Lifelong Worcestershire support Alec Mackie was amongst the crowd in Melbourne who witnessed Moeen Ali's World Cup debut for England against Australia today.
Alec has sent the Worcestershire CCC website his own personal reflections of being part of the near 85,000 crowd which witnessed England's 111 run defeat.
He writes: "Together with my Melbourne based family,James, Shelley and the children, Olivia, Tom and Ted, I was privileged to be among the crowd of 84,336 at the MCG – not quite the 90,000 plus that had been predicted – but the vast majority had correctly forecast the result – England overwhelmed,but not quite 'Massacred' on St Valentine's Day !
"It was with a considerable amount of nervous anticipation on my part as I waited to see Moeen come onto bowl his first World Cup over. The last time I had seen him bowl 'live' was at New Road in the famous win over Surrey last September !
"Moeen had been on boundary patrol during the opening overs and looked his usual laconic self fielding on the far side of this vast arena from where I was sat. Anderson, Finn, Broad, (who was booed every time he was with the ball) and Woakes fired the first exchanges and then Moeen came on.
"Still looking calm and collected, Moeen had a confident LBW appeal turned down off his first delivery and only conceded one run in the over. He managed to check the run rate for his next couple of overs. Thereafter, Finch, Maxwell and the other batsmen bludgeoned the England attack to all parts of the field and beyond !
"It was Finn who gave the 'Barmy Army' something to cheer about when he finished off the Australian innings with a hat-trick – but by then we knew their total was way beyond England's reach,unless Moeen ……?
"The Aussie's took the field to a cacophony of sound and firework explosions followed by Moeen and Ian Bell,who had to walk through the firework smoke which drifted slowly across the pitch. Moeen survived his first over including a voracious appeal for a 'caught behind' off Starc's sixth delivery.
"He settled down to watch his partner score the first boundary with a classic cover drive which Moeen followed with successive boundaries though the covers before mistiming a pull shot to become the first of Marsh's five victims.
"Moeen's slow walk back to the dressing room signaled the first of a series of "Mexican waves" to circumnavigate the ground. Later play was interrupted as a clothed "streaker" was successfully rugby tackled to the ground and carried off to face a 5,000 dollar fine !
"With five wickets down, the game was more or less over from an England perspective. I felt that Bailey took his battery of 'quicks' off to give Smith and Maxwell some bowling practice and, importantly, extend the game to keep the tills ringing in the many bars and catering outlets !
"All in all we enjoyed the experience.It was a very family friendly day, brilliantly staged managed by Cricket Australia and the ground authority – excellent stewarding, police, catering ( but no Deans ice cream ! ) and an excellent public address system. But, pity about the result !"