So in his search for a song about August, Fantasy Bob has to cheat again and nominate Neil Diamond’s live album Hot August Night. While the title is, no doubt, an accurate description of the concert which took place on 24 August 1972 at the Greek theatre in Los Angeles, it is also the opening line from one of Neil Diamond’s big hits – Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show. Not that that is a favourite of FB, who if asked to nominate his favourite innings by Diamond would have to plump for Sweet Caroline. Good times never seemed so good.
Hot August Night was a worldwide success, and many critics regard it as the greatest live album ever. It went down particularly well in Australia, where it topped the album chart for 29 consecutive weeks. Diamond's final concert of his 1976 Australian Tour set a record for the largest attendance at the Sydney Sports Ground. Good on you, Song Sung Blue. His Australian popularity is despite the fact that there are no songs about cricket in Diamond’s catalogue. But Diamond was a sportsman in his early life – he got a fencing scholarship to New York University and was on the national college team.
24 August 1972 is a significant date in cricket too – the first ODI in England was played at Old Trafford between England and Australia. This is listed as ODI 2 in the archives – ODI 1 was a hastily arranged affair in Melbourne in January 1971 – put on to replace a weather affected Test match. (The Australia v World XI fixtures of 1971-72 had also featured 3 one day 40 over matches but they don’t count in the records). No one was sure if this new fangled thing would catch on. There have been 3294 ODIs played since then.
|England skipper with the first Prudential Trophy|
England won the 24 August ODI by 6 wickets with 35 balls remaining. The victory was based on a solid innings of 103 by Dennis Amiss. Bob Woolmer, in his international debut, got 3 for 33 – a reminder of his early prowess as a seam bowler, he batted 9 in the England team for the series.
England won the 3 match series 2-1. England were captained by Brian Close, the only ODIs he played in his career. He was 41 years old. Neil Diamond was 31 years old.