Lord's Cricket Ground - 200 Not Out
Lord’s Cricket ground is celebrating its double century in 2014, and the third Lord’s site has enjoyed many roles over those 200 years.
To wildly analogise, it could be said that, much like Sachin Tendulkar, the first man to score 100 international centuries, it has had to adapt throughout its lifespan, and it has done a grand job.
Tendulkar was an established international cricketer of outstanding repute before the invention of Twenty20 cricket, and yet he adapted and cracked that too.
Lord’s continued to show its own ability to adapt on Saturday when it hosted the first ever domestic group-stage Twenty20 double header in England, another milestone for the Home of Cricket.
Lord’s Cricket Ground first existed in 1787 when a shrewd Yorkshire-born businessman named Thomas Lord hosted a match between Middlesex and Essex on a plot of land now known as Dorset Square, very close to Marylebone Station.
This first incarnation of Lord’s was where Marylebone Cricket Club was based when it laid down the first universal code of laws to govern the game.
By 1809 London’s expansion meant the rent was on the rise, and the wine-merchant Lord moved his business and cricketing interests to a new plot of land on the Eyre Estate in St. John’s Wood, this became the second Lord’s.
The second ground is said to have been unpopular due to a lack of atmosphere and an unwelcoming landlord, and in 1814 the current Lord’s plot became the third incarnation of the ground.
In the first 100 years Lord’s began to take shape, but it was a slow process.
The 1860s were an important decade for the ground as key milestones were reached, in fact before this point Lord’s didn’t have groundsman, relying on grazing sheep to maintain the outfield.
In 1866 work began on the first grand stand, and in 1868 the first Australian side played at Lord’s and the most famous rivalry in the sport had in some way begun, although it would be 1884 when the first Test match was played there.
As Lord’s should have been celebrating its centenary in 1914, war struck, and the MCC allowed the ground to be used to house military personnel and equipment, a fitting tribute to mark 100 years on the site.
Another 100 years of history has been compiled since, with legends of the game like Don Bradman gracing the ground.
The timeline of a certain Sachin Tendulkar, who never made it on to the famous honours board recording Test centuries, crossed with Lord’s as he first stepped foot onto the famous sloped outfield in 1990.
In 2012 Lord’s was chosen to host the archery at London Olympic Games, and by introducing terraced seating on the hallowed outfield, it managed to provide one of the most picturesque venues of the games.
The Olympics were bookended by Lord’s carrying out its day job as it hosted Test matches against the West Indies and South Africa, but in providing the setting for the four sets of Olympic Gold Medals to be handed out, Lord’s also saw a world record set.
Along with all of the cricketing achievements recorded at the historic venue, the world record score of 699 set by Im Dong-Hyun will go down in Lord’s history.
Even this weekend, Lord’s was pushing boundaries and doing things for the first time.
The first group-stage domestic T20 double header took place as Middlesex faced Essex and then Sussex on Saturday as a new milestone event took place.
As Lord’s reaches its double century, the saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” has never rung less true, and the old ground may even be putting the great Sachin Tendulkar in his place.
Speaking of the great man, he will be back for one last crack at the Home of Cricket on July 5th as he captains the MCC against a rest of the world XI to mark the 200th anniversary.
Will this analogy be wrapped up in the perfect bow with the man who played 200 Tests scoring a century to mark Lord’s 200th birthday?