England's lowest one-day score: 86 all out v Australia at Old Trafford

We were there. We were fortunate enough to witness England's worst ever one-day score first-hand. It was quite something. However, unlike today's 110 all out, there were at least some mitigating factors. They don't excuse a score of 86 all out, but they paint today's débacle in an even harsher light.

At Old Trafford in 2001, Australia had the decency to bat first, so there was at least a decent amount of cricket to watch and the result wasn't crystal clear after about the first two overs. We seem to remember it being a day-nighter, although we could be wrong. It was certainly very damp, because Australia's innings was cut short by rain.

So England were always going to have the worst of the conditions and then it rained to compound this. Those are the mitigating circumstances. Steve Waugh recognised these factors and in a masterful piece of captaincy set the most aggressive fields imaginable, despite England only requiring 212 off 44 overs. England felt the pressure and couldn't lay bat on ball.

It was fascinating in a morbid kind of way. They were fields with slip cordons longer than for a Test match. Did Australia think the ball was doing THAT much? Shouldn't England's batsmen be cashing in on all this space? Perhaps England had too much to think about, because wicket followed wicket.

For the record, Paul Collingwood played in that match, as he did in England's second-lowest total of 89 against New Zealand and as he did today in the 110. Poor guy.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

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