London: Australia's Aaron Finch seized his chance to shine among some of cricket's greatest players with a commanding innings of 181 not out as MCC beat the Rest of the World in the Lord's bicentenary match on Saturday.Set 294 to win a one-day match marking the 200th anniversary of the 'home of cricket', MCC finished on 296 for three with 25 balls to spare against an equally star-studded Rest of the World team.
See: Lord's celebrates its 200th anniversary in style
Finch, already in England playing for Yorkshire, was involved in partnerships with three of the best batsmen cricket has known to cap a memorable Lord's debut for the 27-year-old Victoria right-hander. He put on 107 for the first wicket with Indian hero Sachin Tendulkar, cricket's leading run-scorer in both Tests and one-day internationals. Finch then added 67 and 122 with two contrasting West Indies left-handers in Brian Lara (23) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (37 not out) respectively.
However, one sadness for a capacity crowd was that Rest of the World captain Shane Warne was unable to bowl after his first ball batting saw the leg-spin legend suffer a broken right hand when he was struck by an accidental beamer from fast bowler Brett Lee, his former Australia team-mate. Earlier, Yuvraj Singh's blistering 132 off 134 balls took the Rest of the World to 293 for seven after they had collapsed to 68 for five following four wickets for Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal.
Tendulkar, who only retired in November, gave his adoring fans in a capacity Lord's crowd plenty to remember him by with the pick of his seven fours a straight drive down the ground off current Australia fast bowler Peter Siddle.However, the 'Little Master' fell to a familiar foe when, trying to cut Muttiah Muralitharan, he got a bottom edge and was bowled by the Sri Lanka off-spinner, Test cricket's most successful bowler.
Left-hander Lara also showed his enduring class with a cracking drive behind point off West Indies paceman Tino Best and a booming drive off Paul Collingwood, both shots typical of the Trinidad star at his best. But with MCC in cruise control mode, Durham captain and former England all-rounder Collingwood proved an unlikely bowling hero with two wickets in two balls.
Collingwood's medium-pacers saw Lara caught behind by wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist, leading the Rest of the World in Warne's absence, before he nipped one back to bowl Indian star Rahul Dravid off the inside edge for a golden duck.However, Chanderpaul survived the hat-trick ball.Opening batsman Finch was quickly into his stride with pulled boundaries off Best and Siddle.
He also hammered leg-spinner Shahid Afridi for six over deep square leg and lofted Yuvraj's left-arm spin high over the long-on boundary.A single off Collingwood saw the 27-year-old Finch, yet to play Test cricket but who made a Twenty20 world-record 156 against England at Southampton last year, to a 96-ball century. He eventually ended the match with a six off left-arm spinner Yuvraj.
In all, Finch faced 145 balls including 23 fours and six sixes. Earlier, after Warne won the toss, the Rest of the World collapsed from 54 for one to 68 for five in the face of Ajmal's off-spin. Fresh from his 12-wicket haul in a County Championship match for Worcestershire last week, Ajmal had Adam Gilchrist (29) smartly stumped by Nottinghamshire and ex-England wicketkeeper Chris Read.Ajmal then had Tamim Iqbal lbw, and Kevin Pietersen stumped before clean bowling fellow Pakistani Afridi for a duck.
But with MCC skipper Tendulkar then taking Ajmal off, Yuvraj revived the innings against a bowling attack missing Pakistan seamer Umar Gul, who only managed two overs before suffering a knee injury.
The historic Lord's cricket ground was ready to celebrate its 200th anniversary. With who's who playing for Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC XI) and Rest of the World XI (ROW XI) the match is going to be a firecracker of a contest.
Check out some cool pictures of these 22 superstars.
Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC XI): Sachin Tendulkar (captain), Aaron Finch, Rahul Dravid, Brian Lara, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Chirs Read, Daniel Vettori, Brett Lee, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Shaun Tait.
Rest of the World XI (ROW XI) : Adam Gilchrist, Virender Sehwag, Kevin Pietersen, Yuvraj Singh, Tamim Iqbal, Paul Collingwood, Shahid Afridi, Tino Best, Shane Warne (captain), Peter Siddle, Muttiah Muralitharan.