Day when £6m was the only stat that counted

<preform>Rest of the World XI 344-8</BR> Asian XI 232</preform>
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The Independent Online

World XI win by 112 runs

World XI win by 112 runs

One national newspaper described it as "the most remarkable cricket game ever staged" and, if the outcome was too one-sided to make it memorable, the related figures in the tsunami relief match at the packed Melbourne Cricket Ground last night fully justified the hyperbole.

The statistics that really mattered did not relate to events in the middle. They were contained in the cheque for Aus$14.6m (£6m) presented by the game's governing body, Cricket Australia, to the aid agency, World Vision, at the end of the match.

Ricky Ponting's 115 off 102 balls, Chris Cairns' 69 off 47 and Brian Lara's measured 52 off 77 formed the basis of the World team's 344 for 8 that the Asians - a combination of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - never looked like matching. Rahul Dravid's unbeaten 75 at slightly better than a run a ball and Virender Sehwag's 45 off 39 balls were the only innings of note as the Asian team were dismissed for 232 with still 10.1 overs at their disposal, losing by 112 runs.

Throughout the match, Australia's business community vied to outdo each other with contributions announced on the Channel Nine network that beamed the match to 122 countries. Kerry Packer, the media magnate, trumped the rest with Aus$3m.

Australia's tour sponsors, Travelex, put up $1,000 (£535) for each run. Each six was worth $100,000 but the cap of $500,000 had to be invoked once Ponting and Cairns lashed five between them in Anil Kumble's final over.

In its long life, the MCG has hosted the 1956 Olympics, a World Cup cricket final, World Cup rugby and football matches, the visits of evangelist Billy Graham and the Pope, and shows by Michael Jackson and Madonna. None raised such huge sums.

Stirred by the terrible images of loss of life in areas that are right on their doorstep, Australians trooped into the MCG from mid-afternoon until 70,103 filled the seats. More than double that number perished in the tsunami that hit on Boxing Day. The mood of the crowd was reflected in the warm reception accorded Muttiah Muralitharan, the Sri Lankan wizard of off-spin, who luckily missed the tsunami in the town of Galle by half-hour.

He has twice been no-balled for throwing in this country by Australian umpires, was previously derided by crowds as a thrower and publicly accused of being one by no less than the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard. Yet, even as he warmed up for his first bowl in a competitive match after a lay-off of five months for shoulder surgery, Muralitharan was cheered, not jeered. It was that sort of day.

WORLD CRICKET TSUNAMI APPEAL MATCH (Melbourne): World XI 344-8 (R T Ponting 115, C L Cairns 69, B C Lara 52; M Muralitharan 3-59). Asia XI 232 (R Dravid 75no, V Sehwag 45; D L Vettori 3-58). World XI win by 112 runs.

SPORT'S MAJOR CONTRIBUTIONS

After yesterday's donations from the Melbourne benefit cricket match and the International Volleyball Federation the total raised from sport and its partners for the tsunami relief effort now exceeds £20m.

Asia XI v Rest of World XI cricket match £6m

Michael Schumacher (motor racing driver) £5.3m

International Volleyball Federation £1.6m

Fifa (Football's world governing body) £1.06m

German Football Federation £1.04m

Premiership clubs (£50,000 each) £1m

Asian Football Confederation £533,000

International Olympic Committee £533,000

New York Yankees (baseball team) £533,000

Major League Baseball £533,000

French Football Federation £533,000

Bayern Munich £219,000

British Darts Organisation £180,000

Paris 2012 Corporate Club (Group of 14 French companies supporting Olympic bid) £140,000

Hong Kong Jockey Club £133,000

Indian Cricket Board £122,000

Manchester United's first-team squad £100,000

International Rugby Board £100,000

Madrid 2012 Olympic Office £70,000

Charlton Athletic's extra pledge £50,000

Celtic £50,000

Baltimore Ravens (American football team) £40,000

Carlos Moya (tennis player) £36,349

Hong Kong tennis tournament £34,140

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