With typical British reserve, the Poms beat the Baggy Green by 3 runs in the first ODI Test at the Oval.
For any who wondered about the reception the Australian cricketers would receive, it was equally reserved and mainly limited to 10 Brit supporters stationed outside the ground, handing out pieces of sandpaper with “4” and “6” written on them.
British security responded by confiscating the sandpaper, attempting to confine the abrasiveness to sledging only.
The 10 people handed out the sandpaper, around 5,000 pieces in all, to spectators and most of the sandpaper was brandished inside a pub near the ground whilst the Brits drank warm bloody beer with one hand and waved the mild prank with the other.
It was the brainchild of local entrepreneur (person with no real job) Mark Ackred, who said, “I had one Aussie give me a bit of stick, but it was all in good fun.”
A placard in a nearby shoppe window (props to the Brits) advised customers of a 20 percent off sale on “Ball Tampering Grade” sandpaper, along with the advice to make purchases ahead of the arrival of the Australians.
British security detachments seized as many of the pieces of sandpaper as they could. Some might find their way to eBay, some might be used to smooth some things over, but most will likely wind up in the dust bin.
The Aussie side won the toss and chose to bat first, but they could put up only 214.
Glenn Maxwell swung the willow well for Australia, tallying 62 off 64 balls and Ashton Agar added 40 off 62, but then it was all the way down to 24 from 30 for Shaun Marsh.
Three Aussie batsmen, Travis Head, Michael Neser and Kane Richardson, failed to bread double digits. The three combined for 12 runs.
Marcus Stoinis hit one six, Glenn Maxwell two, on a day when the missing bats of Steve Smith and David Warner were sorely missed.