Greg Matthews

Greg Matthews bigraphy, stories - Australian cricketer

Greg Matthews : biography

15 December 1959 –

Gregory Richard John "Mo" Matthews (born 15 December 1959 in Newcastle, New South Wales) is a former New South Wales and Australian cricket all rounder (off spin bowler and left handed batsman) who is now a television cricket commentator.

When Australian cricket was in the doldrums in the mid-1980s "his dashing batsmanship and growing ability as a spin bowler suddenly elevated Matthews to a position of a national hero".p28, Garry Linnell, Benson and Hedges Tests Series Official Book 1986-87 The Clashes for the Ashes, Playbill Sport Publication, 1986 He made centuries in times of crisis against New Zealand and India in 1985-86, took ten wickets in the Tied Test at Madras and batted well against England in 1986-87.

Thereafter his career declined as the "effervesent and unorthodox" Matthews did not fit in with the rest of the Australian Test team. As Australia rose to dominance in the 1990s Matthews proved to be "not good enough in either of the game’s main departments to make a lasting impact as a Test all-rounder"p52, Christopher Martin-Jenkins, Cricket Characters, Stanley Paul and Co Ltd, 1987 and despite a century against England in 1990-91 he played only irregularly and was finally dropped in 1993. He continued to play with success for New South Wales until he retired in 1997.

India vs Australia 1986-87 and The Second Tied Test

There were many heros throughout the exhausting five days of play, but with a doubt, the most unsung of them was Greg Matthews, who scored 44 and 27 not out and took five wickets in each innings. His stamina and resilience were absolutely staggering, especially on the last day, when he bowled 39.5 overs just about consecutively to keep us in the game and then ultimately tie it. Making his feat all the more noteworthy in the eyes of his fellow players was the fact that he wore two sleeveless sweaters throughout the day. Actually, he gave one to the umpire when he fielded and only wore them both when he was bowling. We just shook our heads in disbelief, because it was so hot with 90 degree humidity, but as usual Greg had a theory. He explained that nomadic herders in the desert wore woollen coats because they kept the cool air in, thus acting as a kind of air-conditioner.

Steve Waugh.p105, Steve Waugh, Out of My Comfort Zone, Michel Joseph, 2006

Australia toured India at the start of the 1986-87 season and played the First Test at Madras, a huge concrete bowl which radiated the intense heat, which rose to 50°C with 90% humidity.p104-105, Steve Waugh, Out of My Comfort Zone, Michel Joseph, 2006 Allan Border won the toss and Australia declared on 574/7 on the third day when Matthews was out for 44. In the Indian innings he took 5/103, his first five wicket haul in Test cricket, as his dismissed Sunil Gavaskar (caught and bowled), Krishnamachari Srikkanth, Ravi Shastri, Chandrakant Pandit and Kapil Dev as India were bowled out for 397. Declining to enforce the follow on in the heat Border batted again and Matthews made 27 not out in Australia’s 170/5, which set India 348 runs to win on the last day. Matthews dismissed Srikkanth, Mohinder Amarnath and Pandit as India collapsed from 200/2 to 291/6. His 40th over was the last that could be played in the match, bowling to Ravi Shastri, with India’s last man Maninder Singh at the bowler’s end. India needed four runs to win from the 6-ball over with only one wicket remaining;

  • 1st ball : To Shastri: no run. Four runs required off five balls.
  • 2nd ball : Shastri took two runs, retaining the strike. Two runs required off four balls.
  • 3rd ball : Shastri pushed the ball to square leg for a single. The scores are now tied, with one run required for victory, but the Indian 11th man was now on strike.
  • 4th ball : To Singh: no run. One run required off two balls.
  • 5th ball : The ball hit Singh on his back leg and umpire Vikram Raju gives him out leg before wicket after a loud appeal.