England v Proteas: 10 things you need to know about Lord’s Cricket Ground
England and the Proteas start their much-anticipated three-Test series with the first match at Lord's on Wednesday.
Lord’s in London, with England taking on South Africa in 2003. Picture: Tom Shaw/Getty Images
The first Test of the 2022 series between England and South Africa takes place at Lord’s in London from Wednesday.
Lord’s is widely referred to as the Home of Cricket and is home to the world’s oldest sporting museum.
Here, ahead of the first Test, The Citizen lists 10 things you need to know about the famous cricket ground.
In the beginning
Lord’s was founded by Thomas Lord in 1787. The ground has been located at three addresses — the first ground, referred to as the Lord’s Old Ground (now Dorset Square), hosted matches between 1787 and 1811. The second ground, known as the Lord’s Middle Ground (where Regent’s Canal is), hosted games between 1811 and 1813, while Lord’s as we know it today, in St John’s Wood, London, started hosting games in 1814.
The famous slope
Because Lord’s was founded on an old duck pond on a hill there is a slope from one side to the other. The difference from north-west to south-east is 2.46 metres — a significant difference. Interestingly, Thomas Lord uprooted the turf at each of his grounds when he chose or was forced to relocate to a new venue.
Fans and owners
Lord’s can hold up to 31,000 fans, but there are plans in place to redevelop the ground to increase capacity. It is owned by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and is the home of Middlesex County Cricket Club and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
The famous Pavilion is a survivor from the Victorian era. It was built between 1889 and 1890. The pavilion is primarily for members of the MCC, who may use its amenities, which include seats for viewing the cricket, the Long Room and its bar, the Bowlers Bar, and a members’ shop. It also contains the dressing rooms for the home and away teams.
Found in the dressing rooms of the Pavillion are the famous honours boards, commemorating centuries hit by batters and five-wicket and 10-wicket hauls taken by bowlers. As of the start of 2022, 167 players had made 240 Test centuries and 130 players had taken 186 five-wicket hauls at Lord’s.
The media centre
The purpose-built facility to replace the old inadequate media stands in the Warner pavilion was decided on at a MCC meeting in 1995. Standing 15 metres above ground the first all-aluminium, semi-monocoque building in the world, the centre cost about £5 million to build at the time. Construction began in January 1997 and was completed in time for the 1999 World Cup.
MCC Museum and Library
Lord’s is home to the oldest sports museum in the world. It contains some of the world’s oldest and most celebrated cricket memorabilia, including the Ashes urn (which is played for by England and Australia). The MCC has been collecting memorabilia since 1864. The library also contains some of the largest and most comprehensive collections of books dedicated to cricket.
While Lord’s is the Home of Cricket, other sports have been played at the ground over the years, including lawn tennis, while archery events and lacrosse matches have also been staged there. Baseball matches, hockey matches and lawn bowls events have also been held. In the late 1840s pony races were also hosted.
The highest Test total in a match at the venue was recorded in 1930 by England, who scored 729/6 decl against Australia. The lowest team total was 38 all out by Ireland against England in 2019. The highest individual score is 333 by Graham Gooch for England against India in 1990, and the best bowling in an innings is by Ian Botham for England against Pakistan in 1978 — 8/34.
South African performers
Former captain Graeme Smith scored two centuries at Lord’s – 259 in 2003 and 107 in 2008, as did Hashim Amla – 104* in 2008 and 121 in 2012. Other SA batters on the honours board, since readmission are Neil McKenzie (138 in 2008), Jonty Rhodes (117 in 1998), Gary Kirsten (108 in 2003), Kepler Wessels (105 in 1994) and Ashwell Prince (101 in 2008).
SA bowlers, with five-wicket innings hauls since readmission are Vernon Philander — 5/30 (2012), Allan Donald — 5/32 (1998) and 5/74 (1994), Makhaya Ntini — 5/75 (2003) and 5/145 (2003), also the best bowling figures in a match by a South African at Lord’s.