All you need to know about the first ever ODI match in cricket history: The Australian summer of 1970-71 saw them hosting England for The Ashes series that comprised of 7 Test matches over a period of three months.
While the first (Brisbane), second (Perth), fifth (Melbourne) and sixth (Adelaide) Test matches ended in a draw, England went on to win the fourth and seventh Test matches played at Sydney and won the series 2-0.
The third Test that was scheduled to be played at Melbourne between 31st December, 1970 and 5th January, 1971 had a twist in the tale.
The toss was won by England and they chose to field. However, rain prevented play for the first two days. Since the rain continued unabated and no play being possible on the third day, the Test match was abandoned without a ball being bowed after a conference between Sir Donald Bradman-led AB and the MCC Manager accompanied by two officials.
The conference, after a long deliberation, decided to conduct a 40-over game, in place of the abandoned Test match, to be played on the fifth and final day. The meeting also decided to include one additional Test at Melbourne between 21st and 26th January, 1971, replacing England’s domestic engagements of a four-day match against Victoria and the one-day game at Euroa.
For statistical purposes, this additional Test match receives official recognition in Australia while, world over, the numbers of the additional Test are disregarded.
The special 40-over game (8 balls per over) that was played on 5th January, 1971, at Melbourne Cricket Ground, came to be recognised as the first ever One-day International in the history of cricket.
Australia led by William ‘Bill’ Lawry, won the toss and put England in to bat.
England scored 190 runs in 39.4 overs with John Edrich, consuming 119 deliveries for his 82 runs with 4 fours, being the top scorer. Only Keith Fletcher (24) and the wicket-keeper Alan Knott (24) could make any meaningful contribution.
For Australia, the off-spinner, Ashley Mallett and the leggie, Keith Stackpole took 3 wickets in their spell of 8 overs each, giving away 34 and 40 runs respectively.
Chasing 191 runs for a win, Australia reached their target in 34.6 overs losing five wickets in the bargain.
Ian Chappell (60), Doug Walters (41) and their third-wicket partnership of 66 runs, the best partnership for any wicket in the match, helped Australia achieve the target with 42 deliveries to spare. England skipper, Ray Illingworth was the most successful bowler returning with the figure of 8-1-50-3.
Australia won the match by 5 wickets.