On Friday at Brisbane, Australia registered their third lowest total in one-dayers when they were bowled out for 74 by Sri Lanka in 26.4 fours. In an eminently forgettable performance by their top and middle-order, none of the batsmen from the top eight could get into double figures. Mitchell Starc, batting at number nine, was the surprise top scorer, remaining unbeaten on 22. The next best was by the number eleven – 15 by Xavier Doherty. If it wasn’t for their 34-run last wicket partnership, Aussies would have crumbled to their lowest ever ODI score by some distance. Here’s a look at other occasions when the usually strong Aussie batting line-up folded for under 100.
70 vs New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval (January 27, 1986)
In the 12th match of the 1985/86 Benson and Hedges World Series Cup, Australia were chasing a mammoth score of 276 set by the Kiwis. They got off to the worst possible start, with Richard Hadlee sending back Geoff Marsh for a duck. Hadlee went on to add the important scalps of David Boon and Glenn Trimble to his kitty, both of them also falling cheaply. At the other end, Ewen Chatfield dismissed Steve Waugh and Allan Border as Australia lost half their side for 31. There was no way back for the hosts from that point as they crumbed to 70 all out, their lowest score till date. New Zealand’s total was built around half-centuries from Bruce Edgar and John Wright, but it was Hadlee’s three-wicket spell that earned him the man of the match trophy.
70 vs England at Birmingham (June 4, 1977)
After winning the toss and asking England to bat, Australia did exceedingly well to restrict the batting side to 171. However, they weren’t aware what was in store for them as they set about chasing the small target. Bob Willis got England off to a sensational start sending back openers Ian Davis and Craig Serjeant cheaply. At the other end, John Lever got the key wicket of Greg Chappell for 19. Lever continued to chip away at the wickets as Australia’s situation went from bad to worse. Lever got the scalps of Gary Cosier, Kim Hughes and Rod Marsh to finish with excellent figures of 4 for 29 as Australia collapsed to their lowest ever total. Lever expectedly won the man of the match award.
91 vs West Indies at Perth (January 4, 1987)
Batting first, the Windies put up a credible 255 on board and, in reply, the Aussies were all at sea. Joel Garner, Tony Gray, Michael Holding and Roger Harper combined to destroy the Aussie chase. Garner got the big names in the form of David Boon and Dean Jones, Gray sent back Geoff Marsh and the tailenders, Holding got Aussie Allan Border and Glenn Bishop while Harper dismissed Steve Waugh and Simon O’Donnell. The Aussie were cleaned up inside 36 overs. Gordon Greenidge was named the man of the match for his 100.
93 vs South Africa at Cape Town (March 3, 2006)
The Aussies were chasing a massive 290 in this game. Makhaya Ntini crushed the Australian challenge in no time. He began by sending back Adam Gilchrist for 1 and did not look back. Phil Jaques, Damien Martyn, Michael Clarke and Shane Watson all fell prey to his guile on the day. Andre Nel chipped in with three wickets as the Aussies succumbed to an embarrassing low against their much-respected rivals. Ntini won the man of the match for his figures of 6 for 22.
--By A Cricket Analyst