Gilmour pays left-handed compliment to England

Chappell asked left-arm swing bowler Gary Gilmour, playing his first game of the tournament, to share the new ball with Dennis Lillee.

England vs Australia, Prudential World Cup – 1st semi-final, Headingley, Leeds, June 18, 1975

Australia won by 4 wickets


The overcast condition at Headingley was enough to tempt Australian captain Ian Chappell to ask England to take first strike in the first semi-final of the 1975 World Cup. And it didn’t take too long for his bowlers to back his decision. Chappell asked left-arm swing bowler Gary Gilmour, playing his first game of the tournament, to share the new ball with Dennis Lillee, ahead of illustrious Jeff Thomson. It was an unexpeced move, given the fact that the Lillee-Thomson combo had shared the new ball in all the preliminary games.


Dennis Amiss was in the middle of a prolific run in the 1975 World Cup, and it was important from Australia’s perspective that they got rid of him early before much damage was inflicted. Gilmour trapped Amiss in front with a delivery that nipped back sharply with England just two on the board. It was just the kind of start Chappell was looking for after inserting the opposition in under overcast conditions.


The early wicket had energized the bowler. He then bowled a sizzling yorker which up-rooted Barry Wood’s off-stump.


The situation needed Tony Greig to resurrect England, but flashed at a widish delivery from to be snapped brilliantly by ’keeper Rodney Marsh, leaving England in dire straits at 26 for three.


Gilmour was swinging the ball both ways and England didn’t quite know how to negotiate him.


Frank Haynes shouldered arms to one from Gilmour probably thinking it would move away. But the ball jagged back to trapped in front. England was now 33 for four.


Skipper Keith Fletcher, another England batsman amongst the runs, like some of his team-mates made the same mistake of going back to one that came back, giving Gilmour a five-wicket haul. Gilmour was not over yet.
Alan Knott went through the horrors of tackling Gilmour’s swing and his agony ended when Gilmour took his fourth lbw victim for the day. Gilmour went on to finish the innings with outstanding figures of 12-6-14-6.


“They kept shouldering arms and the ball swung back in and did the rest. I wanted to bowl and bowl. I didn’t want my overs to run out,” Gilmour recalled that dream spell.


His epic spell of swing bowling was the catalyst in Australia bowling out England for 93 in 36.2 overs.


But Gilmour’s stupendous effort looked like going waste when England fought back brilliantly to have Australia in a corner – not even at halfway to victory with more than half the side gone. But Gilmour came yet again to Australia’s rescue. He joined Doug Walters in the middle at 39 for six and steered Australia to victory by top-scoring with 28 – twenty of which came in boundaries.


Gilmour thumped some lusty blows and added an unbroken 55 runs for the unconquered seventh wicket with Walters.


There was no doubt who the man of the match was!


Pictures © Getty Images