Watch: Teenage debutant Ben Hollioake takes McGrath and Warne to the cleaners en route to 48-ball 63
Watch: At Lord’s in 1997, a teenage debutant Ben Hollioake took on Glenn McGrath on his way to a delightful 48-ball 63.
Australia held the Ashes, had finished runners-up in the World Cup the year before, and would win it two years down the line. Yet, in the ODIs in 1997, England took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, clinching the Texaco Trophy for the sixth time in a row.
With the series done and dusted, they gave out an ODI cap to a 19-year-old called Ben Hollioake, whose elder brother Adam had been playing for England for about a year.
A “tall, loose-limbed” all-rounder, Ben Hollioake bowled seam, and – as Lord’s watched in awe that day – had scant respect for the reputation of the opposition bowlers.
Australia were bowled out for 269 after Mike Atherton put them in. Mark Waugh made 95, the only score in excess of 30, while Darren Gough claimed 5-44. Michael Kasprowicz then trapped Atherton leg-before, and Hollioake walked out at 22-1.
He went after McGrath soon afterwards. He opened his account off the third ball he faced, with a crisp straight drive past the bowler; and hit a delightful, wristy on-drive. When McGrath bowled one outside off-stump, he blasted it through cover.
When McGrath bowled on the stumps, Hollioake shuffled across the stumps to flick. Then he left the crease to loft McGrath over extra-cover. When McGrath bounced, he pulled.
He on-drove Shane Warne against the turn, paddle-swept him, pulled him, and flicked Jason Gillespie for four to reach his fifty. Then he slog-swept Warne into the stands.
He eventually hit Gillespie to backward point for a 48-ball 63: only 28 runs – including extras – came at the other end. The innings included 11 fours and a six.
When he fell, Lord’s stood to applaud. Two months later, the Hollioake brothers debuted together at the Trent Bridge Ashes Test match.
Over two Test matches and 35 ODIs, there would be glimpses of Ben’s obvious talent – the 37 not out in Bristol and the 53 in Headingley, both against Pakistan, and the 37 against India in Chennai.
Less than two months after that India tour, 24-year-old Ben Hollioake’s car skidded on a wet road and and crashed into a wall. He never recovered.