Every so often, a relatively unknown cricketer will respond to a high- pressure occasion that belies his experience at international level. Normally such players come from exotic places like Pakistan and Sri Lanka and not from Wandsworth where Adam Hollioake, the Surrey captain now hails.
Perhaps no one told him, but Hollioake, in only his third one-day international, bowled like an old hand and batted like a veteran, scoring an unbeaten 66, as he and Graham Thorpe, his Surrey team-mate, took England to the early victory they so craved against Mark Taylor's swaggering Aussies.
Hollioake even finished the game off with a six, his second of the match, as he pulled Jason Gillespie into the Western Terrace. It was a deliciously arrogant touch, not a million miles out of keeping with his upbringing in Melbourne, and one sure to be admired - if only secretly - by his opponents.
Before this match, Mike Atherton had warned that none of his players had an inferiority complex, even going so far as to cite the Hollioake brothers. On all the evidence so far, and at least until younger brother, Ben, can have a crack at them, it is an assessment that rings half true.
With Thorpe having just run out his partner Graham Lloyd for nought to put England on 40 for 4, Hollioake arrived at the crease with an Aussie bowling attack bristling after their early successes. He began shakily especially against Shane Warne and a fired-up Gillespie whose single wicket was not just reward for a fine spell of bowling.
Warne, never an easy proposition when your eye is in, let alone when you first come in and are forced to peer through the Headingley murk, looked as if he might dismiss him any ball. Sensing an impending breach, Thorpe, once he had recovered from running out the coach's son, decided to take the leg-spinner himself. It was a move that not only allowed Hollioake to find his feet but one which may force Warne, who took 0 for 46, to rethink his strategy to left-handers. Thorpe dabbed, drove and hoiked him with impunity.
Once established the pair exposed Australia's risky tactic of not including a fifth specialist bowler. They have long pick n' mixed their bowling, but on surfaces that help performers with pedigree, the five overs filled by Mark Waugh's occasional off-spin and Greg Blewett's wayward seam cost 28 runs and were the mongrels that lost them the show.
But if the man of the match, Hollioake, and Thorpe, unbeaten with 75, provided the glamour, it was the bowlers, led by Darren Gough and Robert Croft, along with a brilliant display in the field, who set up the victory with a spirited performance, restricting Australia to 170, after Atherton won the toss.
In the past Gough has tended to get over-excited in front of his home crowd and attempt the fantastic. Not this time and although there is not an English heart that beats with more purpose when Australia are involved, Gough reigned in his excesses and simply bowled straight and fast.
The dividends were almost immediate as Taylor, having already been beaten outside his off stump in the Yorkshireman's first over, edged to the keeper in his second. Indeed his new ball spell, which read 5-2-6-1, was exemplary, and it is not often that a batsman of Mark Waugh's standing takes 20 balls to open his account.
Naturally the conditions played their part. A Headingley pitch in May, coupled with heavy cloud above, rarely translate into run sprees.
After a few fresh swishes, the Waughs, so often the twin pillars around which the recent Australian batting has been built, decided to play safe. For a moment it looked as if they could once again construct a defendable fortress, but Mark played all round a straight one in Dean Headley's first over and was bowled.
An over later, Steve departed lbw to Mark Ealham for 19. If it was not the order in which the twins first announced themselves to the world almost 32 years ago, their departure brought roars of rapture from the capacity crowd of 16,400. It was the first time Steve had ever been dismissed at Headingley and Ealham's delivery to get rid of him, fully deserved the accolade, as it cut sharply away off the pitch.
At 43 for 3, urgent repair was needed if Australia were to force England to even break sweat when they batted. Not surprisingly it came from Michael Bevan, a man who must have faced many a similar situation on this pitch with Yorkshire.
Using his own as well as Greg Blewett's speed between the wickets the pair added 63 runs, until Bevan, having been tied down by a masterful spell from Croft, tried to steal one liberty too many and was run out by Thorpe's direct hit from midwicket.
Croft's role in the middle of the innings cannot be understated and Atherton used him - much as Australia have used Warne in the past - to stifle the life out of their opponents. Which is precisely what he did, conceding just 16 runs from his 10 overs, in a near binary spell of bowling, which apart from a two and a wide that went for three runs, contained just dot balls and singles.
With Australia unable to get any kind of momentum going after Blewett dragged on a wideish one from Gough, it was a question of the tail making sure the remaining overs were used up. They did, but the runs scored were not enough to inconvenience England, once Thorpe and Hollioake got the bit between their teeth.
England won toss
*M A Taylor c Stewart b Gough 7
(11 min, 15 balls, 1 four)
M E Waugh b Headley 11
(57 min, 37 balls, 1 four)
S R Waugh lbw b Ealham 19
(52 min, 42 balls, 2 fours)
M G Bevan run out (Thorpe, TV replay) 30
(70 min, 56 balls, 3 fours)
G S Blewett b Gough 28
(64 min, 46 balls, 2 fours)
M J Slater c and b Ealham 17
(39 min, 31 balls, 2 fours)
I A Healy c Atherton b Hollioake 17
(34 min, 33 balls)
S K Warne c Thorpe b Hollioake 4
(22 min, 18 balls)
M S Kasprowicz not out 17
(25 min, 18 balls, 1 four)
J N Gillespie not out 3
(6 min, 5 balls)
Extras (lb7 w9 nb1) 17
Total (for 8, 194 min, 50 overs) 170
Fall: 1-8 (Taylor) 2-39 (M Waugh) 3-43 (S Waugh) 4-106 (Bevan) 5-106 (Blewett) 6-140 (Healy) 7-140 (Slater) 8-157 (Warne).
Did not bat: G D McGrath.
Bowling: DeFreitas 9-1-35-0 (w4) (7-1-21-0, 2-0-14-0); Gough 10-2-33- 2 (5-2-6-1, 3-0-18-1, 2-0-9-0); Ealham 8-3-21-2 (w1) (6-2-19-1, 2-1-2- 1); Headley 8-0-36-1 (nb1) (6-0-22-1, 2-0-14-0); Croft 10-1-16-0 (w1); Hollioake 5-0-22-2 (w1) (one spell each).
Progress: 50: 81 min, 122 balls. 100: 122 min, 187 balls. 150: i181 min, 280 balls.
N V Knight lbw b McGrath 12
(21 min, 18 balls, 1 four)
*M A Atherton c Healy b Kasprowicz 4
(17 min, 8 balls)
A J Stewart lbw b McGrath 7
(30 min, 22 balls, 1 four)
G P Thorpe not out 75
(149 min, 108 balls, 7 fours)
G D Lloyd run out (Blewett, TV replay) 0
(12 min, 6 balls)
A J Hollioake not out 66
(109 min, 84 balls, 5 fours, 2 sixes)
Extras (b1 w6 nb4) 11
Total (for 4, 171 min, 40.1 overs) 175
Fall: 1-18 (Atherton) 2-20 (Knight) 3-32 (Stewart) 4-40 (Lloyd).
Did not bat: M A Ealham, P A J DeFreitas, R D B Croft, D Gough, D W Headley.
Bowling: McGrath 10-2-34-2 (w1) (7-2-13-2, 3-0-21-0); Kasprowicz 7-0- 27-1 (nb1 w2) (one spell); Gillespie 8.1-1-39-0 (nb4 w1) (7-1-18-0, 1.1- 0-21-0); Warne 10-0-46-0 (4-0-20-0, 2-0-17-0, 4-0-9-0); M Waugh 2-0-16- 0, Blewett 3-0-12-0 (one spell each).
Progress: 50: 85 min, 115 balls. 100: 121 min, 172 balls. 150: 159 min, 229 balls.
Thorpe's 50: 103 min, 78 balls, 5 fours.
Hollioake's 50: 89 min, 66 balls, 4 fours, 1 six.
England won by six wickets
Man of the Match: A J Hollioake (England).
Adjudicator: J P Agnew.
Umpires: R Julian and P Willey.
TV Replay Umpire: J C Balderstone.
Match Referee: R S Madugalle.Reuse content