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When Argentina beat England in cricket

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In 1927, Argentina shocked the cricketing world by beating MCC. Photo Courtesy:Wikimedia

In what can safely be called one of the biggest upsets of all time, Argentina defeated a mighty Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) setup by 29 runs on January 17, 1927. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at the day when Buenos Aires witnessed history.

Cricket had been introduced to Argentina in 1806-07, and cricket was in vogue in the country in the first half of the 19th century. Founded as early as in 1864, the Buenos Aires Cricket Club remains the oldest in the country. The Primera División started in 1897-98, and continues to be an annual fixture.

Thus, when Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) toured South America in 1926-27, it was hardly surprising that seven of the ten matches would be held in Argentina (the other three were played in Uruguay, Chile, and Peru). It was during one of these matches — played appropriately at the Buenos Aires Cricket Club Ground — that Argentina pulled off one of the biggest cricket upsets of all time when they defeated England, or, to be technically correct, MCC.

Day One: White runs rout

Henry Marshal and John Knox got Argentina off to a solid start, adding 31 after Pelham Warner had put them in. Thereafter Jack White took over with his left-arm spin: the Somerset spinner bowled unchanged, bowling out the Argentines for 134 in 65.2 overs. Kenneth Henderson top-scored with 32 while Herbert Dorning added 26, but White was too good for the hosts; with Gubby Allen’s pace and Tom Henderson’s leg-breaks for company, White finished with figures of five for 65.

A total of 134 should not have been a difficult proposition for MCC, but Dorning had other ideas; the left-arm seamer’s double blow left MCC reeling at 26 for three when Lionel Isherwood returned to the pavilion with Warner for company.

Day Two: MCC sink deeper

Isherwood fell early next morning, and from then it was a duel between Warner and Dorning. Jameson hung on for a while, but it was Warner who top-scored with 28 as Dorning ran through the tourists, bowling unchanged for seven for 38. MCC — albeit not the best team England could produce at that time — slumped to 89.

But Allen fought back in the company of White: there was no resistance from the Argentines this time, and both bowlers claimed four wickets each to rout them for 63, leaving the tourists with a target of 109. Asif 17 wickets were not enough for a day, England lost two men by stumps, and were left reeling at 24 for two. They still required 85.

Day Three: Argentina create history

The match would perhaps have got over earlier, but Gerry Weigall and Lord Dunglass decided to put up some resistance from 51 for nine. They added 28 for the final stand, before Dorning had the former caught-behind. This time it was the off-breaks of Dennet Ayling that caused the damage: he finished with six for 32.

Dorning bowled unchanged in the second innings to finish with three for 29 and had a match tally of 50.2-21-67-10 to show against his name. Had it been half-a-century later, he would definitely have won the Man of the Match.

Brief scores:

 

Argentina 134 (Kenneth Henderson 32; Jack White 5 for 65, Tom Jameson 3 for 24) & 63 (Jack White 4 for 21, Gubby Allen 4 for 32) beat Marylebone Cricket Club 89 (Herbert Dorning 7 for 38) & 79 (Dennet Ayling 6 for 32, Herbert Dorning 3 for 29) by 29 runs.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)

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