Fleming shines in tsunami match

MCC 327-7 International XI 215 (MCC win by 112 runs)
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The Independent Online

The 22 world-class cricketers who gathered yesterday to help raise funds for the millions of people whose lives have been devastated by the Boxing Day tsunami, would rather not have been at the home of cricket.

The 22 world-class cricketers who gathered yesterday to help raise funds for the millions of people whose lives have been devastated by the Boxing Day tsunami, would rather not have been at the home of cricket.

Had this natural disaster not ravaged the countries bordering the Indian Ocean, there would have been no need for this fixture to take place. But for seven hours Shane Warne, Brian Lara, Harbhajan Singh, Sourav Ganguly and company did their bit to help with the relief before a crowd of 25,000. The day is expected to raise more than £500,000.

However, one of the major fund-raising events was ruined. The MCC, in association with SkySports and the Leonard Cheshire Foundation - one of the charities that will benefit from the match - had joined with Warne and Sachin Tendulkar to give a cricket fan the opportunity of a lifetime. The MCC had auctioned on eBay the chance for the highest bidder to receive 15 minutes of coaching from Tendulkar, before facing an over from Warne. When the auction closed on Saturday it was established that the highest bids, £50,000, were submitted by hoaxers.

Those who did part with their cash enjoyed plenty of high-quality entertainment.

Batting first, the MCC posted 327 for 7 in their 50 overs. Stephen Fleming led the way with a sublime 62. The New Zealand and MCC captain received excellent support from Jacques Kallis and Andy Flower, with half-centuries, and VVS Laxman and Kumar Sangakkara, who scored quickfire 40s.

Graeme Smith, after seeing off a hostile spell from Shoaib Akhtar, gave the International XI hope of reaching their target with a classy 68; and Lara, in what could be his last appearance at Lord's, sparkled with a 27-ball 42. Once this pair had been dismissed by the leg-spin of Anil Kumble, the MCC's total always looked out of their reach.

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