20 fours. The two openers’ wickets were the only ones to fall as the visitors romped home by eight wickets with a staggering 75 balls to spare. In their first three overs the pair scored no less than 46 (England had scored one – Chaminda Vaas bowling two maidens).
Steve Harmison’s ten overs cost an unbelievable 97 runs (still a record for an England bowler, although it has since been equalled). Kabir Ali was given six overs and conceded 12 per over, Jamie Dalrymple was the only one to emerge with any credit, his ten overs costing ‘only’ 48. The one Yorkshire player in the team was Tim Bresnan; he bowled two overs at the start of the innings, they cost 29 and it was more than two years before he pulled on an England shirt again.
The result not only meant that England had lost the series an unprecedented five-nil but also that they were bottom of the ICC rankings when the table included only the traditional Test teams.
To add insult to injury, the day had begun with the passing of Fred Trueman and the match began after a minute’s silence in his honour. Would he have said, in response to England’s pace ‘attack’, “I don’t know what’s going off out there”? This writer somehow doubts it.